First Celebrities Settle Lawsuits Over FTX Deals

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First Celebrities Settle Lawsuits Over FTX Deals
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A trio of celebrities have settled lawsuits against them related to sponsorship deals struck with the failed crypto-exchange FTX before it collapsed last year. 

Trevor Lawrence, an NFL quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars, reportedly settled a suit that accused him of misleading investors in FTX for an undisclosed sum. Youtubers Tom Nash and Kevin Paffrath also agreed to settlements, but the terms were not disclosed.

These developments were first reported by Bloomberg News. 

Before FTX collapsed, Lawrence had signed a sponsorship deal with Blockfolio, an FTX subsidiary, in 2021. According to a filing submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on August 31, Lawrence received $205,555.35 from the company.

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At the time, FTX’s then-COO Sina Nader told Decrypt that sponsorships with Lawrence and other celebrities helped to ensure taboos around cryptocurrency were “officially shattered.”

“When it comes to my crypto portfolio, I wanted a long-term partner in the space that I could trust,”  Lawrence said at the time of the Blockfolio deal. The athlete has not commented on the settlement or the Bloomberg report.

Nash, a prominent YouTube influencer with 289,000 subscribers, was also paid by FTX for an endorsement, according to a class-action complaint filed against him and other influencers by the Moskowitz Law Firm in March. 

After FTX collapsed, the complaint states, Nash and other influencers scrubbed their channels of any content touting the company or its disgraced founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

Nash, who is a citizen of Australia, did not initially respond to the lawsuit, prompting Moskowitz to request a federal judge to allow them to serve the lawsuit through a tweet. 

Paffrath, another influencer with a following of 1.88 million subscribers on his ‘Meet Kevin’ YouTube channel, acknowledged in a video on November 17, 2022 that he was previously sponsored by FTX, something that he called a “scar” that he regretted. 

In a second video on March 16, one day after being included in Moskowitz’s class-action lawsuit, Paffrath doubled down on blaming SBF for the fraud. He described suggestions that influencers contributed to losses from FTX’s fraud as “ludicrous.”

These three are part of a longer list of celebrities who FTX worked to cultivate before its demise. Among others now facing legal action for partnering with the exchange are former NFL quarterback Tom Brady, his ex-wife Gisele Bundchen, former NBA player Shaquille O’Neill, and tennis star Naomi Osaka. 

News of these settlements arrive after FTX was hit by a cyber-attack that briefly shut down an online portal for former clients to submit reimbursement claims. Meanwhile, a federal judge authorized FTX to begin selling off the $3.4 billion in Solana, Ethereum, Bitcoin and other assets it held as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

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