A $1 billion class action lawsuit is being brought against soccer sensation Cristiano Ronaldo for his promotion of Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.
Ronaldo "promoted, assisted, and/or actively took part in the offer and sale of unregistered securities in coordination with Binance," according to the lawsuit filed in a Florida court on Tuesday. This included the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) bearing his name, which resulted in significant financial losses for investors.
Binance did not respond to CNN's request for comment at this time. A Ronaldo representative declined to provide further comment.
The partnership between Ronaldo and Binance was established in November 2022 with the intention of selling one-of-a-kind NFTs that would depict "an iconic moment Ronaldo immortalised in the form of a digital statute," according to the company's announcement on its extensively covered launch, which included his social media accounts.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have gained significant attention as a mainstream crypto phenomenon. They have essentially converted digital artworks and other artefacts into unique, verifiable assets that can be conveniently traded on the blockchain.
The lawsuit alleges that Ronaldo "allowed his name and likeness to be used in connection with Binance's deceptive statements in promotions of its product," specifically the sale of unregistered crypto securities prone to high volatility, and made "deceptive statements."
Further, the plaintiffs assert that Ronaldo failed to disclose "the nature or value of his remuneration from Binance," as required by US law, and that both Binance and Ronaldo "were cognisant of the fact that these advertisements were aimed at consumers who were not well-versed in cryptocurrencies."
The lawsuit stated that Gary Gensler, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commision, has instructed celebrities to "disclose to the public from whom and how much they are paid to promote investment in securities." Last year, Kim Kardashian was fined over $1 million by the SEC for a comparable matter.
The "sum exceeding" $1 billion is the amount sought in the class action lawsuit. Notably, Ronaldo continues to promote the company, publishing a Binance advertisement on his X account, which has 110 million followers, as recently as November 28.