Binance – one of the world’s largest platforms for cryptocurrency trading — announced it would be partnering with Manchester United’s own Cristiano Ronaldo. The deal focuses on the Portuguese star promoting NFTs (non-fungible tokens) for the platform.
The deal – which is apparently a multi-year situation — will involve a series of NFT collections, created by Ronaldo and Binance. Binance knows just how valuable a player like Ronaldo could be to the team, and will release multiple collections throughout the years-long deal. The first of these is set to go on sale later this year.
Proud to be partnering with @binance
Together we’ll give you the opportunity to own an iconic piece of sports history.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) June 23, 2022
What’s the deal with NFT’s?
If you’re scratching your head wondering what an NFT is, we got you covered. Essentially, NFTs are digital ‘assets’, for want of a better word, that exist on a blockchain. The blockchain is an energy-intensive way to determine who owns that digital asset.
The word ‘asset’ is thrown around loosely here. People can pay insane amounts of money to own what is basically an image. But what make this image ‘special’ is the fact you can prove you own it. Of course, the problem lies in the fact that because it’s digital, technically anyone can own it. What you’re paying for is ownership of the URL pointing to where that specific image is hosted. In short, NFTs are stupid.
So why, oh why, would one of the most famous footballers put his name against something like this? The answer is obvious – money. Which raises another question. Why would arguably the most famous footballer on the planet decide to partner with a company like Binance? Well, only he can answer that. Perhaps his legal team realises that the market for NFTs is overpriced, and wants to squeeze some cash out of it before its inevitable stabilisation to something more… reality-based.
From Ronaldo’s point of view, this deal makes a lot of sense. Binance does all the ‘work’ and Ronaldo just needs to sit and collect his paychecks. Hopefully, he doesn’t even know how the NFT world works. If he does, the deal looks a little… cynical on his part.
Betting on a scam
Of course, these sorts of deals aren’t new. Every celebrity does deals that involve selling their likeness for big bucks. The problem becomes a little harder to ignore when the celebrity in question promotes companies where the only focus is making money. Not just any money mind you. Money that relies on making the poor, poorer, and the rich, richer.
For instance, South Africa musician Cassper Nyovest recently signed a deal with South African betting company Sportsbet.io, which promotes the use of crypto for online gambling. Kids (and adults) see their favourite rapper betting online, using an unstable currency, and possibly decide to imitate him. Whether Nyovest actually places bets on the platform is immaterial. It looks like he does, and that’s enough to push fans in the direction of poor financial choices.
Of course, there are no legal issues when celebrities take these sorts of deals. It’s more of a moral question. Generally, these deals rely on folks not connecting cash payments to endorsements of products of dubious utility. It doesn’t always work out, either. Sometimes celebrities… don’t make the best choices. The Binance deal might not even be Ronaldo’s weirdest endorsement.
At this point in time, we have no idea what the Ronaldo NFTs will look like, or how much they will cost. We can make a pretty good guess however. We can be certain at least one of the collections will be focused on his ‘best’ goals throughout his career. We’ll likely also see a collection showing his journey through different clubs, and a few more highlights besides.