Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis NFT collection, Stoner Cats, was fined $1 million by the SEC. Image source: Getty

Ashton Kutcher And Mila Kunis’ NFT Project Fined $1.55M by the SEC

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It hasn’t been a great past couple of days for Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.

Last week, the celebrity couple copped backlash for writing a letter to the judge voicing support for convicted rapist Danny Masterson. After waves of online criticism for their action, Kutcher and Kunis filmed an Instagram apology video – which resulted in even more criticism for its perceived insincerity.

The couple’s reputation has taken a serious hit. But as if things couldn’t get any worse for Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, this morning, an NFT collection founded and backed by the A-listers was fined US$1 million (AU$1.55 million) by the US SEC for offering “unregistered securities”.

Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and ‘Stoner Cats’

Stoner Cats is an NFT collection launched by Mila Kunis in June 2021, at the height of the crypto mania. In an interview with late night talk show host Conan O’Brien, Kunis explained that the NFT scene was “a very masculine area”, which formed part of her decision to create Stoner Cats.

The Stoner Cats NFT collection was to fund an animated web series based on the same name. The web series revolved around five cats that become sentient after taking medical marijuana. Fans who wanted to be part of the highly-anticipated series could purchase a Stoner Cats NFT to be granted access to view the series.

Ashton Kutcher voiced a main character in the series. 

The first episode of Stoner Cats was aired on July 29, 2021. However, according to the SEC’s filing, the “majority of the NFTs purchased in the offering were resold in the secondary market before the release of the second episode on November 15, 2021”. 

“In quarantine, some people took up baking and knitting, and I deep-dived into crypto and NFTs,” Kunis said. Guess the lockdown learning didn’t pay off as much as it should have, eh?

SEC sues Stoner Cats

Today, the SEC has charged the company behind Stoner Cats, Stoner Cats 2 (“SC2”) for allegedly offering unregistered securities to consumers. The SEC alleges that at the time of its launch, Stoner Cats generated gross proceeds of ETH worth US$8 million (AU$12.4 million).

In addition, the SEC alleged that SC2 “configured the Stoner Cats NFTs so that it received a 2.5% royalty for each transaction in them on a certain secondary market platform”.

Due to this, the SEC notes that “the royalties created incentives for SC2 to encourage individuals to buy and sell the Stoner Cats NFTs in the secondary market”. In other words, the people behind Stoner Cats were allegedly promoting resale of its NFTs to make more profit.

Stoner Cats 2 has agreed to a settlement with the SEC, and paid a US$1 million (AU$1.55 million) fine without admitting guilt. As part of the settlement, it also agreed to destroy all Stoner Cats NFTs – you could say they got smoked.

As of September 19, the Stoner Cats NFT collection has no active listings on NFT marketplaces OpenSea and Blur. Let’s see if Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis would jointly film another Instagram apology video this time.