Football Fan Tokens and the Future of Cryptocurrencies in the Sports Industry

Prestigious European football club FC Barcelona is the latest to develop a cryptocurrency fan token in partnership with the blockchain company Chilliz. The token, Barca Fan Tokens (BAR), will be available to worldwide Barcelona football club fans who can use them to support the club by taking part in polls, surveys, make purchases, and get rewards, on Chilliz sports and entertainment platform, Socios.com.

Barcelona is one among many prominent football clubs looking to engage their fans worldwide in club decisions by introducing a fan cryptocurrency token. Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus have also partnered with Chilliz to develop fan tokens.

Football clubs started as early as 2018 to collaborate with blockchain companies in different capacities, including coin promotion campaigns and payment transfers. For example, Arsenal became the earliest cryptocurrency adopters and promoters when they entered into a partnership with Cashbet to promote their ICO, exchanging their tokens for BTC and ETH.

Tokenization is the football and sports industry at large has become a rising trend that has attracted many clubs to invest in different types of fan tokens, all of which serve different purposes. 

This guide will discuss different types of fan tokens and their uses, why many clubs embrace this technology, and the latest developments in tokenization in the football industry.

Types of Fan Tokens

Crypto tokens serve different purposes, and they can be used as securities or for utility payments. Fan tokens that are security tokens are similar to stocks, and they can be used to earn and prove ownership of an asset. In contrast, utility tokens are mediums of delivery for goods and services.

The sports and entertainment industry shows a higher preference for utility tokens, which can further be divided into fungible and non-fungible tokens.

  • Fungible tokens are in-house tokens that can equivalently be converted into other currencies or tokens. Inside a blockchain ecosystem, fungible tokens can be used to vote, earn rewards, and bonuses and purchase goods or services like tickets or club merchandise.
  • Non-fungible tokens are unique from one another and are often collectible points or cards. They cannot be interchanged into other currencies or tokens but can be used to buy, swap, or sell goods and services.

For Instance, Chilliz has its own in-house token CHZ, an ERC-20 tradable token, besides developing tokens for football clubs. CHZ is fungible and can be traded on crypto exchanges, including Binance.

Chilliz is currently the biggest tokens developer in the blockchain ecosystem fan with more than eight fan token projects, out of which six are already complete.

Clubs with Fan Tokens

Football clubs are adopting fan tokens for various reasons, and among these is access to their expansive fan base in a single interactive ecosystem. Football fans are opinionated and highly dedicated and spend fortunes on merchandise purchases. Their participation would allow them to take part in decision making and therefore influence a club’s operation.

1. $ATM- Atletico De Madrid Fan Token

This is a Chilliz blockchain-powered fan token that Spanish football club, Atletico De Madrid, launched on January 30, 2020, that allowed token holders to vote for one player to take over the club’s Instagram page as the first polling exercise.

The ATM fan token sells for approximately €2 and can only be purchased at the club’s Fan Token Offering (FTO). The tokens cannot be spent, but they give owners special privileges, including voting rights, earning rewards, and unique club access to merchandise and experiences.

2. $GAL- Galatasaray Fan Token

GAL is also powered by Chilliz and available on Socios.com for the Turkish football club Galatasaray as the third launch of 2020 on February 4. The first poll was to choose an Official Entrance Anthem at the Turkish Telekom Stadium.

The GAL fan token goes for ₺10, and like the first two, it cannot be spent but offers fans exclusive rewards, voting rights, and access to unique club experiences and limited merchandise. 

3. $ASR- A.S. Roma Fan token

A.S. Roma unveiled their token on Socios.com on February 11, 2020, with a Fan Token Offering (FMO), which allowed fans to purchase ASR and connect with the club and other fans.

The ASR token sells for €2, has a maximum supply of 10 million, allows holders to vote, earn rewards, and purchases limited merchandise and VIP tickets to live games. The tokens cannot be spent either, but the more a fan accumulates, the more voting power they can gain and access to limited merch and unique experiences.

The other three fan tokens to be launched by Chilliz are $PSG for Paris Saint-Germain, $JUV for Juventus, and WHU for West Ham United, and the latest BCR for Barcelona.

Chilliz has made its mark in fan tokens’ issuance, but there are more clubs with fan tokens developed in partnership with other different blockchain companies.

4. Bayern Munich Collectibles

FC Bayern Munich partnered with Strykying to bring unique experiences to the fans by introducing limited-edition player cards as digital collectibles. Fans can use the cards to build their ultimate fantasy leagues based on the club’s data and players.

5. Manchester City’s Collectibles

Manchester City partnered with South Korean football gaming startup Superbloke to incorporate the club’s players into the blockchain-powered soccer game, FC Superstars. This enabled the fans to support players through online gaming and gain their collectibles as digital assets.

As a dApp, FC Superstars allows Man City’s fans to build and train their digital teams using their collected digital player cards based on real and game statistics and training.

  1. In the US, the Miami Dolphins announced Litecoin crypto as their official cryptocurrency in partnership with Aliant Payments crypto payment services.

What’s New in Tokenization? The Future of Decentralized Assets in Football

Clubs, as well as individual players, are looking to tokenize. Famous players like Michael Owen have launched their cryptocurrencies, while Messi has previously endorsed a blockchain smartphone.

There are, however, two most striking developments. One involves tokenizing players for funding and exposure, and the other uses body activity to mine cryptos.

1. Tokenizing Individual players

As per the premier league, third-party ownership of players has been illegal since 2008. However, the advent of blockchain technology has introduced advantages that would reinvent the tokenization of players and introduce straightforwardness between clubs, agents, players, and authorities.

In Brazil, the home of the most and biggest football superstars, Figer Group is expanding decentralization in soccer by planning to tokenize players worldwide. The initiative, launched in March 2020, plans to locate, support, and provide funding and exposure to players in need.

Figer will use Olecoin digital currency to enable micro investors to purchase player tokens, participate in future dividends, market contracts, and salaries. This, according to Figer, will create opportunities for young players, most of whom abandon their dreams to biases in soccer recruitment and lack of funds to promote themselves.

2. Using Body Heat as a mining Protocol

A new Microsoft Patent for cryptocurrency mining technology appeared in March 2020. The new technology proposes using body activity, either mental or physical, as a mining protocol to reduce reliance on computer power and smart contracts.

The technology would require users to attach sensors on their bodies that would transmit to linked gadgets and the processing blockchain network. To participate, the new technology plans to incentivize participants with rewards. While it can be applied to many industries, the primary target group seems to advertisement consumers and athletes.

Final Thoughts

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Football clubs have explored cryptocurrencies’ potential to make payments and reach their extensive fan base. This, combined with the recent developments in crypto projects in the football industry, indicates that tokenization will only get more and more advanced in the future.

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