An investor is suing Kim Kardashian; boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Hall of Fame basketball player Paul Pierce, and the cofounders of Ethereum Max for allegedly colluding to promote the cryptocurrency last spring in a pump-and-dump scheme, according to papers filed on Jan 7.

Fast facts

  • The investor, Ryan Huegerich, brought the federal suit in the Central District of California as a class action “on behalf of all investors who purchased EthereumMax tokens (“EMAX Tokens”) between May 14, 2021 and June 27, 2021, and were damaged thereby.” He is seeking investors to join the class.
  • On June 14, 2021, Kardashian promoted the newly launched coin to her then-228 million Instagram followers. Trading volume on that day jumped 35% to US$30 million, but the price fell 17% from US$0.00000023, according to CoinmarketCap.
  • Mayweather and Pierce promoted EMAX in May. The three celebrities were paid cash or tokens for their promotions, the suit alleges.
  • Today the price of EthereumMax has fallen by 98% from its peak.
  • Celebrities and influencers have gotten into hot water with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for promoting crypto, including Mayweather and DJ Khaled, who together paid fines and penalties of US$767,500 in 2018. Earlier this year Elon Musk responded to rumors the SEC was investigating him about his tweets admiring Dogecoin. “I hope they do! It would be awesome,” he tweeted.