A class-action lawsuit seeking over $1 billion in damages has been filed against Cristiano Ronaldo for his involvement in promoting non-fungible tokens (NFTs) issued by cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Florida, alleges that Ronaldo’s promotion of Binance was “deceptive and unlawful.” The plaintiffs claim that Binance’s partnership with high-profile figures, including Ronaldo, led investors into costly and unsafe investments.
Ronaldo’s partnership with Binance involved the creation of NFT collections, with the cheapest NFT priced at $77 during the launch. The lawsuit highlights that Ronaldo’s promotion contributed to a significant increase in searches for Binance. The legal action follows similar cases involving celebrities endorsing crypto projects, indicating a broader trend of legal scrutiny in the cryptocurrency space.
The suit claims that Ronaldo’s promotion of Binance was “incredibly successful,” citing a 500% increase in online searches for “Binance” after the announcement of Ronaldo’s NFT collection. The lawsuit also alleges that Ronaldo should have disclosed the amount he was paid by Binance for the partnership, as per the requirement of federal law.
Ronaldo’s inaugural NFT collection, named “CR7,” was launched in partnership with Binance in November 2022 and featured animated statues depicting moments from his life.
The lawsuit contends that the evidence reveals Binance’s fraud was facilitated by the sale of unregistered securities, with the assistance of celebrities like Ronaldo. Binance recently settled a lawsuit with regulators, agreeing to pay approximately $4 billion. Ronaldo continues to promote Binance on his official platforms, with recent social media posts suggesting future collaborations.
In a court filing, the plaintiffs accuse both Ronaldo and Binance of making deceptive statements to promote the “CR7” NFT collection. NFTs, digital assets stored on a blockchain, experienced a boom in popularity in 2021 but have since faced a decline in value. The lawsuit alleges that Ronaldo’s promotion targeted consumers unfamiliar with crypto and contributed to investments in unregistered securities, including Binance’s BNB cryptocurrency.
The legal troubles extend beyond Ronaldo, as Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, stepped down and agreed to a substantial settlement for violating anti-money laundering laws. The lawsuit against Ronaldo comes amid a broader trend of celebrities facing legal challenges for endorsing cryptocurrency projects. Ronaldo’s ongoing collaboration with Binance, despite the recent legal issues, is noted in the lawsuit.