Celebrity endorsements of ICOs are a great way for projects to get mainstream media exposure and might appear to be a risk-free way for the stars to get some tokens. However, if a specific ICO, or the entire industry, gets negative press it can hurt the reputation of anyone associated with them. For example, Steven Seagal seems to have decided that his link to the Bitcoiin ICO is no longer in his best interests.
Exit the Dragon
90s action movie star Steven Seagal is no longer the official Brand Ambassador for Bitcoiin. According to an announcement on the project’s website, both Seagal and the founders of the ICO have exited from their roles at Bitcoiin.
The positive spin is that “As Bitcoiin goes through the conversion phase from token to mineable coin we wish to advise that Bitcoiin will join the likes of the original Bitcoin and become a truly open source. Therefore a big thank you to the Founders and to our Brand Ambassador whom we wish all the best in their future endeavors. However, from this point on Bitcoiin will function within its ecosystem and become a genuinely anonymous cryptocurrency with no individual or individuals having control over the entity!”
Seagal had only been announced as the Brand Ambassador for Bitcoiin in late February, but the situation has changed fast since then. Primarily, local financial regulators in various US states have issued warnings or orders against the ICO.
For example, a cease and desist order by the Bureau of Securities of the State of New Jersey warned that Bitcoiin is offering “investments to the general public, including the residents of New Jersey in its Bitcoiin ICO and ‘Bitcoiin Staking Program’” through a website that “projects that each B2G will be worth $388 by December 2018.” The order found that Bitcoiin offered securities in violation of the law.
The team has tried to frame it as a media misunderstanding, stating that: “To debunk the regurgitating media bitcoiin will not have a staking or referral program, this was always explained as part of the ICO period only and as a reward for clients introducing like-minded individual. However, the media which believe in sensationalism instead of reality and actually reading our whitepaper continues to regurgitate misinformation, therefore we are stating unequivocally for the last time before the blockchain goes live that neither STAKING nor REFERRALS will exist in the blockchain or the Bitcoiin ecosystem.”
What other risks can US-based celebrities face for endorsing ICOs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Author: Avi Mizrahi