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Why Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen could get burned in the FTX crypto collapse

Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen attend The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala on May 7, 2018, in New York.Charles Sykes/Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

With the collapse of crypto exchange FTX sending shockwaves through the digital currency market, analysts are wondering how the company’s bankruptcy filing will affect its former celebrity ambassadors, a glitzy roster that included quarterback Tom Brady, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, and NBA star Steph Curry.

FTX filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday, ending a disastrous few days for what had been the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency exchange. The company’s CEO and founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, has resigned.

Last year, Brady and his then-wife Bundchen entered a “long-term partnership” with FTX and were awarded equity stakes in the company, according to a June 2021 press release announcing the deal.

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Brady, who had won his seventh Super Bowl a few months earlier with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was an FTX ambassador, MarketWatch reported Friday, and Bundchen was an environmental and social initiative advisor to the company.

The two also appeared in television spots for FTX.

According to the release, both Brady and Bundchen received crypto as part of their deal, though the size of their stakes in the company, or how much crypto they received, is not clear. The couple has since divorced.

A few months after the deal was announced, FTX was valued at a staggering $32 billion, MarketWatch reported.

“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 the 2021 release. “This particular opportunity showed us the importance of educating people about the power of crypto while simultaneously giving back to our communities and planet. We have the chance to create something really special here, and I can’t wait to see what we’re able to do together.”

His words were echoed in the 2021 statement by Bundchen.

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“It was fascinating getting to know more about the crypto universe!” she said in the release. “Cryptocurrency will become more and more familiar to all of us as time goes on. 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.”

The company said at the time that Brady and Bundchen had committed as part of the deal to providing an annual multi-million dollar contribution to charity, and that Bundchen would play a “key role” in fostering initiatives such as reducing FTX’s carbon footprint and promoting equality and diversity.

Additional high-profile investors included Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Major League Baseball pitcher and slugger Shohei Ohtani, tennis star Naomi Osaka and Sharktank’s Kevin O’Leary, MarketWatch reported.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Manhattan US Attorney’s office is investigating FTX’s collapse. One area of focus for prosecutors will likely be examining reports that FTX lent customer funds to Alameda Research, a crypto-trading firm that traded on FTX and other exchanges, the newspaper reported. Bankman-Fried also founded and owns Alameda Research.

MarketWatch reported Friday that while it’s unclear what’ll happen to the money that investors put into in FTX, their equity could be wiped out by the bankruptcy filing.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.