Why Ashton Kutcher’s XRP Donation on ‘Ellen’ is a Big Deal



Yesterday on Ellen DeGeneres’s highly-popular daytime talk show Ellen, actor and venture capitalist Ashton Kutcher brought a crypto surprise. In (belated) honor of Ellen’s birthday, Kutcher donated $4 million worth of Ripple (XRP) to her Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund.

And importantly, he made the donation live on the air, using an app to highlight the cryptocurrency’s ability to complete massive cross-border transactions with lightning speed. “All you need to do is push this button,” he said.

Why This Matters

Obviously, it’s great to see cryptocurrency being used for good causes, and the donation is a great PR boost for Ripple. But this donation may prove an important moment for all cryptocurrencies, because it’s giving crypto the sort of mainstream exposure it only very rarely receives.

Demographics are important here. We all know that crypto audiences skew young, tech-friendly, and very, very male. And although the market’s bull run last year earned it a lot of mainstream news coverage, it still hasn’t gotten a ton of exposure outside of financial news circles, which means that even its mainstream exposure has skewed towards the younger male news-junkie types.

What’s more, the type of media exposure cryptocurrency gets matters.Even when crypto does get true mainsteam media coverage, that coverage is often preoccupied with how the technology works or what the price is doing, rather than how it’s used in the real world and why it matters. It’s the latter questions that mainstream audiences actually care about, and they’re often totally unaddressed.

Think about it: how many news segments have you seen that try to explain in layman’s terms what Bitcoin is or how blockchain technology works? They all do it. But people who aren’t already interested in crypto often tune out that kind of coverage. If they don’t know how it can actually be used – how it’s relevant to them – why would they care about how the technology works?

That’s why Kutcher’s Ellen stunt was so valuable.


Unlike most crypto-friendly media outlets (including CoinReviews), Ellen‘s audience doesn’t skew heavily male. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Ellen is the top-rated daytime talk show, and its target audience is female. With its target demo, women 25-54, it’s been growing at a near double-digit rate for years.

If you wanted to target a huge potential audience that has minimal exposure to cryptocurrency, you could hardly pick a better platform than The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

And what did Kutcher do for that audience? He showed them an example of a payment being made quickly and easily with a single button push. He showed them cryptocurrency being used in real time as a tool to support a great cause.

Instead of lecturing about the technology behind it or prognosticating about how Ripple is going to “change the world” at some hypothetical point in the future, he showed in a very clear, simple, and visual manner how cryptocurrency can be used right now to make people’s lives better.

Crypto Firms, Follow This Path

Ellen pushes the button.

Here at CoinReviews we aim to keep things relatively unbiased, but it’s no secret that we like blockchain technology and we want to see crypto firms succeed and achieve mainstream adoption. Kutcher’s donation provides some really valuable take-away lessons to any crypto firm that’s trying to reach that goal.

It’s easy to preach to the crypto choir, and there are enough cryptocurrency fans that you can run a pretty successful ICO these days without ever needing to venture outside of the crypto community. But to go mainstream, you can’t count on reguular folks wading through techno-babble in your 30-page white paper, and you can’t count on them caring about your technology being cool or innovative or unique.

What you need to do is exactly what Kutcher did: show them in the simplest possible way what this technology can actually do for them. Don’t point them to a lengthy FAQ with walkthroughs, show them a clean app with a single button-press. Don’t explain to them how this technology could change the world, show them an example of it making a difference right now.

The blockchain industry is built on the back of the whitepaper: a lengthy, complex, tech-heavy document designed to answer all the target questions of insiders and enthusiasts. But to expand beyond that and into the mainstream, crypto needs to do what Kutcher (and Ripple) did here. Toss out the white paper, toss out the tech details, and show people what the product can do.