Portuguese football legend Cristiano Ronaldo (CR7) is currently facing a proposed class-action lawsuit, with allegations stemming from his involvement in promoting the cryptocurrency exchange Binance. This legal challenge, filed on November 27 in a United States district court in Florida, accuses Ronaldo of aiding in the offer and sale of what are claimed to be unregistered securities, in collaboration with Binance.
The roots of this lawsuit trace back to mid-2022 when Binance embarked on a multiyear partnership with Ronaldo to launch a series of his own nonfungible tokens (NFTs). At least three collections of the soccer star, linked with Binance, have been released since this collaboration began.
Central to the complaint is the allegation that users who engaged with Ronaldo’s NFTs were subsequently more likely to utilize Binance for various other investments, including in what the plaintiffs refer to as unregistered securities. These include Binance’s own cryptocurrency, BNB (BNB), and its associated crypto yield programs.
The lawsuit highlights the significant role Cristiano Ronaldo played in amplifying Binance’s popularity, leveraging his vast social media following, estimated at 850 million. The complaint notes a staggering 500% surge in searches for Binance following the initial sale of his NFTs, underscoring the effectiveness of his promotions.
However, the suit also raises concerns about Ronaldo’s alleged awareness of the legal intricacies surrounding cryptocurrency promotions. It questions whether Ronaldo, given his investment experience and access to expert advisors, should have been aware of the implications of promoting what the lawsuit claims are unregistered crypto securities.
The filing draws attention to guidelines from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the need for celebrities to disclose payments received for promoting cryptocurrencies. The plaintiffs allege that Ronaldo failed to adhere to these disclosure requirements.
Follwoing a settlement with the U.S. authorities Binance is now subject to up to five years of compliance monitoring by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury. The SEC has also filed a lawsuit against Binance on multiple counts, including the sale of unregistered securities, and is reportedly investigating potential misappropriation of customer funds by the exchange.