There is an “alpha chat” on Signal, the encrypted messaging platform, called Crypto Collaborative that, according to Nitasha Tiku’s new piece in The Washington Post, has approximately 25 members. Three of them are: Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, and Eva Longoria.
Alpha is crypto jargon for insider intel, and alpha chats are essentially groups where investors talk about crypto-project-related information that hasn’t yet become public. It is not like insider trading, but closer to a “friendship group,” as crypto entrepreneur Moj Mahdara told Tiku. Mahdara and Paltrow reportedly started the chat in early 2020, after noticing crypto-related questions on a separate Signal about wellness.
In the time since, Paltrow, Witherspoon, Longoria, and Mila Kunis have all dived stiletto first into the crypto waters in the name of empowering women. They’re largely focused on NFTs, according to the Post, because they’re “easy to grasp.” In January, for example, Paltrow and Kunis appeared in an event organized by “a new community for the crypto curious” called BFF. Paltrow and Kunis are founding members of BFF, alongside Tyra Banks; Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, Randi Zuckerberg; and George W. Bush’s daughter, Barbara Bush. The two-hour Zoom was called “WTF is an NFT?!? Crypto for Beginners + BIG SURPRISE!” The “big surprise” was, per Tiku: “a free NFT of a friendship bracelet that is trading for at least $3,000 on the secondary market,” which gets you early access to buy BFF’s official NFTs later this month.
If this sounds, perhaps, like a continuation of the “Hollywoodization of crypto,” that O.C. star and crypto critic Ben McKenzie recently called a “moral disaster” in his cautionary book with The New Republic’s Jacob Silverman,” BFF insists that it is not. Their spokesperson told Tiku it was the “opposite” of women-centered tech projects that “have allowed bad actors with toxic traits and supremacy-formed intentions to block access and take up space.”
The starlets’ shared agent at CAA, Adam Friedman, also claims that it is not a “cash-grab.” And Kunis has boasted that BFF involved “way less money laundering” that other crypto social clubs. Not everyone agrees. Another group, called Crypto Besties, has accused the BFFs of copying their idea. The idea was NFT friendship bracelets. Sounds like something to hash out in the alpha chat.