'Wawrinka Fooled Everyone': Investors Disappointed By Unsuccessful NFT Project

'Wawrinka Fooled Everyone': Investors Disappointed By Unsuccessful NFT Project

by Erik Virostko

Stan Wawrinka is a successful tennis player, but he's also an investor and a big fan of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Like many fellow athletes and superstars, including Rafael Nadal and Coco Gauff, the Swiss player also became interested in crypto and NFTs in the early 2020s. At one point, Wawrinka even had a picture of an NFT as his profile picture on X (formerly known as Twitter), and as one of few athletes, his investments went further than just owning some coin or NFT.

With his associate, Prosper Masquelier, the former world no. 3 launched a game based around NFTs in 2021, called Ballman Project. The point of the game was simple - players could buy NFTs, which presented cards of virtual players, which they then could enter into tournaments.

The price of these NFTs, also called "Ballmans," ranged from a couple of hundred U.S. dollars to almost one thousand. In total, there were over 2,500 investors and one of them spoke to Swiss publication RTS, explaining how the project completely lost its value.

"I bought my Ballman for 318 francs when it came out. Today, it is worth 12 francs. The game is very basic and we quickly had the impression that it was always the same people who won. Where did the 4 million from the project go?"

The RTS even contacted Prosper Masquelier, who is the co-founder of the Ballman Project, and the 43-year-old businessman explained that while the project couldn't be called a success, their team is still working on it.

"Success is not there in terms of attendance and we have not achieved profitability. However, we don't want to abandon the project. Today, the game is still accessible and working."

The project's early success came mostly because of Wawrinka's endorsement, as he also had a "Ballman" in the game, and after the value of the "Ballmans" massively dropped, the investors felt fooled, according to the RTS.

"I am very disappointed by the personality of a three-time Grand Slam winner, I have the impression that Stan Wawrinka fooled everyone."

The three-time Grand Slam champion was also contacted to comment on the matter. While some would call it a "scam," Wawrinka refrains from using such word, as he said that everything that they promised was delivered, even though the project wasn't a success.

"Buyers are disappointed, I understand, but we cannot call it a scam since, unlike many truly scandalous projects, we delivered the NFTs and the game promised."

If investors were to take some action, the 39-year-old Olympic gold medalist wouldn't be the first tennis player facing some consequences after an unsuccessful crypto project. Only a couple of years ago, Naomi Osaka was part of a lawsuit after endorsing the infamous cryptocurrency exchange - FTX.


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