After one-time action movie star Steven Seagal was blacklisted from Ukraine and became a devout Buddhist but also pitchman for Russian arms manufacturers, he’s now found his next venture: shilling for a cryptocurrency.
Newly minted Bitcoiin2Gen, spelled with two i’s, said in a press release last week that Seagal had become its brand ambassador because he “believes that what he does in his life is about leading people into contemplation to wake them up and enlighten them in some manner.” The once popular Hollywood martial artist turned Eastern European strongman apologist is perhaps an appropriate match for Bitcoiin, which is built on the Ethereum blockchain (not Bitcoin) and has been compared to a pyramid scheme.
The Bitcoiin recruitment scheme promises interest rates that increase over time as more investors arrive during the initial coin offering (ICO) period, according to the 16-page “white paper” posted to its website. The site, which lists no contact information, doesn’t specify how investors will be paid out though. Assuming the prize for getting in early is more units of Bitcoiin, that’s how pyramid or “pump and dump” schemes generally work.
It doesn’t help matters that Bitcoiin illustrates its business model with a diagram of a literal pyramid, with the highest rate of return for investors at the top.
Beyond Seagal, various celebrities have been associated with cryptocurrency promotion schemes at various times. Perhaps most notably, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. tweeted an ad for an ICO, while Jamie Foxx and Paris Hilton made their own crypto endorsements. Most buzzy celebrity endorsements, however, have died down since the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a public warning about celebrity promotion of cryptocurrencies in November.
Cover image: Hollywood actor and producer Steven Seagal speaks during talks with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)