A slew of celebrities are planning to launch their own branded virtual coins as the consumer demand for cryptocurrencies continues to rise.
The first branded coin to hit the market is the 'Pac' token, launched by Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquaio at a free concert in Manila in front of 2,000 fans.
The token, which will allow Pacquaio fans to buy merchandise and interact with each other via social media, will be listed on Singapore-based Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX).
The crypto exchange will also be hosting a number of additional celebrity coins lined up to launch in the coming weeks and months. These include Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, US singer Jason Derulo and ex-footballer Michael Owen who is also an investor in GCOX.
GCOX founder and CEO Jeffrey Lin denied that the celebrity coins are designed to cash in on the growing but volatile interest in the crypto market. "We are not here to raise a lot of money but to build an ecosystem," Lin told Reuters.
Celebrities' involvement with cryptocurrencies has not been without issues. Music producer DJ Khaled and former boxer and Pacquaio rival Floyd Mayweather were both fined a combined $765,000 by the SEC in November for unlawfully promoting three initial coin offerings to their social media followers without dislcosing the payments they received from the crypto firms for their endorsements.
In a statement you would think is unnecessary, SEC enforcement division co-director Stephen Peikin said: "Investors should be skeptical of investment advice posted to social media platforms, and should not make decisions based on celebrity endorsements."