Will cryptocurrency connect the global game in the future?

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OneFootball

Lewis Ambrose

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ADVERTISING: Across the global game of football there are three main, and very major, currencies – the US Dollar, the Euro and the UK Pound.

The rest of football, on all five continents, adapts to one of these significant ways of payment, no matter where the club, player, association or supporter sits.


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But what if there was just one currency, one way for all these assets to interconnect with each other? How much more simple could life be and, more crucially – how likely it is?

There are already precedents that have been set with regards to the digital space, with almost instant transactions times and no inconvenience of currency conversions, cryptocurrency – and it could be the future.

Arsenal, along with Watford and Southampton, are partnered by Sportsbet.io – and the Gunner’s commercial director, Peter Silverstone, was very specific when choosing his words on their association, placing the club at the forefront of the crypto revolution.

Mr Silverstone cited a “shared spirit of innovation” as well as the “ground-breaking work” their official betting partner was undertaking in “the fintech space”.

Crypto trading platform ‘StormGain’ and cryptocurrency ‘Bitcoin’ are another set of names within the English game you might have heard of, deals with Newcastle United and Watford, respectively, were seen as groundbreaking when announced two seasons ago.


On mainland Europe the thirst for crypto is just as fierce – ChiliZ boasts the badges of Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico de Madrid as part of its association with the Socios platform.

This partnership – along with those at Arsenal, Watford and Southampton – allow supporters to interact with their clubs in ways not seen before, with dedicated fan tokens.

Clubs are finding new ways to connect with their fans, and the global nature it brings allows those on the far side of the world to interconnect in the same way as someone who lives next to the stadium.

The possibilities are endless – one big advantage is visitors from overseas would not need to go through the process of exchanging cash, their fan tokens bought in Sydney can be used to buy merchandise or food and drink in a Premier League stadium, how much simpler would that make life?


But it isn’t just clubs or fans who are sitting up to take notice of cryptocurrency. Associations like FIFA and UEFA have also seen the advantages.

The delayed Euro 2020 championship this summer will see an estimated one million mobile tickets distributed to fans across all 51 matches by a new UEFA backed blockchain-based ticketing app.

It’s a gigantic step from Europe’s governing body, and one that they have done for good reason. With ticket applications from supporters in over 200 countries, UEFA say the ‘mobile ticket solution will greatly assist ticket distribution across the world’ while also ‘ensuring the sustainability’ of their flagship national tournament.

The football industry is quickly waking up to the potential that cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies have to drive not only fan engagement but to allow access to a hungry global market in ways that were unimaginable even ten years ago.


With fans now interacting with clubs in a more refined, simpler way, what about the other crucial aspects – the clubs themselves and their players?

Back in April, Southampton announced an extension of their agreement with the Sportsbet.io brand, their main shirt sponsor.

The Saints described the deal as “the biggest sponsorship agreement in the club’s history”, and crucially it included an option for certain performance-based bonuses to be paid via Bitcoin.

As clubs try to explore different avenues for growth, this placed Southampton in an extraordinarily strong future facing position.


Finally, it isn’t just clubs, sponsors, associations and fans who are keeping their eyes on crypto – players themselves are taking a keen interest in the likes of Bitcoin.

Toronto FC star Ifunanyachi Achara has converted part of his Major League Soccer salary into cryptocurrency, and he uses the advantage of Bitcoin to help his family back in Nigeria.

The African country’s annual inflation hit a four-year high in March, over 18 percent, and the 23-year-old wanted to be able to provide for his family without them suffering major losses.

“I wanted to send money to my parents to move away from a state I felt was violent,”Achara said in an interview earlier this month.

“I couldn’t send them money to the bank. It was just through Bitcoin that I was able to send my family money more easily and efficiently and as fast as possible.” he added.

The ability to convert half his salary to crypto has allowed Achara to help those most close to him.

Meanwhile over in Turkey, Galatasaray winger Ryan Babel has been tweeting about his love of Bitcoin, advising his 774,000 followers to ‘Buy Bitcoin’.

As the world embraces crypto, football looks to be a spearhead in the market. From players, to fans, clubs to associations – the future could be blockchain for the global game.


ADVERTISING: this piece is part of four part series created in partnership with Sportsbet.io