For the past six months, ICO’s have quickly begun to face up to the realities of poor market conditions, flawed business models and regulatory scrutiny. Now it seems like ICO influencers are also starting to feel the repercussions of promoting failed crypto projects.
Just yesterday, it was announced that Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled were both fined by the SEC for failing to disclose that they had accepted money to promote the now fraudulent ICO ‘Centra Tech’. Centra was found to have made misleading claims to investors about their service, and In April 2018, the SEC filed a civil action against Centra’s founders, alleging that the ICO was fraudulent. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed parallel criminal charges.
Mayweather agreed to pay $300,000 in disgorgement, a $300,000 penalty, and $14,775 in prejudgment interest. Khaled agreed to pay $50,000 in disgorgement, a $100,000 penalty, and $2,725 in prejudgment interest. In addition, Mayweather agreed not to promote any securities, digital or otherwise, for three years, and Khaled agreed to a similar ban for two years. Mayweather also agreed to continue to cooperate with the investigation.
The release of this news has made many crypto influencers nervous. Notable ICO influencer, Ian Balina recently tweeted his thoughts regarding the charges against Floyd and DJ Khaled.
Based on the urgency of the tweets, it’s clear that Ian, along with some other crypto influencers may be trying to get ahead of a possibly dangerous situation before things get significantly worse.
Meanwhile, one blockchain project/influencer duo that seems to have not got the message is Blockchain phone ‘SIRIN labs’ and their influencer Lionel Messi.
Just hours after the SEC announced charges against influencers promoting ICO’s, Lionel Messi was presented on stage at SIRIN Labs media launch event.
This was followed by a not-so-subtle commercial featuring Messi promoting the SIRIN labs phone:
Messi is not a US citizen, and he is only promoting a product, not an ICO, however that doesn’t mean that the SEC (or the Spanish/European equivalent of the SEC) won’t find a way to hold him responsible if SIRIN labs turns out to be another failed blockchain project that burns investors.
Perhaps Messi ought to consider using his new Blockchain phone to call Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled for legal advice.