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Socios will also sponsor Serie A

Cryptocurrencies are fast monopolising the world of football

Socios will also sponsor Serie A Cryptocurrencies are fast monopolising the world of football

More and more teams in Italy are using tokens and cryptocurrencies this season to stimulate fan loyalty and direct participation, but above all to gain economic benefits from them. Following the thread started this summer when Socios signed a sponsorship contract with Serie A, the blockchain-based platform continues its journey in the world of football. In Italy, it has managed to establish a veritable monopoly, sponsoring almost half of the Serie A teams, from Juventus to Inter to Milan, via Roma and Napoli. A deal for Serie A that echoes the one signed with, a sponsor that appears in the interminable Var checks when the game is stopped. But cryptocurrencies are not only conquering the top Italian league, they are now global in scope and could soon revolutionise the world of football. Rimini was the first club to be bought with cryptocurrency, and there are already those who have proposed buying players with the same virtual currency. At a time when the pandemic has taken and continues to take a large chunk of league and club revenues, these sponsors become pure oxygen for club coffers.

In the same way that cryptocurrencies have permanently disrupted the financial market and to some extent our present, they have invaded and radically changed the aesthetics of football, occupying the space once held by betting agencies. Present on the shirts of many clubs until a few years ago, governments have since decided to put an end to this type of sponsorship in order not to encourage gambling. Exploiting the void left, these platforms quickly grabbed a place on the shirts of Europe's biggest clubs, flooding the clubs' coffers and creating fan tokens. These are digital objects through which holders can vote in exclusive polls or receive discounts when buying tickets or merchandise, but they will never have decision-making power within a club as they do when buying classic shares. According to an analysis by the BBC, almost $350 million has been spent on fan tokens to date, reckless numbers that every club is hungry for. But the main problem is not the revenue generated for the clubs, but the possible earnings of the fans, which are likely to be zero. The value of each fan token is linked to the value of the league and the league performance of the team. The other issue to be highly considered is that the only way to get back what you spent on the token is to sell it, and in a volatile market with no certainty, this is difficult territory for any non-expert fan. 

The benefits for the clubs are therefore obvious, just think that the fan tokens of Inter, Milan and Trabzonspor have performed better each year than Bitcoin, thus producing profits for those who invested in them. But despite the revenue for the clubs, these tokens still represent a major financial risk. Proof of this are the Lazio and Manchester United tokens, which lost between 50 and 70% of their value on the day of their release alone. A problem that is being talked about a lot in the Premier League where The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has blocked Arsenal's tokens for misleading advertising, describing them as "a red alert priority issue". Arsenal let the ASA know that their tokens were designed, like all others, to increase fan participation, and were "materially different" from other cryptocurrencies used as a means of payment. 

This is a problem that the leagues and subsequently the government will soon have to deal with as they did with betting agencies, since fan tokens are not regulated in European anti-money laundering security protocols, especially for the many fans who decide to invest large sums despite not having much experience, ending up in serious financial trouble.