January 29, 2023

The recent collapse of the NFT and cryptocurrency market has left many seasoned and amateur investors losing a lot of money. At the beginning of the year, the crypto market appeared to be on an upward trend, with the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT hype in full swing. When it peaked, celebrities and fans alike quickly hopped on the bandwagon to become early adopters, hoping to secure rare NFTs for themselves. As prices increased, the BAYC NFTs became one of the most sought-after digital pieces on the market at the time.

However, with the crypto market turning bearish and the buzz around NFTs abating, the exclusive Bored Ape club has felt the aftermath of the downturn. Decrypt has reported that a class action lawsuit was filed last week against celebrities alleging they used their popularity to scam investors. The lawsuit alleges that celebrities including Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Steph Curry, Kevin Hart, Madonna, Serena Williams, Post Malone, The Weeknd, Gywneth Paltrow, Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton have all been named in the lawsuit and are seeking damages from in excess of $5 million USD on behalf of the plaintiffs and the alleged class of “all others in similar situations”.

A total of 37 co-defendants were named, including Yuga Labs executives and BAYC’s celebrities. The lawsuit has also named executives such as Amy Wu, who previously served as an advisor and board member of the ApeDAO. In a statement to Variety, a Yuga Labs spokesperson said: “In our opinion, these claims are opportunistic and parasitic. We are convinced they are unfounded and look forward to proving them.” The lawsuit also names MoonPay and alleges that the crypto payment startup allegedly facilitated approvals.

The lawsuit detailed a plan by BAYC alleging that conspiracies were devised by some of the Hollywood elite to increase the value of BAYC NFTs with celebrity endorsement. It also alleges that the elite group was secretly involved in a secret payment scheme laundered through the crypto company. The suit also references Guy Oseary, Madonna’s longtime rep and Yuga Lab for his vast celebrity network. The heavy pressure from celebrities, athletes and entertainers is said to have pushed the value of the BAYC NFT to “artificially inflated and distorted prices”. The celebrities allegedly engaged in deceptive promotions, pushing the plan forward.

This is not the first class action lawsuit in crypto. Earlier this year, Curry, Tom Brady, Shaq and more were sued for defrauding investors with their FTX endorsement.

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