It was a rough month for seven-time Superbowl champion Tom Brady, who top-ticked the recent collapse in bitcoin almost to the day with his "laser eyes" profile picture change, something he himself mocked yesterday when he tweeted "Alright the laser eyes didn’t work. Anyone have any ideas?"
Alright the laser eyes didn’t work. Anyone have any ideas? https://t.co/43WyShRxr2— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) June 28, 2021
It retrospect, this was a rhetorical question because just one day later we learned that Tom Brady and his wife Gisele Bündchen - best known for demanding to be paid in euros top ticking the common currency ahead of its all time high in 2008 - have taken an equity stake in crypto exchange FTX (profiled most recently here) and will receive crypto as part of an endorsement deal with the crypto exchange, which includes a bonus that will be paid in crypto.
West Realm Shires Services, FTX Trading Limited and Blockfolio, three companies behind major global cryptocurrency exchange business FTX, announced Tuesday a long-term partnership with Brady and Bündchen.
BREAKING: @TomBrady to be paid in crypto.@FTX_Official will partner with Tom in an endorsement deal that will give Tom equity in FTX and a bonus that will be paid in crypto. pic.twitter.com/1cYCNBDD6J— Blockworks (@Blockworks_) June 29, 2021
“It’s an incredibly exciting time in the crypto-world and Sam and the revolutionary FTX team continue to open my eyes to the endless possibilities,” Brady said in a statement. “This particular opportunity showed us the importance of educating people about the power of crypto while simultaneously giving back to our communities and planet.”
Both Brady, and Bündchen will serve as ambassadors for FTX, according to an announcement Tuesday reported Bloomberg. And while the cryptocurrency exchange declined to disclose their equity stake, but did say they will both receive an unspecified amount and type of crypto. Bündchen will also take on the role of FTX’s environmental and social-initiatives adviser, according to the release.
“Tom and Gisele are both legends and they both reached the pinnacle of what they do,” said Sam Bankman-Fried, 29, founder and chief executive officer of FTX, said in a phone interview. “When we think about what FTX represents, we want to be the best product that is out there.”
FTX, which unlike Coinbase operates outside the reach of US tax authorities and offers both cryptos and derivatives, has become one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges since its launch just two years ago. Bankman-Fried said he’s spoken with others in the past about possible partnerships, but something FTX always comes back to is, “How excited are they about it? How excited are we to deal with them?” When it comes to Brady and Bündchen, “they were both really into it.” Or maybe they were both just into the compensation they will receive for promoting it.
In any case, the duo knows how to play their role well, and Brady has been an advocate for cryptocurrencies for the past few months, notably emerging as a big supporter of bitcoin in May when he changed his Twitter profile picture to show himself with so-called laser eyes.
"This isn’t the first time that they’ve been involved in crypto, not the first time they’ve thought about it or even used it, which I think makes it a much more natural and authentic partnership,” said Bankman-Fried. “They’re examples of audiences we’d really like FTX to be the product for.”
We can only assume this remark was off the cuff: if the target FTX audiences is really multi-millionaire Superbowl winners and Perfect 10 models, it will have a hard time growing.
Bündchen expressed confidence that crypto adoption will continue to grow steadily, noting that the best part of the partnership for her was the technology’s environmental potential. “What attracted me most about this partnership was the potential to apply resources to help regenerate the Earth, and enable people to lead better lives, therefore generating real transformation in our society,” she said, clearly unaware of Elon Musk's concerns about the electricity consumption of bitcoin.
As Bloomberg further notes, as part of a conversation with Bankman-Fried during a conference earlier this year, brady said he, his coaches and teammates had been talking about cryptocurrencies and their vacillating prices on a daily basis. “It’s on all of our minds because we’re very interested, we’re learning more and more about these emerging markets,” he said. “So I’m a big believer in it, I don’t think it’s going anywhere,” though he added there will “absolutely” be volatility.
Unlike Coinbase, FTX was founded with the goal of donating to charity and has earmarked more than $10 million so far to do so. FTX, Brady and Bündchen have all committed to annual multi-million dollar contributions for the duration of the partnership and Bündchen will play a role in choosing the charities. Her mandate will not be crypto-specific, Bankman-Fried said. She’s been “really involved in giving back basically her whole life and I think this is part of what appealed to her the most,” he said, adding that she’ll likely be working with the FTX Foundation“a fair bit.”
Meanwhile, FTX has fully grasped that to really succeed in the world of crypto it has to constantly be in the headlines and shamelessly self-promote and has done just that, cinching a pact with Major League Baseball earlier this month and renaming the Miami Heat’s National Basketball Association stadium to FTX Arena, the first NBA stadium deal from a crypto firm.
“A lot of what we’ve been looking at is what are the things that we can do that will really stand out and represent us well, fit our brand and really capture people’s attention,” said Bankman-Fried. “We’re going to be doing what we can to try to get news about FTX out there and get more eyeballs on it.”