Web3 Watch: Ronaldo re-ups Binance NFTs despite lawsuit

Plus, celebrity memecoins

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Cristiano Ronaldo | Maciej Rogowski Photo/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Soccer megastar Cristiano Ronaldo released another set of NFTs on Binance this week, marking his fourth collection since partnering with Binance in mid-2022. 

The NFTs give holders the chance to meet Ronaldo, as well as access to exclusive content, per Binance’s website. The drop also comes a few weeks after a Florida judge denied Ronaldo’s legal team’s motion to have a $1 billion class action lawsuit dismissed stemming from his promotion of the crypto exchange, Newsweek reported.

The lawsuit says Ronaldo was not forthcoming about aspects of the promotion, and he essentially aided Binance in the sale of unregistered currencies. 

Ronaldo’s continued involvement with Binance and crypto is interesting in light of other sports stars’ chastening following crypto-related lawsuits (you don’t see Tom Brady posting about bitcoin much these days). Not even the $4.3 billion settlement Binance had to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission for breaking US laws could scare off Ronaldo. 

Read more: Binance, Zhao ‘deliberately’ violated US law, SEC argues

I spoke with Binance’s head of partnerships, Sarah Dale, this week to get a sense of how the exchange thinks about and pulls off sports partnerships like its continuing one with Ronaldo. 

Dale said the Ronaldo partnership helps Binance reach customers who aren’t necessarily “crypto natives.” He’s also a star with popularity in the countries where Binance has a license to operate, a consideration the company has to make when choosing partnerships.

“The Olympics isn’t going to work for us, because we aren’t even in all of those countries,” Dale said as an example. 

Read more: Web3 Watch: Binance seems likely to retain its sports partnerships despite DOJ actions

Overall, Dale told me sports is a main focus for Binance’s cultural marketing. This perhaps makes intuitive sense, as customers interested in Ronaldo and customers potentially interested in crypto may have a reasonable amount of overlap. 

As Blockworks Research analyst Ryan Connor wrote in 0x Research this week: “The college football, DraftKings, Barstool Sports combo is quite similar to crypto, DEX Screener, crypto twitter, no?”

Celebrities flock to launch memecoins

Caitlyn Jenner, Iggy Azalea, Soulja Boy and Trippie Redd are all names that I somehow just wrote in the same sentence. 

That’s because each of these (sorta-not-A-list) celebs had some involvement with Solana memecoins this week. 

Read more: Pump.fun revenues hit record as Caitlyn Jenner launches second memecoin

These celebrities are, presumably, profiting off the price appreciation in these assets while firing up their fanbases to invest alongside them. But memecoins with less connection to their titular celebrities had noteworthy weeks too.

The presidential candidates-themed BODEN and TREMP somehow both spiked yesterday in the hours after the news of Donald Trump’s felony conviction broke, according to CoinGecko.

One interesting stat:

  • The Pepe memecoin has a larger market capitalization than a range of top NFT projects combined, according to a dashboard posted by the pseudonymous @punk9059.

Also of note:

  • Web3 gaming device company BitBoy is soliciting pre-orders for a handheld gaming device.
  • Metaverse fashion company RTFKT announced a Nike collaboration coming in June.
  • The move and earn app STEPN is releasing a new app, STEPN GO.

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