By Jeff Benson
Apparently, Floyd Mayweather didn’t get the memo that he was speaking at a “Bitcoin only” event.
Taking the stage on Day 1 of the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, the boxer downplayed the importance of the world’s largest cryptocurrency, while repeatedly encouraging audience members to believe in themselves rather than in any one crypto token.
Mayweather and his team committed faux pas by wearing t-shirts for EthereumMax, a new Ethereum-based token that’s sponsoring Mayweather’s Sunday night fight with Logan Paul.
Floyd Mayweather Steps Into the NFT Ring
“Everybody in the crypto world is competing with one another, whereas I feel like everybody should be able to choose what they want to choose and go with who they want to go with,” he said. “I believe there’s gonna be another cryptocurrency just as large as Bitcoin some day,” said Mayweather. (Could he be referring to EthereumMax?)
That response drew boos from a crowd that had greeted him with a standing ovation.
The undefeated (50-0) fighter defended himself by saying, “Without no cryptocurrency, I was able to make a billion dollars. With or without any cryptocurrency, Floyd Mayweather’s going to be okay.”
He then sidestepped a question from interviewer Tracy Leparulo about athletes taking bonuses and accepting payment in Bitcoin.
“I would never tell anyone what to do, what to invest in,” he said.
That isn’t entirely true, for reasons beyond his choice of t-shirt/sponsor and his new line of NFTs—blockchain-based tokens that prove ownership over assets, in this case digital memorabilia.
Back in 2018, Mayweather and DJ Khaled were charged with promoting an initial coin offering for Centra Tech without disclosing they had been paid to do so. The founder of that project is now serving an eight-year jail sentence.
You can call me Floyd Crypto Mayweather from now on #HubiiNetwork #ICO starts tomorrow! Smart contracts for sports?! #CryptoMediaGroup #adpic.twitter.com/25GoMPuS7r
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) August 23, 2017
Mayweather settled with the SEC for $614,775 in penalties and disgorgement. He was also banned from promoting securities for three years; that ban is still in effect.
While the Securities and Exchange Commission, at least under former chairman Jay Clayton, has repeatedly affirmed that Bitcoin is not a security, Mayweather was in no hurry to promote it, barely mentioning BTC in his chat.
Bitcoin 2021 conference organizers have made it fairly clear that the conference is supposed to be about, well, Bitcoin. In the lead up to the conference, they posted on Telegram: “This is a Bitcoin only conference. Please stay focused and on topic at the event. Save conversations about other protocols and cryptocurrencies for outside the conference.”
Mayweather may be undefeated in the ring, but he’s closer to 0-1 with Bitcoiners.