Matt Damon Says He Made Stupid Crypto.com Ad Because His Water Nonprofit Was ‘Down’

Matt Damon attends "Kiss the future" premiered during the 73rd Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin on February 19, 2023 in Berlin, Germany.

Matt Damon said he only did the infamous Crypto.com commercial from 2021 because his nonprofit Water.org was struggling financially.
Photo: Adam Berry (Getty Images)

Actor Matt Damon briefly became the face of cryptocurrencies with his “history is filled with almost” commercial for the digital currency exchange Crypto.com. Despite crypto’s ballooning prices in 2021, after collapse of several large stock exchanges and lenders in 2022, the whole industry feels more like an “almost” day by day. Now, the movie star has finally offered some belated insight into why he felt the need to shill for the massive speculative market that is crypto, and it’s about as lame an excuse as you’d expect.

On Wednesday, the AP shared a brief interview with Damon there Good Will Hunting and The Martian star said “we had a down year in Water.org” referring to the nonprofit he co-founded that gives out microfinance to people who want access to clean water and sanitation. He laughs awkwardly as he adds “and I did that commercial in an effort to raise money for Water.org.”

Matt Damon tells the story behind his high-profile 2021 Crypto.com TV ads. #shorts

Damon said he gave his “entire salary” to Water.org, apparently referring to the money he earned from appearing in the commercial, adding that Crypto.com donated $1 million to the nonprofit. “I am very grateful for what they did for our foundation,” he added.

The Cypto.com ad was shown on 2022 Super Bowl Once Dubbed the “Crypto Bowl” for how many crypto companies bought ad spots on the big game. Crypto.com also aired another commercial featuring LeBron James and a CGI version of himself along with the “fortune favors the brave” tagline. Both ads were part of the exchange’s reported $100 million global marketing plan.

The year Singapore-based Crypto.com aired its commercial, it was beautiful at the time crypto was still flourishing. It bought out the naming rights to LA Staples Stadium, home of the LA Lakers. It remains unclear how much Damon was paid for the ad Bloomberg reported in October 2021 that Crypto.com had indeed made the Water.org donation and that Damon was an investor in the crypto company. Damon told the outlet that he “hopes this is the beginning of a great long-term partnership.” Bloomberg reported at the time that the crypto company also tagged other celebrities such as MMA star Ronda Rousey and retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly to be brand ambassadors.

After the start of crypto winter 2022, Crypto.com reportedly laid off 40% of employees despite initially claiming they had laid off only 260 employees, or 5% of the workforce. In January, the company cut another 20% by its global staff. CEO Kris Marszalek tweeted that day “I realize we have a lot of work to do to help restore confidence in the industry. It will take time, but we will make it.”

Damon has been rocketed for appearing in the commercial, shuffling around zombie-like while proclaiming that the best way to be “brave” is to throw money into a highly volatile, still unregulated market. Many of them who bought into bitcoin at time the ad was sent would have lost a lot of money just a year later. That most people who invest in crypto inevitably losing money has become a regulatory refrain lately.

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