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Steven Seagal Throws His Support Behind Shady ICO

According to his official Twitter account, actor Steven Seagal has become the ambassador for a cryptocurrency called “Bitcoiin2Gen”, apparently a second-generation Bitcoiin.

The news, announced on the official website of the ICO (Initial Coin Offering), comes over a month before the typo-friendly ICO is set to be sold. The referral code for those who would like to sign up is “Segal9”, notably a letter away from his actual surname, just like Bitcoiin is a letter away from a real cryptocurrency.

The press release highlights Seagal’s career as “American actor, producer, screenwriter, director, martial artist, and musician who holds American, Russian, and Serbian citizenship.”

It further elaborates the team’s choice of Seagal as “obvious” as it “extends our long-term commitment towards the community.” His involvement is explained:

“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.”

How Buddhism and cryptocurrency correlate remains to be seen. Incidentally, what Seagal is doing might not be seen as harmless or zen by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as they state that: “Celebrities and others are using social media networks to encourage the public to purchase stocks and other investments. These endorsements may be unlawful if they do not disclose the nature, source, and amount of any compensation paid, directly or indirectly, by the company in exchange for the endorsement.” Since there is no mention of payment in the press release or on Seagal’s public accounts, his involvement might turn on him at some point.

The payment system in itself, however, is explained in a press release from February 8th: “To promote Bitcoiin B2G, a depositor who chooses to participate in one of our accredited Mining Programs, will earn commissions off their recruits’ earnings. Bitcoiin B2G is offering a 4-level commission structure, available to whoever joins the program and/or purchases Bitcoiin B2G during the ICO period.”

No mention is made on exactly why this is definitely not a pyramid scheme, even though the illustration of the payment method is a literal pyramid. A pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services. They are unsustainable and collapse sooner rather than later, and are thus illegal in many countries.

The name of the ICO itself is another reason for worry – it raises concerns that it will lead to confusion because of the extra “i”. Multi-level marketing critic BehindMLM wrote that, “Bitcoiin hope[s] to peddle their B2G altcoin using Bitcoin’s established brand awareness.”