With 6.6 million followers on Instagram, Nabilla Benattia-Vergara is one of the most followed French influencers. In 2018, she still used Snapchat a lot to communicate with her community and especially to share product recommendations with them.

These contents, sponsored by partner brands, must be compulsorily mentioned as such. Influencers are in the duty to distinguish an advice or an objective feedback, from a product placement with economic interests.

Three years ago, it was with the ephemeral photo sharing app that Nabilla talked about Bitcoin and an app to invest and make money quickly.

TraderLeBitcoin, based in Andorra, was only 2 months old when the French public figure was talking about her services and the huge opportunity of Bitcoin. She explained that she had earned 800 euros on her own in a short period of time, with a starting investment of 1000 euros.

At the same time, she reassured users that “you can go with your eyes closed”, closing the door on the risk of loss: “money that you can always get back “, she said.

In this “story”, no precision was made about the special character of the message, motivated by an economic interest. Nowhere was there a clear message that the content was sponsored.

A fine equal to the remuneration

The DGCCRF (Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control) became aware of this error and decided to penalize Nabilla … three years later. In a press release, the authority says it has imposed a fine of 20,000 euros.

This sum corresponds to the amount of the remuneration of the operation with the application of trading cryptocurrencies. The fine includes both the disguised advertising of the story, but also the misleading nature of the message of encouragement to invest without talking about risk or making a warning.

Nabilla was right, though, in 2018 to talk about a real opportunity when you look at the cryptocurrency’s performance since then. If we compare the lowest price of Bitcoin in 2018 with the highest in 2021, we obtains over 1600% upside for one bitcoin.

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In other words, with a €1,000 investment at the start in 2018 (at the year’s lowest), it was possible to generate €16,000 in gains by reselling the funds in cryptocurrencies when bitcoin was at its highest this year.

Obviously, this story only takes into account individuals who would have held onto their investment and bought at the low and resold at the high. In early May through mid-July, the bitcoin price was encountering a major correction of over 40%.