Former England striker Michael Owen is in hot water after tweeting about a non-fungible token (NFT) project in breach of Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules.
Last month, the 42-year-old BT Sport pundit attracted controversy after telling his 3.7 million followers "my NFTs will be the first ever that can't lose their initial value" – something critics claim isn't possible.
The ASA judged the tweet was misleading to consumers and asked the Premier League icon to delete the post, which he has now done, but days later he was in trouble again after publishing two tweets about Punt Casino, an unlicensed cryptocurrency betting company registered in the Caribbean island of Curacao.
Under UK law, only betting firms licensed by the UK Gambling Commission can legally be advertised to UK consumers, and the former Liverpool and Manchester United striker was once again asked to remove his tweets.
The ASA is currently conducting a wide-ranging review of the issues surrounding NFT advertising. NFTs are one-of-a-kind assets in the digital world that can be bought and sold like any other piece of property, but which have no tangible form.
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Speaking on The Sports Desk podcast, managing director of Fairer Finance, James Daley, said of Owen's tweet: "When you're delving into something that's very new and unregulated, and you've got footballers saying 'you can't lose', it's flashing alarm bells.
"It's just not true – of course you can lose money. [The tweet] is incredibly dangerous, especially from a trusted and well-known celebrity."
NFTs exploded in popularity last year and hit the mainstream after former Chelsea and England captain John Terry lead the charge on endorsing them back in January, with several Premier League footballers following suit shortly after.
However, in the face of widespread criticism due to concerns about security and scamming, the collection launched by Terry dropped in value by around 90%, while England striker Tammy Abraham and Everton coach Ashley Cole – like Owen – have also recently deleted endorsements of NFT schemes.
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