Cristiano Ronaldo, one of football’s biggest stars, has signed a sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency exchange Binance, becoming the latest celebrity to forge a profitable partnership with a digital asset company despite the crisis gripping the industry.
The legendary Portuguese footballer, whose careers spanned Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid, will work with Binance to create a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that will be sold exclusively by the exchange.
Ronaldo’s cryptocurrency deal comes as Bitcoin’s price has dropped more than 70% from last fall’s peak, wiping out five years of investor earnings. The sell-off triggered a crisis for some of the digital asset industry’s largest traders and lenders, prompting warnings of a “Lehman moment” for the industry.
“My relationship with the fans is very important to me,” said Ronaldo. “So the idea of bringing unprecedented experiences and access through this NFT platform is something I wanted to be a part of.”
Digital asset companies became some of the biggest sponsors of sports stars and franchises during the recent cryptocurrency boom, with multi-million dollar deals including the renaming of $ 700 million Crypto.com to the Los Angeles main arena and advertising. Celebrity TV at the Super Bowl.
Cryptocurrency prices continued to drop from last November’s highs, despite millions spent on attracting new investors. Bettors who bought Bitcoin after February’s Super Bowl would suffer a 50% loss.
The drop in prices and the slowdown in trading have affected the revenues of cryptocurrency exchanges. Major exchanges Coinbase, Gemini, and Crypto.com are among many to announce layoffs in recent weeks. However, Binance said she remains financially healthy and is moving forward with a spree of more sensational hires and deals.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best footballers in the world and has transcended the sport to become an icon in multiple industries,” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.
Ronaldo’s great rival, Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina, became a global brand ambassador for crypto fan token company Socios in March.
High-profile athletes promoting digital assets have provoked a reaction from financial regulators in several countries. Binance was embroiled in a confrontation last November between Spain’s National Securities Market Commission and soccer star Andrés Iniesta over social media posts. Binance said Iniesta did not disclose that he was paid for the posts promoting the exchange due to a “misunderstanding”.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority in May warned consumers about the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies, just days after retired footballer Michael Owen promoted NFTs who said they “can’t lose their initial value” .
“We saw some recent social media posts regarding crypto assets and non-fungible tokens,” the FCA said, warning that there were no consumer protections for these assets and adding “if you buy crypto assets you should be prepared to lose all. money you invest “.
Earlier this month, Zhao criticized other cryptocurrencies that spent heavily on sports advertising before digital asset prices plummeted. “It wasn’t easy to say no to Super Bowl commercials, stadium name rights, big sponsorship deals a few months ago, but we did,” he said. wrote on Twitter on June 15. “Today we are hiring for 2,000 open positions for #Binance.”