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Lil Yachty, Soulja Boy and more charged for illegal cryptocurrency promotions

Lil Yachty and Soulja Boy are among celebrities facing charges after being accused of promoting crypto assets, without disclosing that they were paid to do so.

The action was taken following an ongoing investigation into crypto company owner, Justin Sun – launched by the Securities And Exchange Commission. Here, eight celebrities were found to be illegally boosting crypto assets, without disclosing payment.

“While we’re neutral about the technologies at issue, we’re anything but neutral when it comes to investor protection,” said director of the SEC’s Division Of Enforcement, Gurbir S. Grewal. “As alleged in the complaint, Sun and others used an age-old playbook to mislead and harm investors by first offering securities without complying with registration and disclosure requirements and then manipulating the market for those very securities.”

Soulja Boy. Credit: Timothy Norris/Getty Images

He continued, explaining how those charged misled fans: “Sun paid celebrities with millions of social media followers to tout the unregistered offerings, while specifically directing that they not disclose their compensation. This is the very conduct that the federal securities laws were designed to protect against.”

The eight celebrities charged include musicians DeAndre Cortez Way (Soulja Boy), Miles Parks McCollum (Lil Yachty), Austin Mahone, Shaffer Smith (Ne-Yo), and Aliaune Thiam (Akon). Other famous faces include Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul, and Michele Mason (Kendra Lust).

With the exception of Soulja Boy and Mahone, all remaining celebrities settled the charges by agreeing to pay a total of more than $400,000 (£329,000), without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings.

Lil Yachty
Lil Yachty. Credit: Timothy Norris/Getty Images

Last December, Taylor Swift was also set to get involved with the world of cryptocurrency, as it was reported she was in talks with Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange, FTX. According to the Financial Times, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried made it to “the late stages of negotiating” with Swift. However, before the deal – reportedly worth more than $100million (£820,550) – could be confirmed, the company collapsed due to bankruptcy.

Elsewhere, back in November, Crypto fans came together to build a statue for Elon Musk.

This was achieved as crypto company $EGT – which stands for Elon Goat Token – raised $600,000 (£501,796) to create the monument “in honour of [Musk’s] many accomplishments and commitment to cryptocurrency”. The final result showed the head of the Tesla figurehead, with a Doge body, riding a rocket.

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