- Miami Heat star playe rJimmy Butler is striving to extricate himself from a lawsuit alleging celebrity-induced unregulated trades on Binance.
- Despite endorsements for Binance, Butler’s defense underscores a stark lack of investment advice in his promotions, with an emphasis on doing one’s homework before diving into cryptocurrencies.
- Butler isn’t alone, as fellow lawsuit defendants including Changpeng Zhao and Ben Armstrong, echo his plea for lawsuit dismissal.
A high-profile legal squabble involving Miami Heat standout Jimmy Butler has made headlines again, as he seeks to distance himself from accusations of promoting unauthorized securities on the global crypto exchange, Binance. Butler’s counsel maintains that his client’s involvement with Binance in no way promoted the trading of such assets, rendering any claim of influence baseless.
At the crux of Butler’s defense is the absence of any investment advice within his social media promotion for Binance. Notably, Butler’s tweets advised his followers to steer clear of celebrity-endorsed cryptocurrencies, instead championing the practice of individual research before venturing into crypto investments.
Binance had sought to capitalize on Butler’s fame in 2022 to boost its image ahead of the Super Bowl. Yet, the partnership sparked a backlash when Butler, along with Binance, its CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, and YouTubers Graham Stephan and Ben Armstrong, found themselves targeted by a class-action lawsuit in March.
Butler’s Binance endorsement kicked off in early February with a video showcasing a free set of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) from the exchange. Further videos released on February 7 and 13 underlined Butler’s belief in self-reliance and diligent research when investing in cryptocurrencies.
However, a lawsuit update on June 27 disputed Butler’s defense, contending that his ostensibly benign endorsements were potentially misleading due to their association with Binance’s free NFT giveaway and trading platform.
In a wider context, Butler is just one of a host of athletes, including NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Steph Curry, NFL superstar Tom Brady, and tennis champ Andy Murray, engaged in NFT and cryptocurrency endorsements.
Reflecting Butler’s stance, both Zhao and Armstrong have sought their names removed from the lawsuit. Meanwhile, finance influencer Graham Stephan, a YouTube personality, was relieved of any liability in the lawsuit as of June 15.
Celebrity Crypto Endorsements Spark Legal Firestorm
The intertwining of star power from Hollywood and sports with the emerging world of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has ignited a host of legal issues and public debates. Influential figures like Tom Brady, Larry David, and Shaquille O’Neal faced a class action lawsuit following the fraudulent collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency platform they had endorsed. The debacle sparked an avalanche of online commentary, with many advocating for increased celebrity responsibility in promoting such volatile investments.
Moreover, high-profile endorsements of the NFT series Bored Ape Yacht Club by celebrities like Kevin Hart, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Madonna have landed them in legal hot water, with investors demanding compensation. With the regulatory landscape still unclear and celebrities like Kim Kardashian and DJ Khaled already penalized for non-compliance, this unfolding drama could potentially redefine the relationship between celebrities and the digital asset sector.