Former football star, Michael Owen, has come under immense criticism after promoting a new NFT, which he claimed: “can’t lose value”. The former Liverpool, Real Madrid, and England striker came under fire from both football and Crypto fans after claiming that his NFTs would be “the first-ever that can’t lose their initial value.”
According to Oceidon, a technology firm collaborating with Owen, the NFTs have a predetermined floor price, meaning their value can only go up. Mr. Owen’s business partner at Oceidon, Andrew Green, told fans via Twitter that:
“We have come up with a way to prohibit people selling the NFTs for less than what they initially acquire them for.”
The import of these assertions is that the NFT would be artificially locked in at a high level. This would mean investors’ money would effectively be lost. Incensed by these assertions, players in the crypto industry came out to voice their concerns and opposition to Owen’s use of his celebrity status to misinform would-be investors.
According to Mr. James Daley of Fairer Finance, celebrity endorsement of NFTs is ineffective. Additionally, he opined that the tweet by Michael Owen violated advertising rules put in place by the Advertising Standard Authority with regard to digital assets. He termed Michael Owen’s endorsement of such a high-risk investment as “shocking”. He added that:
“Celebrity advertising in financial services rarely goes well. Michael Owen is encouraging people to invest their hard-earned cash in risky assets. It’s all very well for him as he has already made his fortune in football. But for most people, that’s not the case.”
As if to put out the fire that had been raging under Mr. Owen’s tweet, his business partner – Andrew Green – sent out a tweet saying that they could not guarantee that investors could not lose their investments.
According to the Advertising Standards Authority, the marketing of crypto assets is a well-guarded affair. Adverts have to meet a certain threshold so that consumers are protected. Any marketing campaign has to ensure that they are clear whether a digital asset is regulated and that only factual information is put across.
These developments come in the wake of increased scrutiny on celebrities and influencers using their fame to pass misleading information on cryptos and NFTs. Additionally, football clubs in England are slowly embracing NFTs and Crypto, with Liverpool football club being the latest entry into the fray.