David is a tech journalist who loves old-school adventure games, techno and the Beastie Boys. He's currently on the finance beat. David is a tech journalist who loves old-school adventure games, techno and the Beastie Boys. He's currently on the finance beat.
Have you been noticing just how many footballers have been signing deals with initial coin offerings (ICOs)?
News broke last week that Didier Drogba, former Chelsea star and Ivory Coast’s all-time highest scoring striker, has become the latest sports celebrity to officially endorse a cryptocurrency startup.
He is the newest ambassador of fledgling crypto-trader social media platform – all.me – which has purportedly already raised over $30 million in funding and will be conducting their ICO later this year.
To celebrate this ‘momentous occasion’, we’ve decided to put together a dream team of the most popular footballers to have lent their reputation to shady cryptocurrency startups.
So without further ado, we’re introducing Shillingham United XI:
Forwards: Michael Owen (GCOX), Lionel Messi (Sirin Labs), Didier Drogba (all.me)
Midfield: Ronaldinho (c) (Ronaldinho Soccer Coin), Luis Figo (Football-Stars), James Rodríguez (JR10)
Defense: Gianluca Zambrotta (United Fans), Carles Puyol (Olyseum), Andrés Iniesta (Olyseum), Iván de la Peña (Olyseum)
Goalkeeper: Lothar Matthäus (TokenStars) (NB: Matthäus is technically a striker, but we’ve trusted him as the goalie)
Bench: Lusi Suarez (Stox), Sergio Agüero (All Sports Chain), Eden Hazard (All Sports Chain)
Of course, no dream team is complete without a seasoned coach to guide the players in difficult moments. Fortunately, we’ve got the right fit: former Tottenham Hotspur coach Harry Redknapp who blatantly shilled Electroneum in a tweet, before deleting it once pressed on the circumstances.
Shillingham United even has its own home ground: Emirates Stadium. The stadium is home turf to Arsenal FC – but given the club’s endorsement of cryptocurrency betting platform CashBet – we thought they wouldn’t mind sharing with Shillingham United.
All in all, pretty freakin’ stacked. So stacked that Lusi Suarez is on the bench.
Athletes and the blockchain
While the close collaborations between athletes and ICOs might strike you as unexpected, tons of blockchain startups have been seeking to up their branding game by securing partnerships with famous sports personalities.
Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather backed token startup Centra Tech, before the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) eventually indicted the company’s founders for cryptocurrency fraud.
Indeed, the blockchain promo frenzy extended even to the World Cup in Russia, where viewers were briefly blasted with commercials promoting a sketchy blockchain platfrom from Hyundai called HDAC.
Whatever the connection between blockchain startups and (sports) celebrities though, the SEC is monitoring the situation closely – and actively warning users against investing in cryptocurrencies based on their advice.
“Celebrities who endorse an investment often do not have sufficient expertise to ensure that the investment is appropriate and in compliance with federal securities laws,” the SEC wrote in a statement last year. “Conduct research before making investments, including in ICOs.”
So if I were you: I’d do my own research before I lean on Figo for cryptocurrency investment advice.
Disclaimer: Please note this piece is NOT an endorsement of any of the mentioned blockchain startups. The aim of the article is simply to point out a recent trend in the cryptocurrency space which might have negative repercussions for naive traders. Always do your own research.
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