Manny Pacquiao, the former champion boxer and current Philippine senator, has gone all 2017 on us and launched his own cryptocurrency. In a move reminiscent of the crypto boom when unscrupulous project leaders attached celebrities to their ICO (often without revealing important details about the endorsement, like the fact they’d been paid), Pacquiao announced on Sunday that a token named after himself is to launch via the GCOX Group, an Asian company that has developed a model for celebrity tokens. There is the faintest glimmer of hope however that this might not be an automatic scam, as GCOX apparently has other celebrities earmarked for tokens down the line should the Pacquiao project be a success.
— Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiao) September 2, 2019
Tokens Backed by Popularity
The Pac coin isn’t a straightforward currency as this would have limited use, but is instead a type of fan marketplace, giving supporters a chance to buy merchandise and interact with Pacquiao. The value of the Pac will be backed by demand from his sizable fan base, which will provide an interesting way of grading the popularity of celebrities further down the line, should the venture prove successful. GCOX claims that their celebrity token model “revolutionizes the way celebrities interact with their fans, giving the public unparalleled access to celebrities”, which, whatever you think of celebrity culture, is a potential multi-million-dollar business. Former English soccer star Michael Owen and Jason Derulo are believed to be in line for their own tokens later this year.
Blockchain’s Killer App?
The relationship between celebrity and cryptocurrencies has been by and large disastrous, with the likes of Steven Seagal, Floyd Mayweather, DJ Khaled, and cricketer Michael Clarke all receiving criticism, and in some cases fines, for associating themselves with crypto projects, but the GCOX offering is different because the celebrity is at the heart of the offering – much like a talent agency, the focus isn’t on one particular celebrity but collecting a stable of them and monetizing their fame. If GCOX can find a compelling enough case for people to use the cryptocurrency to interact with the target of their adoration then the sky really is the limit. If so, there really is no reason why celebrity cryptocurrencies won’t be listed alongside calendars, fragrances, and fitness DVDs as a virtual Christmas stocking filler. Could this be the killer app the crypto world has been waiting for? You wouldn’t bet against it.