Crypto crackdown: Celebrities promoting crypto are in the SEC's crosshairs

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Kim’s crypto

Kim Kardashian is handing over $1.26m to settle a lawsuit surrounding a crypto advert she posted for EthereumMax on Instagram back in June 2021.

The social media star asked fans ‘ARE YOU GUYS INTO CRYPTO????’ before touting the EMAX asset to her 200m+ Instagram audience, never stopping to disclose the fact that she was paid some $250k to do so.

Heavily influenced

Kardashian wasn't the first celebrity to hype EMAX. NBA star Paul Pierce promoted the coin soon after its launch in mid-May as did boxer Floyd Mayweather ahead of his fight with influencer Logan Paul, in which the token was the crypto of choice for the pay-per-view event. All 3 have been involved in lawsuits to do with the coin, although Kim is the only one to have paid up to settle the matter so far.

Unsurprisingly, having A-list celebrities endorse something works. EMAX trading volumes spiked after each, with a staggering $837m worth changing hands in the first 6 weeks of the coin's existence. Since last summer, however, the coin has lost some 95% of its value, and recent trading is mostly negligible, suggesting some large losses for individual investors.

Celebrities endorsing crypto is nothing new, but this case seems to be something of a landmark in the space. The SEC has deemed Kim Kardashian's post to be a promotion of a specific investment security, EMAX, rather than a broader endorsement of crypto as an asset class or idea. Matt Damon can, of course, tell you that fortune favours the brave in this over-the-top advert for a crypto platform, but talking about specific securities is where the SEC draws the line (unless you disclose the particulars of the #ad).

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