Remember a month ago, when news reports surfaced saying rapper 50 Cent had accidentally made millions of dollars by taking payment for an album in bitcoin--and then forgetting all about it while the virtual currency shot up in value?
"Im a keep it real I forgot I did that sh*t," he said on Instagram, after the reports surfaced.
Now, it turns out, it wasn't so "real" after all.
In a recent court filing, 50 Cent, born Curtis James Jackson III, claimed he "has never owned, and does not now own, a bitcoin account or any bitcoins."
This is important because the rapper apparently has an ongoing bankruptcy case.
And both the U.S. Trustee and his creditors would obviously be really interested to know if he truly had between $7 and $8 million in bitcoin--but hadn't disclosed it before.
While it's true that he did take bitcoin as a form of payment for his 2014 album Animal Ambition, his filing says the number of bitcoin transactions was "limited," and that the company handling his payment immediately converted them to U.S. dollars "based upon the then-existing exchange rate.
Back then it was about $662 per bitcoin; it's up over $10,000 now.
So was the whole thing a lie from the start? He sure seemed to confirm it at the time in multiple Instagram and Twitter posts (all of which have now apparently been deleted, of course.)
Instead, he now says in court that he just went along with it because he liked the publicity. His filing states:
"As a general matter, so long as a press story is not irreparably damaging to my image or brand, I usually do not feel the need to publicly deny the reporting. ...
I did not publicly deny the reports that I held bitcoins because the press coverage was favorable and suggested that I had made millions of dollars as a result of my good business decision to accept bitcoin payments."
I wrote about this back in January, attributing it to other news organizations' reporting. Should I have been more skeptical?
Maybe. It's tough however, when 50 apparently confirmed the story at the time on social media--even though he's now claiming his words meant something other than what they actually seemed.
If there's one thing I think in retrospect maybe could have been a red flag, it's that holding onto more than $400,000 worth of bitcoin back in 2014 (reportedly, he had about 700 bitcoins), would have been pretty risky.
And while you, or I, or 50 Cent might decide that a risky investment was okay--a professional money manager would think so. (I assume someone with 50's assets uses a professional, even in bankruptcy.
I just can't imagine taking the risk that the $400,000 would wind up being worth nothing--at least without an ironclad agreement from a 50 Cent saying they wanted to take the risk.
That looks like an especially smart rule now, after it's been revealed that 50 Cent will go along with any story, true or not, and even seem to confirm it, if he thinks it makes him look good.