Tom Brady has always been seen as an innovator. As the winningest quarterback in NFL history, he finds ways to reinvent himself. The 44-year-old continues to improve over the course of his career, exploring lifestyle and diet choices to get an edge. Off the field, Brady also looks for ways to innovate. Now, he’s wading into the NFT sector.
It should come as no surprise then that Brady is a hot commodity as a spokesperson. He receives plenty of opportunities to join developing businesses and startups. One of those involves non-fungible tokens, also known as NFTs. Not only is Brady getting involved in the space, but he’s actually set a bizarre record related to it.
First, let’s look at Brady’s legitimate NFT-related enterprise, a company he co-founded called Autograph. According to Fortune, the startup has received $170 million in Silicon Valley funding. The goal of the company is to assist other celebrities in launching their own NFTs.
NFTs stand for non-fungible tokens. They’re digital assets that are most often works of digital art. The “non-fungible” part of the term means each one is unique. Whereas you can trade one Bitcoin for another, and the two are interchangeable, each NFT is one of a kind.
After previously serving at both Apple Music and Cameo, CEO Dillion Rosenblatt leads the LA company. Brady has a considerable amount of clout in the sports and entertainment world, and he’s been able to amass an impressive roster of superstars ready to partner with the firm. The client list includes golfing great Tiger Woods, former baseball icon Derek Jeter, and tennis star Naomi Osaka.
With the popularity of NFTs surging, fans are looking to cash in on celebrities. But Brady’s experience with NFTs isn’t just limited to this engagement. He’s also been represented on that market in a rather nefarious way.
Tom Brady is one of the most impersonated celebrities on the NFT black market
NFTs represent a unique new frontier at the intersection of technology and art. They’re misunderstood by many, overvalued by some, and undervalued by others. Because of this unpredictability, there are plenty of opportunities for scammers to run amok. Some celebrities, like Brady, find themselves stuck in the crossfire.
According to The Hustle, there are reportedly 31,400 “bogus” scam NFTs associated with Brady. That’s the most of any celebrity by a wide margin. This is in large part due to Brady’s popularity as the NFL’s most visible superstar.
Here’s how it works: A person designs a phony social media account that looks and acts like a particular celebrity (in this case, Brady). The account then proceeds to convince the fans to visit a website. That site may contain a phishing link to malware or prompt them to buy a fake NFT.
It’s social engineering at its worst. And it makes the space dangerous for any athlete or celebrity to get into.
The controversy behind athletes selling NFTs
Plenty of celebrities are currently trying to cash in on the NFT craze. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a highly misunderstood area, where many neophyte investors see it as a can’t-miss, get-rich-quick scheme.
The main issue is with scams like those involving Brady. Scammers posing as celebrities will attempt to fraudulently take advantage of fans, stealing their information or otherwise defrauding them into buying a worthless NFT.
According to the CEO of cybersecurity firm BrandShield, Yoav Keren, these scams give fans hope while giving them something that isn’t exclusive. “When you buy an NFT of a picture of Tom Brady, what that NFT represents is that you are the only valid owner of that picture,” said Keren. “If someone sells you a fake one, you’re not the real owner.”
Fake Brady-backed NFTs likely aren’t going anywhere, but for crypto-loving sports fans, beware. If something seems too good to be true, it likely is.