Billionaire Ray Dalio, the business sage and founder of the largest hedge fund in the world—Bridgewater Associates—has added his influential voice to get Gen Z users to adopt Cash App as their preferred mobile banking and payments tool. In a new commercial appearing on Twitter and YouTube, Dalio appears alongside rapper Kendrick Lamar as the two explain the fundamentals of investing to a young, would-be entrepreneur.
Block—the company that owns Cash App and Square—has a market cap that is a fraction of Mastercard, Visa, and PayPal’s, but its Cash App product has worked to narrow the gap with the latter’s payment app subsidiary Venmo. Block recently claimed 80 million users on Cash App compared to Venmo’s 90 million.
Dalio’s Bridgewater owns a $168 million stake in Mastercard, a $119 million stake in PayPal, a $69 million of Visa, and a $5 million stake in Block as part of its $24.8 billion equity portfolio according to data collected by Factset.
Part of Cash App’s strategy to appeal to younger users, as well as the underbanked, has been to recruit some of the biggest stars in pop culture, including tennis legend Serena Williams, National Basketball Association star James Harden, rapper Megan Thee Stallion, and TikTok influencer Bella Poarch.
Adding Dalio to the mix might seem unlikely, but in the past the business guru has tied himself to the hip-hop community through his mentorship of music business mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Aside from the unlikely celebrity associations, Dalio’s Cash App endorsement might surprise those in the crypto community. Next to offering direct deposits, loans, a debit card, and stock purchases, one of the key features of the Cash App is its ability to facilitate bitcoin purchases.
Previously, Dalio was known as a bitcoin skeptic, saying, “Bitcoin is a bubble” in 2017. But in 2021, Dalio revealed that he owns “some bitcoin” and has since reportedly made moves through Bridgewater to invest more seriously in crypto.
Update (Aug. 23): We’ve replaced active user counts for Cash App and Venmo with similar, but more recent figures.