When it comes to sharing crypto tips, influencers might need to “do their research” and practice what they preach.
Many digital asset lawyers claim that the disclaimer “This not financial advice” may not protect them as a matter of law.
Matthew Nielsen, a United States-based securities lawyer from Bracewell LLC, told Cointelegraph that although it is “best practice” to inform influencers that “this does not constitute financial advice,” simply stating the term will not shield them from the law. “Federal and state securities laws heavily regulate the ability of anyone to offer investment advice.”
Liam Hennessy is a Gadens partner and an Australian financial regulator lawyer. Michael Bacina, Piper Alderman’s Australian digital lawyer, said that advice warnings are “by and large pretty pointless.”
Celebrity ambassadors and crypto influencers are increasingly being scrutinized, especially in the United States.
Nielsen cited the Kim Kardashian case, in which Kardashian was accused by the SEC of failing to disclose the amount she received to promote EthereumMax to her followers.
Influencers feel the pressure
Cointelegraph spoke with Mason Versluis (aka Crypto Mason), a crypto influencer who has more than a million TikTok followers. He said that his content shouldn’t be taken as financial advice and that it should be stressed to his followers.
Versluis stated that, despite the disclaimer that “This isn’t financial advice,” influencers need to remember that some people “make financial moves based on what certain influencers tell them.”
He also highlighted how difficult it is to predict whether a project will be in a “rug-pull” situation. Influencers “simply deal” with the marketing team and have little contact “with any developers or owners.”
Ivan Vantagiato (aka Crypto Serpent), an Australian crypto influencer, stated that it was important to do thorough research on a project before promoting it.
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Hennessy believes that crypto influencers should be able “to determine what token is a security” and “what token does not constitute a security.”
He explained that a derivative is a product that derives value from another and that promotion of derivatives can lead to criminal liability.
Bacina also noted that any influencer who is based in Australia must have a license to provide financial advice, and that “no disclaimer will give protection.”