Football has been gradually adopting blockchain technology, usable in various sectors. The main focus has been on ushering supporters closer to their clubs and the trend is accelerating.
The Spanish Third Division side joined forces with their new sponsors, Criptan, to revamp the transfer market with nothing but cryptocurrency. A few weeks ago, former Real Madrid B striker, David Barral, made transfer history after becoming the first professional player to be signed exclusively by Bitcoin.
However, no transfer fee has been mentioned, and the deal has not been acknowledged by authorities, leaving a few doubts about the validity of Bitcoin deals.
Gary Wright, C.E.O. and founder of Finance Think Tank B.I.S.S. Research and an expert in financial innovation explained that if you do a player transfer in a traditional currency, then that money must go through a central clearing agency, such as the F.A.
Seeing money means there is some transparency in that they see the agents’ fees. Although they can’t stop it, they can see what’s going on. With Bitcoin, they wouldn’t see that.
In 1995 Jean-Marc Bosman changed the football transfer market landscape entirely when he went to court and stood up for players’ rights the world over. The Olympic Charleroi midfielder forced a landmark judgment, which meant footballers could freely move from club to club after their contract. The ruling named after him and the Bosman transfer was born
Crypto and Blockchain Gaining Popularity
Technically, the first recorded bitcoin (BTC)-powered transfer in football history was the 2018 transfer of Ömer Faruk Kıroğlu, a Turkish footballer, whose move to the amateur club Harunustaspor cost its president a mere USD 521 worth of bitcoin. The president admitted the movement had been a publicity stunt but had successfully managed to get Harunustaspor mentioned in the international media just like a professional club.
In Sep 2018, blockchain platform Socios.com unveiled partnerships with Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. Fans of both clubs can buy a digital currency called chiliZ and exchange it for Fan Tokens, which can be utilized when voting for club matters like the team kit.
Hull City Supporters’ Trust also launched a £45m bid with the blockchain-based crowdfunding company SportyCo to buy the club from owner Assem Allam. The consortium wanted to raise extra funds by launching their cryptocurrency – Hull City Coin – that fans would use to purchase match tickets and merchandise.
In the third quarter of 2020, half of Okung’s paycheck was converted to BTC by Zap, a crypto startup firm. Its Strike mobile app is a cryptocurrency payment platform, and Okung is the first sportsperson to use the service to have some of his earnings converted to BTC.
Last year Wright warned that before clubs begin paying transfer fees in bitcoin, the football authorities such as the F.A. and the Premier League must understand it in depth. He added that bitcoin and Blockchain operate like the wild west, and the good is mixed up with the not so good.