Opinion | Celebrity Crypto-Hawkers Should Get a Close Look – The New York Times
More vulnerable to investigation are those celebrities who may have exposed themselves to the possibility that they knew, or were reckless in not knowing, that the crypto firm they had partnered with was allegedly deceiving investors. In several ads Mr. Brady and his then-wife, Ms. Bündchen, didn’t distance themselves in the same way that Mr. Curry and Mr. David did; Ms. Bündchen also served as an environmental and social initiatives adviser for FTX.
Then there are Kevin O’Leary and Mark Cuban, high-profile businessmen who both star on CNBC’s “Shark Tank,” where they evaluate pitches for investment opportunities. Both Mr. O’Leary and Mr. Cuban are famous because of their business savvy, so investors arguably take their endorsements more seriously than other celebrities’.
Mr. O’Leary was paid approximately $15 million to act as an FTX spokesman. In a video reportedly posted to his website shortly before FTX went bankrupt, he said, “If there’s ever a place I could be that I’m not gonna get in trouble, it’s gonna be at FTX.”
Mr. O’Leary recently said that he suffered losses because of FTX’s collapse, but that he will be OK. The same probably cannot be said for any less-fortunate fans who may have risked their life savings after hearing Mr. O’Leary’s crypto-accolades.
Mr. Cuban’s fans may have suffered a similar fate because of the deal between the Dallas Mavericks, the N.B.A. team he owns, and Voyager Digital, a crypto brokerage and lending firm. Unlike, say, a beer sponsorship, the Mavericks/Voyager collaboration was described by its principals as something more akin to a crypto-partnership.
Mr. Cuban said at a news conference announcing the Voyager/Mavericks relationship, “We find it to be a perfect fit for our Mavs fans and Mavs fans of all ages.” He added that “working together we will be at the forefront of innovation. We’re going to come up with new ways to introduce Mavs fans to cryptocurrencies.”
Eight months later, Voyager declared bankruptcy, and shortly thereafter, a group of Voyager customers filed a proposed class-action suit in federal court in Florida against Mr. Cuban, Voyager’s chief executive and the Dallas Mavericks.