Golden State Warriors Superstar Steph Curry and tennis legend Serena Williams are among the celebrities named in a class action lawsuit against the creators of NFT company Bored Ape Yacht Club. The complaint filed earlier this week in California alleges that celebrity endorsements artificially increased the interest and value of Apecoin crypto tokens for BAYC NFTs and Yuga Labs, resulting in “massive losses” for buyers.
“The defendants’ promotional campaign was hugely successful, generating billions of dollars in sales and resale,” the complaint states. “Manufactured celebrity endorsements and misleading promotions regarding the launch of the entire BAYC ecosystem (other so-called Metaverses) were able to artificially increase the interest and price of BAYC NFTs during the relevant period, prompting investors to purchase these loss-making investments at grossly inflated prices.”
The lawsuit claims that the brand “relied heavily on the perception that ‘joining the club’ (i.e. purchasing a BAYC NFT)” would bring buyers status and provide them with benefits, access to events, and “other lucrative investment opportunities exclusive to BAYC holders.”
Justin Bieber, Madonna, Kevin Hart, Snoop Dogg and Jimmy Fallon are some of the “highly influential celebrities” included in the lawsuit. The complaint claims that most of them were recruited by talent manager Guy Oseary, and that the celebrities were paid for their endorsements through crypto company Moonpay.
“In fact, the Defendants Executive and Osiri used their connections to MoonPay and its services as a covert method to reimburse the Promoter Defendants for their upgrades to BAYC NFTs without disclosing them to unsuspecting investors,” the complaint reads.
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