Action film star Steven Seagal has become the brand ambassador for a controversial cryptocurrency ahead of an initial coin offering (ICO).
A statement posted to Seagal’s Twitter account confirmed the news, the announcement for which was posted to the official website of “Bitcoiin.” Seagal’s endorsement – one of a number of celebrity endorsements in the cryptocurrency space in the past year – comes over a month before the “second generation Bitcoiin” is set to be sold.
An accompanying press release notably highlights Seagal’s film and martial-arts career, stating: “Hollywood actor Steven Seagal has become a believer of Bitcoiin2Gen, the Hollywood action star will be representing the leading cryptocurrency organization, Bitcoiin2Gen, as brand ambassador.”
The cryptocurrency in question is said to be based on ethereum’s blockchain, and also boasts a mining component through a partnership with a company called Dragon Mining. The website also advertises “considerable profit from holding Bitcoiin (B2G)” via a staking/depository process.
The project notably boasts affiliate rewards for those who drive investor interest ahead of the sale, calling to mind investment schemes such as OneCoin and BitConnect – both of which have been accused of constituting pyramid schemes – that also featured affiliate programs.
As a press release from Feb. 8 explains:
“To promote Bitcoiin B2G, a depositor who chooses to participate in one of our accredited Mining Programs, will earn commissions off their recruits’ earnings. Bitcoiin B2G is offering a 4-level commission structure, available to whoever joins the program and/or purchases Bitcoiin B2G during the ICO period.”
Additional information about Bitcoiin’s official backers isn’t available on the website. Data from ICANN reveals that the site was initially created in 2015, is registered out of Panama, and that the ownership of it changed hands around Jan. 8.
Celebrity endorsement aside, Bitcoiin has attracted some criticism for sharing elements of pyramid schemes, or investment structures by which early investors make money largely by bringing in new buyers.
The name itself – which simply adds an additional “i” to “bitcoin” – has raised concerns that it will lead to confusion among unsophisticated cryptocurrency buyers. Indeed, frequent multi-level marketing critic BehindMLM.com wrote earlier this month that “Bitcoiin hope[s] to peddle their B2G altcoin using bitcoin’s established brand awareness.”
Seagal’s endorsement is also a notable one given that the pace of celebrity endorsements around cryptocurrency – including those from boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and actor Jamie Foxx, among others – has largely dried up. In the case of Mayweather, a planned cryptocurrency promotion venture was quietly scuttled, and much of the activity seen in the fall months died away following a public warning from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Celebrities and others are using social media networks to encourage the public to purchase stocks and other investments,” the agency said in November. “These endorsements may be unlawful if they do not disclose the nature, source, and amount of any compensation paid, directly or indirectly, by the company in exchange for the endorsement.”