SEC Warns Against Using Emojis for Investment Advice
• A recent court ruling against Dapper Labs classified the use of certain emojis in promotional materials as investment advice.
• Former SEC branch chief Lisa Braganca warned the public against using these emojis.
• The court ruled that using emojis relating to rocket ships, stock charts, and money bags could be classified as investment advice.
Court Rules Emoji Use Constitutes Investment Advice
A lawsuit filed against Dapper Labs and its CEO Roham Gharegozlou for allegedly violating securities laws by offering its NBA Top Shot Moments has resulted in a court ruling that certain emoji usage constitutes investment advice. Judge Victor Marrero ruled on Feb. 22 that “rocket ship”, “stock chart”, and “money bag” emojis used in marketing materials constitute investment advice and are subject to regulation under existing securities laws.
Former SEC Chief Warns Against Using Emojis for Investment Advice
Following this ruling former SEC branch chief Lisa Braganca issued a warning via Twitter advising the public against using these types of emojis in promotional materials related to investments or investments products.
Accusations Against DapperLabs
The accusations levied against Dapper Labs were that they had been promoting NBA Top Shot Moments as an investment opportunity through their marketing materials which included carefully selected emojis such as rocket ships, stock charts and money bags. The plaintiffs argued that although literal words such as „profit“ were not used in any of the tweets, the use of these emojis objectively meant one thing – a financial return on investment.
Dapper Labs argued that the use of the aforementioned emojis was intended to provide accuracy to market data and not a means of promoting sales or encouraging people to invest in the product offered by them. Several members from the crypto community have also argued that since different people can interpret different meanings from an emoji, it should not be regulated under existing securities laws as it would impede freedom of speech if done so.
It remains unclear how this recent court ruling will affect future promotions involving cryptocurrencies or other digital assets which often make use of visual elements such as emojis to promote their products or services online but it is likely that companies will now proceed with caution when utilizing these types of visuals moving forward due to this precedent being set by Judge Marrero’s decision.