Celebrities, from actors to athletes and influencers, can’t stop talking about their enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies. On Monday, The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, never out of the loop, was keen to showcase his acquisition of an expensive digital collectible, even if it meant violating the ethical policies that govern most NBCUniversal employees.
“That’s My Monkey” – Late Night Comedian told his audience During an interview, Paris Hilton showed a photo of a cartoon monkey in a sailor’s cap. “It reminded me of myself.”
The monkey is one of 10,000 non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection. Hilton showed off her own Bored Ape and later gave away free NFTs from her collection to viewers. “We are part of the same community,” Fallon told her.
Digital sleuths conclusion that Fallon probably bought the image of the primate last November for about $216,000 (more specifically, bought an entry in the blockchain digital ledger that says it belongs to him). Promoting him on his show could very well push his asking price even higher if he ever tries to resell him – and this is where things get tricky.
BUT workplace policy set out by Comcast, the parent company of NBC’s The Tonight Show, asks employees to “not allow outside interests or activities to interfere with [their] business judgment or liability to the company.”
Other Policies as part of NBCUniversal, requires all employees to “disclose and obtain approval for all external work, financial interests, and other personal activities/relationships that may create or create conflict.” The same policy states that employees must not “use information, resources, time, etc. of the company. for personal gain.”
If Fallon’s use of show time to prank his monkey were to increase his resale value, this would presumably be a case of using company resources for personal gain.
An NBC spokesperson said Fallon did not violate the company’s conflict of interest policy, noting that presenters may promote side projects such as books and films.
But these are creative efforts that in turn serve to promote NBC’s programming, whereas NFTs are a financial asset in a class whose value is closely tied to influencers’ virality and acceptance.
Charles Davis, Dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Henry W. Grady at the University of Georgia, said he was “not sure [an entertainer] sharing the NFTs they bought is tantamount to calling on others to buy.”
“It would look like a line of sorts if they were selling them on set,” he wrote in an email. But with Fallon, “it doesn’t feel like it’s so much a shilling as it is just an exchange of purchases.”
Don Hader, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University and a former broadcast journalist, said that people with the same “power and influence” as Fallon “should be thoughtful about what they’re doing and why.” do it” when they blur the line between commercial and editorial content.
Financial reporters from the Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg, for example, “follow a fairly strict code of ethics about not owning the stock they cover,” Hyder added. “Is it a good idea, is it ethical, is it in the public interest to keep something on the air — be it a reporter, an artist or whatever — that you have invested in?”
While the Securities and Exchange Commission now indicates that it may soon regulate the crypto space more aggressively, oversight of NFTs and other parts of the so-called Web 3.0 economy is currently lacking, especially when compared to more traditional fiscal assets.
“We have very strict standards for how people can talk about stocks and insider trading, and those rules have not yet been applied to this area,” Hyder said. “It’s still something like the Wild West.”
The space is also infested with fraud, theft and supposedly money laundering. Cryptocurrency prices recently crashedand critics warned that the nominally decentralized ecosystem is actually quite centralized.
However, none of this stopped the sector from achieving impressive sales. NFT by artist Beeple sold for $69 million last March, and the Bored Ape collection reportedly generated net sales revenue was over $1 billion.
“I don’t like the idea of luring people into thinking they will get rich trading NFTs,” said actor Ben McKenzie. Former star of “Lonely Gods” and “Gotham” recently campaign against aspects of celebrity-backed cryptoeconomics.
McKenzie noted that that’s what the talk show is for, but said the addition of financial speculation on top of that worries him.
“If everything was transparent, then I think it could be one,” McKenzie said. “But given how opaque these markets are and how easily they can be manipulated – through means that would be illegal in regulated markets – I’m not thrilled about it. And frankly, I’m not thrilled that Jimmy Fallon is using his show to promote it.”
“I don’t think he has any negative intentions,” he added. “But in times of a bubble like the one we’re in…speculation is rampant. And people, unfortunately, historically speaking, end up spending the money they think they have. … Eventually, the tide subsides.”