Lil Yachty, Soulja Boy, Akon Among Celebrities Charged With Crypto Violations by SEC
On Wednesday (March 22), the SEC put out a press release charging crypto asset entrepreneur Justin Sun and his three companies, Tron Foundation Limited, BitTorrent Foundation Ltd. and Rainberry Inc. (formerly BitTorrent), of "the unregistered offer and sale of crypto asset securities." The release also names eight celebrities including Lil Yachty, Soulja Boy and Akon as being charged with illegally promoting TRX and/or BTT "without disclosing that they were compensated for doing so and the amount of their compensation."
"This case demonstrates again the high risk investors face when crypto asset securities are offered and sold without proper disclosure," said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. "As alleged, Sun and his companies not only targeted U.S. investors in their unregistered offers and sales, generating millions in illegal proceeds at the expense of investors, but they also coordinated wash trading on an unregistered trading platform to create the misleading appearance of active trading in TRX. Sun further induced investors to purchase TRX and BTT by orchestrating a promotional campaign in which he and his celebrity promoters hid the fact that the celebrities were paid for their tweets."
Other celebrities named on the report include Ne-Yo, Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul, Austin Mahone and Kendra Lust. Soulja Boy and Mahone are the only celebrities listed that have yet to agree to pay upward of $400,000 in disgorgement, interest and penalties in order to settle the SEC claims.
Lil Yachty, SB and Akon have all dabbled in crypto in recent years. In 2020, Yachty created his own cryptocurrency called the YachtyCoin. In 2021, Akon launched the Akoin. Soulja Boy often talks about his crypto investments on social media.
XXL has reached out to Lil Yachty, Soulja Boy and Akon's teams for comment.