These are serious allegations.
The other shoe fell off, as they say. A class action lawsuit filed last week alleges that Yuga Labs, the company behind the wildly expensive, influence-focused Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, conspired to inflate the value of digital BAYC assets with the backing of a number of undisclosed celebrities. a number of state and federal laws in the process.
As staggering 37 in total, the list of defendants in the Yuga labs case makes the class action lawsuit against defunct crypto exchange FTX and its famous backers look almost like small potatoes.
Among many famous names, pop star Justin Bieber; rapper Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus Jr.; candle maker Gwyneth Paltrow; hit producer Khaled Mohammad “DJ Khaled” Khaled; Madonna; tennis star Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian; socialite Paris Hilton; basketball player Wardell Stephen “Steph” Curry II (also specifically mentioned in the FTX case); comedian Kevin Hart; Alexander Pall and Andrew Taggart, the duo behind The Chainsmokers; late at night threatens James “Jimmy” Fallon and a few more. Business entities, including Universal Television and Adidas, are also named.
The allegations are serious. According to the lawsuit, the conspiracy was the brainchild of Guy Oseary, a longtime director of Yuga Labs and Madonna, and one of the early investors in a crypto payment system called MoonPay. The plaintiffs allege that this payment system was used to make secret payments to a very long list of A-list celebrities who advertised BAYC assets on television without disclosing their financial ties to Yuga Labs, and social media as if they were just fans of digital artwork and not paid supporters with a vested financial interest in unstable assets.
The lawsuit states, “Yuga, a highly connected Hollywood talent agent (Defendant Guy Oseary) and a cover operation (MoonPay), all came together to promote and sell a range of digital assets.” Together, they devised a plan to leverage their extensive network of world-class musicians, athletes, and celebrity clients and partners to misleadingly promote and sell Yuga Financial Products.”
“This conspiracy between the Administrative Defendants and Oseary [celebrity promoters] and MoonPay Defendants made millions for all.” “Meanwhile, investors were left with staggering losses.”
This lawsuit comes just after another lawsuit filed against Yuga by the same firm, Scott + Scott, in August. In that filing, the firm accused Yuga of artificially increasing the value of its NFTs, in addition to the price of ApeCoin, the company’s native crypto token, which, according to the plaintiff, claims both are truly unregistered securities.
The new lawsuit reiterates these previous claims and also argues that with the arrival and promotion of ApeCoin, Yuga “completely eliminated the NFT gimmick and followed a more direct way to make money: they created their own money out of the air”.
Yuga vehemently denied the accusations, arguing that they were basically just fabrications.
“In our view, these claims are opportunistic and parasitic,” a company spokesperson said. decrypt. “We strongly believe they are wrong and we look forward to proving it.”
It will likely take a long time for such a case to emerge, and it remains to be seen whether the Plaintiffs can prove the extent of the conspiracy. Regardless, the claims are striking.
Sure, the FTX ads of the past crypto days are definitely creepy, but at least these were clearly paid promotions. Paris Hilton and Jimmy Fallon soullessly discuss their passion for NFTs live on air, with no mention of their financial ties to the Yuga or any of the named celebrities happily posting their BAYCs on their accounts. Twitter feeds without expressly warning that they are being paid for it, – if true – it’s sneaky. There’s a reason celebrities and influencers have to put “#advertisement” on their posts. And while they may not lose much from their own BAYC investments, real people have lost and will lose.
At best, it’s careless. But worst of all, it’s downright callous.
READ MORE: Litigation Claims Yuga Labs Made A Deal With Celebrities Like Justin Bieber To Force Their Bored Ape NFTs [Decrypt]
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