Manny Pacquiao, who rose to fame as a boxing champion and became a senator in his home country the Philippines, has extended his curriculum vitae further by becoming a cryptocurrency mogul.
Mr Pacquiao, 40, has launched what is touted as the world’s first ‘celebrity’ cryptocurrency: the PAC Coin. Former England and Liverpool FC footballer Michael Owen and Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, have invested in the currency, listed on Singapore’s Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX).
Being a professional singer as well as a sportsman, politician and now crypto boss, Mr Pacquiao launched PAC Coin by singing love songs to 2,000 fans in the Filipino capital. Those moved enough to invest can use the currency to buy Pacquiao merchandise and interact with him on social media.
Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki and US singer Jason Durelo are set to follow Mr Pacquiao’s lead by releasing their own cryptocurrencies through GCOX. Jeffrey Lin, founder and CEO of the Singaporean firm, told Reuters: "We are not here to raise a lot of money but to build an ecosystem.”
Previously celebrity involvement in cryptocurrency focused on endorsement or private investment rather than stars launching those of their own.
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Floyd Mayweather, who Mr Pacquiao lost a boxing match billed as the ‘Fight of the Century’ to in 2015, has promoted a cryptocurrency marketing firm named Crypto Media Group. In 2017 former professional basketball player Dennis Rodman endorsed PotCoin: a cryptocurrency used to buy marijuana in the US.
Mr Pacquiao is celebrated as a hero in the Philippines, where he has been a senator since 2016. Aaron Baetiong, 38, who watched the concert, told Reuters: "Pacquiao is idolised by many. People will be encouraged to check this innovation.”
Richard Parris, co-founder of Saito, a company creating blockchain, the record-keeping technology behind bitcoin, told The Telegraph that PAC Coin was “an interesting idea: essentially creating a digital collectible that can be exchanged for physical ones.”
Speaking of Mr Lin’s comment about creating an “ecosystem”, he added: “I presume he’s talking about a collectibles ecosystem for fans of the celeb… extensive trading with exchange fees will make the money.”