Celebrities, Crypto, and Controversy: The Fallout of FTX’s Bankruptcy

Tom Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots and winner of seven Super Bowls, served as an ambassador for the FTX bitcoin and crypto exchange, According to New York Times.

He advertised the new company as the most reliable establishment in the cryptocurrency industry using a variety of platforms, such as a commercial shown during the Super Bowl, billboards, and a conference held by FTX in the Bahamas. FTX represented a considerable portion of Brady’s personal wealth.

FTX paid him $30 million as part of an endorsement agreement he signed with the company in 2021; the payment was nearly completely in the form of FTX shares. This arrangement was a component of the contract. Gisele Bundchen, who was his ex-wife and a supermodel, was given FTX shares for 18 million dollars.

FTX has been declared insolvent last year, and its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, is being investigated for criminal fraud.

Customers of FTX have filed a lawsuit against Brady and Bundchen in an effort to get compensation from the celebrities who endorsed the exchange.

The predicament that Brady and Bundchen are in is representative of a bigger pattern in which celebrities who promoted cryptocurrencies or who invested in them are now dealing with the aftermath of the market for cryptocurrencies.

The list of famous individuals who have been embroiled in FTX controversies, including those related to cryptocurrency, is extensive and includes figures such as Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg, Reese Witherspoon, Matt Damon, Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul, Soulja Boy, Lil Yachty, and Shaquille O’Neal.

In addition to these celebrities, FTX also attracted significant investment from institutional investors. Some of the most notable among these include Sequoia Capital, BlackRock, Tiger Global Management, SoftBank, and Temasek.

In 2021, Brady helped start the firm Autograph, which assists renowned persons in the process of selling nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

In a case that accuses celebrities of deceiving investors, Brady and Bundchen are among the celebrities named as defendants.

Larry David, Steph Curry, and Naomi Osaka are some of the other defendants in this case. All three of them supported FTX. Because they did not finalise possible arrangements with FTX, several celebrities, including Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, barely avoided becoming caught up in the crypto debacle.


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Judge Considers Dismissing Shaquille ONeal and Naomi Osaka from FTX Lawsuit

In recent news, a federal judge in Florida, United States, is considering dismissing former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal and tennis athlete Naomi Osaka from the FTX lawsuit. The judge pointed out that it is unclear whether the two sports stars have been served, and instructed the plaintiffs to provide cause as to why O’Neal and Osaka should not be dismissed from the suit. The judge gave the FTX customers until December to show cause.

In another order issued on March 9, U.S. District Judge Kevin Moore reprimanded other celebrity defendants, including Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, Kevin O’Leary, David Ortiz, and Trevor Lawrence, for not following proper procedure in requesting a time extension for a scheduled conference. The judge clarified that the request should have come from the plaintiff’s side, and instructed the conference to proceed as scheduled, or for the plaintiff to move for an extension of time to hold the conference.

As cases against FTX continue to pile up, some plaintiffs have requested the consolidation of lawsuits against the bankrupt exchange. However, on March 8, U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Corley denied the consolidation request, highlighting that the defendants have not yet been allowed to respond. This means that the lawsuits will proceed separately for now.

On the same day, lawyers representing former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried noted that it might be necessary to push back the criminal trial scheduled to start in October 2023. While the lawyers did not formally request a date change, they pointed out that it may be needed because they are still waiting for evidence to be turned over, and Bankman-Fried accumulated more charges in February.

The FTX lawsuit was filed by customers who claimed that the cryptocurrency exchange had been involved in illegal market manipulation and trading practices that caused them financial harm. FTX has denied the allegations and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The case is still ongoing, with multiple parties involved in the proceedings.

Overall, the FTX lawsuit continues to be a complex and evolving legal matter, with various parties involved in the proceedings. The recent developments highlight the need for proper procedure and adherence to court orders, as well as the potential for further delays in the criminal trial involving former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. It remains to be seen how the case will unfold in the coming months.


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PGA Tour Partners With Autograph to Create Digital Collectibles Platform

PGA Tour, the organizer of the main professional golf tours played by men in the United States and North America, has partnered with Autograph, a non-fungible token (NFT) platform, to create a new digital collectables platform that will focus exclusively on the world of Golf.


According to the announcement from the PGA Tour, Autograph will help in creating NFTs from videos, pictures, and moments that are exclusive to the competitions being organized by the tour. 

“The PGA TOUR is excited to work with Autograph to offer digital collectables that highlight the most talented golfers in the world and their role in the sport’s history,” said Len Brown, PGA TOUR Chief Legal Officer and EVP, Licensing. “The TOUR is continuously looking for innovative ways to engage fans to bring them closer to the game and their favourite players, so we’re thrilled to start building the future of golf fandom with the Autograph team.” 

The prospective users of the platform will be able to mint the NFTs, giving them access to exclusive benefits, including access to exclusive digital, in-person and onsite experiences, along with other program benefits. 

Autograph came into the limelight in 2021 as an outfit to promote key events and historical moments in the world of sports. Co-founded by the legendary quarterback Tom Brady, the platform has the likes of Tiger Woods on its Board. 

The startup received a massive head started in January when it raised $170 million in a Series B funding round. Besides its existing investors, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Kleiner Perkins participated in the round at the time.

In April of this year, Autograph signed its first multi-year deal with ESPN to immortalize some of the best moments of Tom Brady’s sporting career. With the current partnership with PGA Tour, Autograph now stands as one of the most versatile Web3.0 platforms in terms of collaborations.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Tom Brady’s NFT platform Autograph raises $170M to scale operations

The nonfungible token marketplace Autograph co-founded by Super Bowl champion Tom Brady has announced it closed on a $170 million funding round.

In a Wednesday announcement, Autograph said Andreessen Horowitz, or a16z, and VC firm Kleiner Perkin co-led the $170-million Series B round with contributions from crypto investor Katie Haun’s firm, Nicole Quinn of Lightspeed Venture Partners, and San Francisco-based venture firm 01A. The company said it planned to use the funds to scale its NFT technology and hinted at a series of partnerships aimed at expanding its user base.

In addition to the funding round, Haun, a16z general partner Arianna Simpson, and Kleiner Perkins partner Ilya Fushman will join Autograph’s board of directors, with a16z general partner Chris Dixon joining the firm’s board of advisors. According to the new members, Autograph will continue to aim for mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

Since its launch in August 2021, Autograph has partnered with major names in sports and entertainment, often for NFT collections. In December, Brady dropped a series of ​​digital collectibles representing moments from his football career including cleats and a jersey from the NFL combine. The marketplace also features NFTs from tennis star Naomi Osaka, skateboarder Tony Hawk, and others.

Related: Touchdown! Goal! Knockout! Crypto and sports collide in 2021

Andreessen Horowitz has been behind some of the biggest funding rounds for crypto and blockchain projects as well as its own crypto-focused funds dedicated to expanding the size and marketability of blockchain projects. The firm’s portfolio includes Coinbase, Compound, Maker, and many others.