The Rise and Fall of the "Uncle Stan" Stanley Nickel Cryptocurrency
By Noah Washington October 6, 2023
- Leslie David Baker, known for his role as Stanley Hudson in "The Office," launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2020 for an unauthorized spinoff titled "Uncle Stan"
- The campaign raised over $336,450, surpassing its $300,000 goal, but faced delays and unanswered questions about copyright infringement
- Baker and his business partner, Sardar Khan, later became involved in cryptocurrency, launching the Stanley Nickel Token, which ultimately failed.
Leslie David Baker, known for playing Stanley Hudson on "The Office," launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2020 with his business partner Sardar Khan. The idea: to fund an unauthorized spinoff pilot called "Uncle Stan" about Stanley's life after retirement. The project raised over $300,000 but failed to deliver the pilot or rewards to backers over two years later.
The campaign faced questions about copyright infringement and Khan's shady business history, including past failed companies and Reddit posts planning the idea, while frustrated backers felt scammed by the lack of progress and transparency. The debacle highlighted issues with Kickstarter's hands-off approach and lack of vetting for project legitimacy.
Cryptocurrency Dealings Raise Concerns
The campaign faced delays, but what truly alarmed backers was Khan's sudden involvement in cryptocurrency. In early 2021, Khan participated in the r/wallstreetbets subreddit during the GameStop (GME) stock price surge.
Gamestop (GME) stock price the past five years. Source: Google
When the trading app Robinhood restricted GME trading, Khan offered to help, citing his connections with celebrities and influencers. An idea to buy a Super Bowl ad to protest Robinhood's actions emerged, and Baker joined the efforts. However, the GoFundMe campaign for the ad failed to reach its ambitious $6 million goal, leading to refunds for backers.
Reddit users began speculating about Baker's and Khan's intentions, with some even suggesting that Khan had taken over Baker's Reddit account to further his financial interests. Baker posted a video to clarify the situation, confirming the authenticity of his Reddit account and his involvement in the failed fundraising for the Super Bowl ad.
Baker and Khan Launch Token
After the disappointments of "Uncle Stan" and the Super Bowl ad, Baker and Khan entered the cryptocurrency arena, launching their own crypto token named the Stanley Nickel. The name was derived from an iconic scene in "The Office" where Stanley dismisses Dwight Schrute's "Schrute Bucks" with a humorous exchange.
In their white paper, Baker and Khan described the Stanley Nickel Token as a "completely decentralized and community-driven token" with "celebrity backing" and "strong meme potential." Despite initially launching on Ethereum, it later migrated to the less reputable Binance Smart Chain.
Rise and Fall of the Stanley Nickel
Following private sales in November, the Stanley Nickel Token launched with an initial value of around 4.8 cents. However, its value swiftly plummeted, settling at 0.23 cents by May 2022. The token's social media presence vanished, Rocket Bunny's post announcing the token disappeared, and the token itself became unavailable for trading on any blockchain.
Some statistics on the Stanley Token during its brief run. Source: Bitquery
After a prolonged period of silence, social media pressure began mounting. In July 2023, a Twitter user posted a thread highlighting Baker and Khan's dubious activities. This thread quickly went viral, leading to the reporting of the "Uncle Stan" campaign to Kickstarter. Khan responded with an update on the campaign page, blaming COVID-19 restrictions and actor strikes for production delays.
Perils of Celebrity Crypto Endorsements
The Stanley Nickel Token holds valuable lessons for celebrity-backed cryptocurrency projects. The failure of the token raises questions about the viability of such endeavors and the need for transparency and authenticity in this emerging market. Ultimately, time will tell whether "Uncle Stan" and its creators can overcome these hurdles and regain the trust of their audience and backers.
Recent high-profile lawsuits involving celebrities endorsing cryptocurrencies and NFT projects highlight the risks associated with celebrity involvement in these spaces.
In 2022, Kim Kardashian was sued for allegedly misleading investors by promoting the EthereumMax cryptocurrency on social media without disclosing she was paid $250,000 for the promotion. Investors claim Kardashian's endorsement artificially inflated the cryptocurrency's price, which then crashed shortly after her promotion.
Ashton Kutcher was also sued by the SEC for the animated NFT project Stoner Cats in 2023 alleging some investors were misled about the project's viability and profit potential. While celebrity endorsements can generate hype and attract investors to new cryptocurrencies and NFT launches, these lawsuits underscore the legal risks for celebrities if promotions omit important details or make unsupported claims
What's Next for "Uncle Stan"
As for Baker and Khan, rehabilitating their reputations in the wake of legal implications, including potential lawsuits related to copyright infringement and fraud allegations, presents a significant challenge. In August, Baker announced the return of over $110,000 in crowdfunded funds, with the rest being claimed as only commitments never actually donated.
As for the fate of "Uncle Stan," should Leslie David Baker and Sardar Khan move forward with an unofficial spinoff without permission, they may face legal action from the copyright holders. Using intellectual property without authorization raises complex legal and ethical issues. A lawsuit could allege substantial damages. The outcome would depend on the evidence and arguments, but it could impact their reputations and future plans.
The future prospects for "Uncle Stan" and the reputations of Leslie David Baker and Sardar Khan remain shrouded in uncertainty. The controversies surrounding the unauthorized spinoff and the ill-fated Stanley Nickel Token have undoubtedly left a lasting mark. It's unclear whether "Uncle Stan" or similar projects can ever fully recover from the trust deficit created by controversies like this.