Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa’s latest “social experiment”, giving away money to Twitter followers, looks to be a repeat – or rather a retweet – of similar shenanigans from last year.
The somewhat eccentric billionaire recently made headlines for offering 1bil yen (RM38mil) to be divided among 1,000 randomly selected followers that retweeted his post about the offer.
Calling it a social experiment, he insisted the offer was legitimate and that there were plans to conduct a series of surveys of those who received the money – all to see if receiving 1mil yen (RM37,806) each made them happier.
Maezawa posted a similar tweet last year, though on a smaller scale, offering 1mil yen (RM37,806) each to 100 random people who followed his account.
That stunt made his tweet the most popular tweet ever, at that time. Currently, it has 4.3mil retweets and 1.3mil likes.
However, this time, he also tried to direct people to follow his YouTube account.
“[Info] 2020 #MaezawaOtoshidama are ready. The total amount is powered up to ? billion yen and will start on New Year’s Day. Details will be announced on my YouTube, so please subscribe to it,” he tweeted, in an earlier teaser.
Otoshidama refers to a Japanese tradition of gifting money during the new year.
Japanese Times reported that the online response to this second giveaway has been largely negative, with Twitter users calling him an attention seeker and suggesting he find more deserving causes to bestow the money to.
The former CEO of online clothing retail giant Zozotown has a history of unusual and highly publicised spending.
He bought a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat for a record-breaking amount of US$110.5mil (RM453.22mil) in 2017 and also a 1717 Stradivarius Hamma violin estimated to be worth 1bil yen (RM38mil) in 2018.
In the same year, he also bought a spot on Elon Musk’s SpaceX project and is slated to be the first private customer to be sent to the moon.
However in 2019 Maezawa was reportedly facing financial troubles and stepped down as the head of Zozotown when the company’s finances took a downturn.
Fortunately for him, in November last year he sold his business to SoftBank Group Corp for US$900mil (RM3.69bil).
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