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Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather, Paul Pierce Sued Over Ethereum Max Promotion

One investor is arguing he was unduly influenced by the social media influencers.

3 min read

In brief

  • Kardashian, Mayweather and Pierce all promoted the EMAX token in some form during May and June of last year.
  • EMAX has lost most of its value since hitting a high on May 31.

If you think Ethereum is struggling, you should see the prices for Ethereum Max (EMAX), the Ethereum-based token that generated publicity last summer through endorsements from celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, boxer Floyd Mayweather, and former NBA star Paul Pierce.

Now, all three celebrities are being sued by an aggrieved investor, who alleges they colluded with EMAX co-founders Steve Gentile and Giovanni Perone to pump the price of the token and then dump them, leaving average investors holding the (mostly worthless) bag.

"Defendants touted the prospects of the company and the ability for investors to make significant returns due to the favorable 'tokenomics' of the EMAX Tokens," Huegerich argued in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California. "In truth, defendants marketed the EMAX Tokens to investors so that they could sell their portion of the float for a profit."

Ethereum Max peaked at a price of $0.000000597636 on May 31, 2021, before falling by more than 80% in 11 days. It then staged a mini-rally in mid-June around the time of Kardashian's post before falling even lower. Since reaching its high, it has lost over 97% of its price; it now sells for an even-more infinitesimal $0.000000017659. 

Ethereum Max price chart. Source: CoinGecko

Huegerich purchased EMAX tokens between May 14 and June 17 and is looking to be the lead plaintiff in a class action.

The ERC-20 token first came into the crypto consciousness when Mayweather arrived at June's Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami wearing an Ethereum Max t-shirt—despite organizers warning attendees to leave talk of non-BTC assets at the door. EMAX was sponsoring a boxing match that month between Mayweather and Logan Paul. In 2018, Mayweather was fined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for promoting initial coin offerings without disclosing he had been paid to do so.

The following week, Kardashian—who had previously linked to an ad for an EMAX-sponsored event in May—shared an Instagram story with her more than 200 million followers in which she touted Ethereum Max while using an #AD hashtag to signify it was a commercial.

"Are you guys into crypto????" a screen read. "This is not financial advice but sharing what my friends just told me about the Ethereum Max token! A few minutes ago Ethereum Max burned 400 trillion tokens—literally 50% of their admin wallet giving back to the entire E-Max community."

Pierce was intrigued enough by EMAX token burning (in which tokens are effectively destroyed to limit supply and boost demand) that he burned any remaining bridges with his former employer, ESPN, which had fired Pierce as an analyst after a video came out showing him gambling with adult performers during COVID. 

Ethereum Max did not respond to a Decrypt request for comment. Though the project maintains a presence on Twitter and social media, Ethereum Max has all but disappeared from public view, having managed less than $150,000 in trading volume in the last 24 hours.

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