Zen master goblin Steven Seagal, last seen promoting a straight-to-DVD action flick for fans such as Vladimir Putin–and also in sexual abuse allegations–has agreed to pay the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a total of $US330,448.76 ($504,295) for failing to disclose the details of his financial relationship with the intriguingly-named cryptocurrency “Bitcoiin2Gen.”
Some called it a pyramid scheme. Some called it a fraud. According to the SEC, Seagal called it a don’t-miss opportunity, leading up to B2G’s initial coin offering (ICO). Incidentally, as he encouraged followers to get in on B2G, he neglected to mention to the SEC that he was promised $US250,000 ($381,523) in cash and $US750,000 ($1,144,568) worth of coiin.
Seagal’s tweets promoting B2G are no longer with us, but the 2018 press release titled “Zen Mater Steven Seagal Has Become the Brand Ambassador of Bitcoiin2Gen” describes the brand ambassadorship as a religious conversion of sorts. “Hollywood actor Steven Seagal has become a believer of Bitcoiin2Gen,” it reads.
And it goes on:
As a Buddhist, Zen teacher, and healer, Steven lives by the principles that the development of the physical self is essential to protect the spiritual man. 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. These are precisely the objectives of the Bitcoiin2Gen to empower the community by providing a decentralized P2P payment system with its own wallet, mining ecosystem and robust blockchain platform without the need of any third party.
Zen Master, Steven mentioned an old Chinese saying “Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate”. by Chuang Tsu.
After some public inspection of the company’s whitepaper, which boldly promised transaction fees ten times lower than Bitcoin’s and two to three times higher mining revenue, the company released an announcement opening with the statement: “Of course, we are not an MLM company or any Pyramid Scheme or Scamming people...” (They illustrated their “ICO recruitment plan” with tiered commission percentages, in a pyramidal shape.) The New Jersey Bureau of Securities sent a cease and desist order, noting that the only employee listed in their Asia-based offices was one enigmatic “John Williams,” and that Bitcoiin had never been approved to sell securities in the state.
Months later, Seagal and the mystery founders walked away promptly after the ICO, with the exciting announcement that it was to be released into the wild “with no individual or individuals having control over the entity!”
Unfortunately for Seagal, his beliefs only ended up materialising as $US157,000 ($239,596) of the promised million-dollar payout. The SEC told Gizmodo that the penalty includes disgorgement of $US157,000 ($239,596), pre-judgement interest of $US16,448.76 ($25,102), and another $US157,000 ($239,596) fine. The Commission adds in the press release that its investigation into Bitcoiin2Gen is ongoing but declined to comment further to Gizmodo on the extent of the probe.
Seagal is not unique in crypto shilling. In 2018, the SEC settled charges with Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled for illegally promoting the Centra token, offered by a company whose CEO turned out to be a sockpuppet.
And that’s the latest on Steven Seagal.