Paris Hilton has invested in crypto since 2016 — here's why she's betting big on NFTs and the metaverse
Paris Hilton believes everything is going digital.
That's why the 40-year-old hotel heiress is betting big on cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and now the metaverse.
"I just really believe in them," Hilton, a longtime socialite and media personality whose enthusiasm comes from six years and counting of crypto investing, tells CNBC Make It.
Hilton didn't disclose how much she has invested in crypto, but says she started investing in both bitcoin and ether in 2016. At the time, one bitcoin was valued at around $1,000 and one ether was priced around $10, according to Coin Metrics data. Today, they're worth more than $38,000 and $2,640, respectively.
Hilton told The Guardian in November that she first started investing in crypto after becoming "friends" with the founders of ethereum, the decentralized computing platform that produces ether, the currency in which a majority of NFTs are traded. Now, even amid a recent cryptocurrency market selloff, during which both bitcoin and ether lost about 50% of their market value from their all-time highs in November, Hilton is still bullish.
"I see digital currencies definitely rising [again]," Hilton says. "Right now, what I did, which is what people say, is buy the dip."
"Buy the dip" refers to the concept of buying an asset after it has dropped in price, and hoping it'll rise again in the future. Investing experts warn that you should only invest money into crypto that you are willing to lose: Jumping in because the price has dropped shouldn't be your sole reason, Ivory Johnson, a certified financial planner and founder of Delancey Wealth Management in Washington, D.C., told CNBC on Monday.
Better reasons, Johnson said, include using crypto assets as stores of value and taking advantage of increasing crypto adoption rates across the world.
As for NFTs, Hilton created her first one in 2019, and sold it in March 2020 for charity, winning "Best Charity NFT" at that year's NFT awards ceremony. In April 2021, she launched her own NFT collection, selling one called the "Iconic Crypto Queen" for $1.1 million in ether. She buys them, too: Hilton told The Guardian that she owned more than 150 NFTs.
Most recently, the socialite joined NFT platform Origin Protocol as an investor and strategic advisor to help people mint their own NFTS and sell them on the site's platform.
Hilton says creating art — like NFTs — has been therapeutic and healing for her. "I see NFTs as the future of art," she says, noting that in the traditional art world, artists rarely get secondary sales like they often do with NFTs. "I love that it gives power back to the creators."
She says her next NFT collection will focus on her life's story, including all its well-known highs and lows. In recent years, Hilton has been outspoken about the alleged abuse she endured at a Utah boarding school as a teen, and how it took a toll on her life ever since.
"But now, I've really taken back my power and become a businesswoman and a social advocate," she says. "I'm using my platform for good and positive change."
NFTs also go hand-in-hand with the metaverse, a network of 3D virtual worlds where people can work, play and explore — and a place where many are looking forward to showcasing their NFT collections. Hilton says she has been interested in the concept for years, well before Facebook rebranded as Meta and set the business world alight with metaverse buzz.
In 2017, "I was already developing, like, this whole 'Paris World' where people could watch me DJ and come hang out," she says.
Paris World eventually became an outpost on gaming company Roblox's platform, which launched in October. This past New Year's Eve, Hilton used Paris World to host her first metaverse party. The virtual gathering was double the size of the crowd in New York City's Times Square that night, she says. (Roblox did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It's request for confirmation.)
"I thought that was amazing, and that was just the beta opening of it," Hilton says. "The possibilities are truly endless."
Next up, she says: bringing NFTs into Paris World, building a new line of digital wearables and creating a digital fashion brand.
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