Former England, Liverpool and Real Madrid star Michael Owen have come under backlash for encouraging people to invest in his latest NFT venture, which he claims cannot lose its value. On Monday, the football star tweeted that his project ‘will be the first NFTs ever that can’t lose their initial value.’ Oceidon, a technology company collaborating with Owen, has said the NFTs have a fixed floor price which means the value can only rise. Yet Andrew Green, a co-founder of Oceidon, appeared to have backtracked on that claim in a discussion on Twitter.
A user messaged Andrew Green and alleged that advertising the NFT scheme by saying people can’t lose money was ‘bordering on criminal,’ to which Green replied: “We cannot guarantee or say that you cannot lose. There is always a chance.”
As for Micheal’s claim, it is all very well for him as he has already made his fortune in football. But for many people he encouraged to invest in the scheme, it is not the case. “It could well be in breach of the Advertising Standard Authority’s guidelines on crypto-assets.”
On Monday evening, Owen appeared on a Twitter space to talk about his NFTs but has not commented further on the subject amid the backlash. While the ASA does not comment on specific cases, they told The Telegraph: “We have strict rules on the marketing of crypto assets, including NFTs. Ads must clarify that crypto assets are unregulated, and consumers’ investments are not protected.” They added, “our rules apply across ads in all mediums, including social media. Celebrities and influencers are subject to these rules and need to make sure they’re not making misleading or irresponsible claims.” I am not going there today or tomorrow and also not ever.
Many fans are concerned about Owen’s reply that the NFTs could not go down in price. In a post, one fan said, “that’s (sic) a really worrying claim to say that an NFT won’t lose its initial value, especially with prices and liquidity plummeting.” Another wrote: “Assuming the value isn’t 0, how in the hell is that remotely possible? Will someone ALWAYS be willing to repurchase it for the same price?”
The idea behind Owen’s claim seems to be that the NFT will contain a code that ensures it cannot be sold for lower than the price it was initially bought for, so it, therefore, cannot be sold at a loss. This is what co-collaborator Green refers to when he mentions “floor price protection.”
However, if somebody buys an NFT and the price falls, they cannot reduce their losses by selling up, meaning they lose the entire amount they paid for it. And without some form of buy-back guarantee — where people will be refunded at the same price they paid for the NFTs — it is impossible to see how his claim stands up. There is no indication this is what Owen is doing or how the value is protected.