British actor and filmmaker Idris Elba has reportedly been observing the crypto landscape closely.
Idris Elba is a British actor, filmmaker, and musician, widely recognized for his versatile roles in both television and film. Born on 6 September 1972 in London, England, Elba gained international fame for his portrayal of Stringer Bell in the critically acclaimed TV series “The Wire.” He further solidified his reputation with his role as DCI John Luther in the British crime drama “Luther,” for which he received multiple award nominations.
Elba has also appeared in blockbuster films such as “Thor,” “Pacific Rim,” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” showcasing his range as an actor. In addition to acting, he has ventured into directing, with his debut feature film “Yardie” released in 2018. Elba is also a DJ and a musician, performing under the name DJ Big Driis. Known for his charisma and talent, he has become a cultural icon, recently turning his attention to the potential of blockchain technology for social impact.
According to Wired, while many celebrities jumped on the crypto bandwagon during its boom, Elba remained cautious. Earlier this month, he partnered with the Stellar Development Foundation to explore the potential of blockchain technology for financial inclusion, especially in West Africa.
Wired’s article, which was published on September 27, says that in 2021, crypto businesses invested hundreds of millions of dollars to bring celebrities on board for endorsements. These celebrities, in turn, released their own lines of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or even their own crypto coins. Elba, however, chose not to participate in what he saw as a “gold rush,” feeling uncomfortable with the idea of being used merely as a promotional tool.
The crypto industry has faced significant setbacks in the past 18 months, according to Wired. The collapse of the Terra Luna stablecoin, the failures of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, crypto lender Celsius, and crypto exchange FTX have all contributed to a downturn. This period, often referred to as a “crypto winter,” has led to increased regulatory scrutiny and tarnished the reputation of remaining businesses.
Despite the industry’s challenges, Elba remains interested in the technology, states Wired. He is particularly intrigued by how crypto could address financial inclusion issues in West Africa, where less than half of the adult population has access to banking services. Elba sees crypto’s underlying blockchain technology as a means to remove financial barriers in emerging markets.
The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) is a nonprofit organization established in 2014 to support the development and growth of the Stellar network, an open-source blockchain protocol. The foundation aims to foster financial inclusion and democratize access to financial services by leveraging Stellar’s blockchain technology. Unlike traditional financial systems, Stellar enables quick, low-cost cross-border transactions and has been designed to facilitate the issuance and exchange of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies and tokens.
The SDF provides technical guidance, grants, and other forms of support to businesses and developers who wish to build on the Stellar network. It also plays a crucial role in maintaining Stellar’s codebase and working with regulatory bodies to ensure compliance. Over the years, the foundation has formed partnerships with various financial institutions, tech companies, and nonprofits to broaden Stellar’s reach and impact. Its focus on real-world utility and financial inclusion differentiates it from other blockchain initiatives.
Wired says that Elba is collaborating with the Stellar Development Foundation. Initially starting as a paid brand ambassador, the relationship has apparently evolved into a more mutual business partnership. Elba appreciates Stellar’s focus on real-world utility rather than mere token promotion.
While the specifics of the partnership remain unclear, Wired suggests that the goal is to provide West Africans with an alternative means of financial transactions and money management. Elba likens the potential shift from traditional banking to crypto-based financial services in West Africa to the transition from physical mail to email.
Wired concludes by highlighting Elba’s cautious approach to wielding his influence in the crypto space. Unlike other celebrities who may have misused their influence, Elba aims to promote the idea of financial inclusion through crypto, rather than pushing a specific coin or token.