John Terry has removed the Premier League trophy from the cartoon ape non-fungible token (NFT) digital assets he has been promoting on Twitter after a legal intervention by the league.
The Premier League trophy is protected by its trademark and its use in any commercial venture requires a licensing agreement with the league. The league wrote to Terry and “Ape Kids Club”, the NFT collection promoted by the former Chelsea and England captain, to make that point this week.
Other tweets featuring NFTs, a digital asset bought and sold online, of famous players portrayed as cartoon apes beside the Premier League trophy have been deleted. One tweet featuring the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, Community Shield and FA Cup trophies was on Terry’s Twitter profile at the time of writing.
Chelsea have also looked into the cartoons because some have included images of the club’s badge. Uefa, which organises the Europa League and Champions League, has taken legal advice and is investigating the matter.
The Football Association is also aware of the NFT activity related to Terry’s account, which includes use of the FA Cup trophy, the Community Shield and the England kit.
Terry, who has taken up a consultancy role in Chelsea’s academy, has been heavily promoting the “Ape Kids Club” NFTs on Twitter. Others who have endorsed them are Bobby Zamora, Jack Wilshere and Nigel de Jong. Terry’s former Chelsea and England teammate Ashley Cole retweeted one post containing an image of the trophies. The Chelsea and England full-back Reece James has tweeted about acquiring a “Mutant Ape” NFT.
“Ape Kids Club” NFTS are an offshoot of another popular NFT, the “Bored Ape Yacht Club”. The collection features 10,000 digital illustrations of cartoon apes. The “Ape Kids Club” features 9,999 different ape NFTs available for purchase.
NFTs are unique digital assets stored on the Blockchain and traded in cryptocurrencies. The ownership and provenance of NFTs are verified by the Blockchain, an online ledger. The two biggest cryptocurrencies are bitcoin and Ethereum, but there are more than 5,000 different varieties.
Critics argue the tokens are potentially dangerous financial assets. NFTs remain part of an unregulated financial sector.