Soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo is now confronting a $1 billion class action lawsuit over his endorsement of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
The legal action, filed on Tuesday in a Florida court, alleges that Ronaldo “promoted, assisted in, and/or actively participated in the offer and sale of unregistered securities in coordination with Binance.” This includes the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) featuring Ronaldo, which purportedly resulted in significant financial losses for investors.
Binance has not yet responded to CNN’s request for comment, and a representative for Ronaldo has chosen not to provide a statement.
In November 2022, Ronaldo collaborated with Binance to release exclusive NFTs portraying “an iconic Ronaldo moment immortalized in the form of a digital statue.” This partnership was heavily promoted, including on Ronaldo’s social media channels.
NFTs, a widely popular crypto-related trend, convert digital art and collectibles into unique, verifiable assets easily traded on the blockchain.
The lawsuit accuses Ronaldo of making “deceptive statements” and asserts that he “allowed his name and likeness to be used in connection with Binance’s deceptive statements in promotions of its product,” particularly the sale of unregistered crypto securities prone to unpredictable volatility.
Furthermore, the plaintiffs claim Ronaldo failed to disclose “the form or amount of his compensation by Binance,” a requirement under US law. They allege that both Binance and Ronaldo were aware that their advertisements targeted individuals unfamiliar with crypto.
Citing Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler’s stance on celebrity endorsements, the lawsuit emphasizes the need for public disclosure of payment details. The SEC imposed a fine of over $1 million on Kim Kardashian last year for a similar issue.
The class action lawsuit seeks damages exceeding $1 billion. Notably, Ronaldo continues to endorse the company, with his most recent Binance ad posted on November 28 on his X account, boasting 110 million followers.