In August 2017, Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. referred to himself as “Floyd Crypto Mayweather” and said in an Instagram post that he was going to make a “$hit t$n of money” from an Initial Coin Offering. The Securities and Exchange Commission noticed, and the boxer narrowly avoided a financial knockout by settling with the agency for promoting such ICOs without disclosing he was paid to endorse them. Music producer DJ Khaled cut a similar deal after touting a cryptocurrency debit card that he described as a “game changer” after being paid $50,000.
Unlike the Federal Trade Commission’s 2017 crackdown on Hollywood influencers who weren’t disclosing traditional endorsements on social media — which inspired many stars to begrudgingly comply with regulations as they kept posting — experts say the SEC scrutiny on celebrities touting digital currency is serious enough to consider avoiding potentially lucrative deals entirely.
Andrew Apfelberg, who represents talent and consumer products companies including nail polish giant OPI and the Bob Marley estate, notes, “It’s not a red light, but it’s a deep orange. Proceed with extreme caution. If you had a sophisticated enough team, you could probably find a way to get there.”
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