Kim Kardashian, other celebs promise big crypto gains. A new study says they mislead investors

Kim Kardashian, other celebs promise big crypto gains. A new study says they mislead investors
Kim Kardashian and other celebrities endorse cryptocurrencies that fare poorly over the long term, a new study says. Credit: Tinseltown/Shutterstock
  • Crypto influencers deliver only short-term gains, a new study finds.
  • Investors who pile into celebrity-endorsed coins lose in the long run.
  • Researchers say celebrity endorsements are misleading investors.

Crypto influencers like socialite Kim Kardashian promise much when shilling the next “1,000x coin” ― market lingo for a token could offer parabolic gains for early entrants ­― but generally deliver little by way of long-term gains for investors.

That’s according to a research paper by four academics on the impact of social media influencers on the price trajectory of cryptocurrencies they advertise to their online followers.

“Crypto-influencers’ tweets are initially associated with positive returns,” the study said. “However, these tweets are followed by significant negative longer-horizon returns.”

As such, the researchers concluded that crypto influences generate minimal long-term investment value and end up misleading investors.

The study conducted by four researchers, including Kenneth J. Merkley, an accounting professor at Indiana University, examined 36,000 social media posts from 180 so-called prominent crypto influencers over two years spanning through December 2022, which makes the absence of memecoins in the literature unsurprising as they are a more recent phenomenon in crypto.

Their study concluded that investors enjoy greater short-term gains when these influencers endorse small caps ― crypto tokens with initially small market sizes, similar to penny stocks.

It’s not uncommon for project teams to pay for celebrity endorsement of their crypto tokens, a practice the study says poses regulatory risks.

Indeed, well-known figures like Kardashian and actress Lindsay Lohan have caught heat from the US Securities and Exchange Commission for endorsing crypto projects in the past. Others like NFL star Tom Brady and comedian and writer Larry David may also face legal trouble for promoting bankrupt crypto exchange FTX.

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Cash isn’t the only payment celebrities can accept in exchange for endorsing a crypto token. They can also agree to receive low- or no-cost token allocations that they can dump on the market once the price begins to rise.

The study said retail investors are often oblivious to that behind-the-scenes manoeuvering or expect that they can time their exit before the price plummets.


While memecoins are absent from the study, the conclusions drawn might apply, but there’s one caveat ― memecoins are a $54 billion market cap crypto niche, according to CoinGecko.

Major memecoins like Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, and Pepe have delivered massive gains for early adopters, and that helps feed into “moonshot” promises peddled by crypto influencers when shilling newer projects to their fans.

But the successful memecoins are an exception, not the rule. Not every memecoin launch ends up catching a bid and running to eight-figure market valuations. Indeed. for every viral memecoin, there are dozens of failed tokens that have left investors in the lurch.

But the allure of being an early investor in the next Dogecoin or Shiba Inu is enough to send investors flocking to the next hyped memecoin launch.

Memecoins have dominated the market narrative this year. They are even experiencing a resurgence this week with the reappearance of meme-stock sensation Keith Gill ― better known as his online persona Roaring Kitty, one of the main actors in the 2021 meme-stock frenzy.

Osato Avan-Nomayo is our Nigeria-based DeFi correspondent. He covers DeFi and tech. To share tips or information about stories, please contact him at