- Crypto exchange FTX has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
- The crypto company has worked with many top personal finance influencers.
- YouTube star Graham Stephan apologized to fans on Thursday: “I was wrong and I’m sorry.”
The finance influencers who promoted FTX are doing some soul-searching in the wake of its implosion.
The crypto exchange platform has invested millions of dollars in partnerships with celebrities like Tom Brady and top influencers.
The platform, which filed for bankruptcy on Friday, is in crisis. Sam Bankman-Fried stepped down as CEO on Friday and FTX US froze withdrawals.
FTX has struck several high-profile deals with celebrities, athletes, and influencers, including a 19-year sponsorship of the Miami Heat for $135 million. In reaction to the news, some influencers who promoted the company through paid offers and affiliate marketing are apologizing to their fans.
Among the celebrities and influencers FTX paid to talk about the platform was personal finance YouTuber Graham Stephan, who posted a video titled “Let’s talk about FTX” on Thursday.
“Even though I trusted the information given to me, I was wrong and I’m sorry about that,” Stephan told his 4.1 million followers. “I trusted them, but in the end their parent company didn’t open up with all the risk. This being one of them. This type of behavior is not something I’m concerned about. never expected.”
Stephan is one of many creators on YouTube who have created lucrative businesses by making videos on financial topics such as budgeting and investing. He regularly promoted FTX US on his YouTube channel, encouraging fans to use the platform.
“I canceled with FTX US, before our deal ended,” Stephan told Insider via email. “The situation is extremely disappointing for everyone. I’m taking a step back to reassess how I can improve in the future, because my audience deserves it.”
Stephan has built a loyal fan base on YouTube by sharing financial tips. He has several investing and saving videos with millions of views. The parasocial relationship between an influencer and their fans can be complicated when an audience turns to a creator for specific advice.
“I was waiting for this video,” commented a viewer apologetically. “After how hard you pushed FTX in the videos and the podcast. But if you want to be transparent, I think everyone wants to know what you get from a partnership like this or similar platforms.”
Like Stephan, other creators, including Max Maher (905,000 subscribers), Coin Bureau (2 million subscribers), Tom Nash (285,000 subscribers) and Minority Mindset (1 million subscribers), released videos discussing the situation and their relationship with FTX. WE.
“I deeply regret any past affiliation with the American company FTX,” Maher said in a Nov. 11 video titled “FTX: The Truth.”
“It’s ridiculous that as individuals we need to interview the biggest companies in the world. But we do,” he added. “My whole platform is built on trust and rigorous research in everything I do. You can bet that from now on, I’ll be even more diligent in vetting anyone I mention in my videos.”
Some influencers felt the industry was risky even before FTX’s troubles. Three personal finance influencers told Insider that they have always been hesitant to promote crypto exchanges.
“Although I own a small sum myself as a purely speculative investment, I do not advise my audience to invest in things like this until they have a solid financial footing and are can afford to potentially lose that money,” Sarah Wilson, who runs the Budget Girl YouTube channel, wrote to Insider. “It’s hard to convey in an ad, and it’s usually a dealbreaker for sponsors.”
A second personal finance influencer with 1 million followers, who spoke to Insider on condition of anonymity to preserve their relationship with brands, said he had declined to work with FTX US and other finance platforms. crypto exchange due to unregulated market. .
Chris Norlund, who runs a YouTube channel with 21,000 subscribers, has several videos criticizing creators in the personal finance community for peddling crypto and NFTs. He told Insider that YouTubers need to remember how young and impressionable their audience can be.
“Think about the people you hurt,” he said. “You want to play for the long haul and you want to build relationships with people forever.”
FTX, Maher, Coin Bureau, Nash and Minority Mindset did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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