Sorry, but 50 Cent isn’t sitting on a secret fortune of forgotten bitcoin riches after all. Last month, TMZ reported that 50—real name Curtis Jackson—had accepted online payment in bitcoin for the release of his fifth album Animal Ambition in 2014, well before cryptocurrency became a hot speculative investment. The revenue, TMZ claimed, was as high as 700 bitcoin, then worth a few hundred thousand but, with the coin’s value spike over the past year, now theoretically valued at as much as $8.5 million.
But in a Friday court filing first obtained by The Blast, lawyers representing 50 in his recently concluded bankruptcy case admitted that he’s “never owned, and does not now own, a bitcoin account or any bitcoins, and to the best of his knowledge, none of his companies had a bitcoin account.” Fans were able to buy Animal Ambition in bitcoin on 50’s website, the filling states, but the currency was paid to a management company and “contemporaneously converted to U.S. dollars by another independent third party” before it was transferred to 50’s company G-Unit. At the time, one bitcoin was worth $657, according to TechCrunch, which examined transactions listed in the court filing and concluded that cryptocurrency sales of Animal Ambition probably only brought in around 6 or 7 bitcoin total—just a few thousand bucks.
Not that 50 let that stop him from boasting about his supposed bitcoin fortune: In a now-deleted Instagram post, he cited TMZ’s story and commented, “I’m a keep it real. I forgot I did that shit.” In the court filling, 50 says media reports of his bitcoin windfall were “not accurate,” but that he played along because he felt the story would boost his image:
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. This is particularly true when I feel the press report in question is favorable to my image or brand, even if the report is based on a misunderstanding of the facts or contains outright falsehoods.
When I first became aware of the press reports on this matter, I made social media posts stating that “I forgot I did that” because I had in fact forgotten I was one of the first recording artists to accept bitcoin for online transactions. 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.
It’s not the first time 50 Cent has had to translate a social-media flex into legalese. In 2016, after the court asked him to explain why a man with an ongoing bankruptcy case was posing with stacks of cash on Instagram, 50 said the money was fake. Fortunately, it looks like that’s all behind him now: The bankruptcy was discharged earlier this month, after 50 was able to pay off his creditors early with help from $14.5 million in settlement money he received in a malpractice suit against some of his own former lawyers.