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Lionel Messi’s possible PSG move shows interesting use case for crypto in sports

PSG’s fan token was launched last year, and trades on the Chiliz crypto exchange. The token’s price jumped to $44, shortly after Messi confirmed that PSG was in the running to become his next club, from around $29. (Photo: Reuters)Premium
PSG’s fan token was launched last year, and trades on the Chiliz crypto exchange. The token’s price jumped to $44, shortly after Messi confirmed that PSG was in the running to become his next club, from around $29. (Photo: Reuters)

  • A fan token is a cryptocurrency launched by a sports team, which can be used to buy its merchandise, participate in important club decisions and more. PSG’s fan token was launched last year, and trades on the Chiliz crypto exchange

NEW DELHI: Footballer Lionel Messi’s move from Spanish club Barcelona has opened an interesting avenue for cryptocurrencies in sports. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is expected to arrive at French club Paris Saint Germain, and though no deals have been signed yet, prices of the club’s fan token have more than doubled over the past week.

A fan token is a cryptocurrency launched by a sports team, which can be used to buy its merchandise, participate in important club decisions and more. PSG’s fan token was launched last year, and trades on the Chiliz crypto exchange. The token’s price jumped to $44, shortly after Messi confirmed that PSG was in the running to become his next club, from around $29. It traded at over $50 at the time of writing this story compared with $23.57 on August 2, according to crypto data aggregator Coingecko.

“Paris Saint-Germain is a possibility, yes. At the moment nothing is confirmed, I received a lot of calls after the Barcelona statement. We’re talking about it," Messi said during an emotional farewell address at Barcelona, where he has spent 21 years.

The spike in the price of PSG’s fan token could be seen as validation for the crypto industry’s foray into sports. Some of the world’s richest clubs, including English clubs Manchester United and Arsenal and Italian AC Milan. Even national football teams had launched their own fan tokens ahead of the Euro 2020 footballing event in May.

“Fascinating. The @PSG_inside token up 40% following the rumour of Lionel Messi joining the club. Fan Tokens represent Fan Sentiment. Clearly more fans and users of @socios are interested," remarked Alexandre Dreyfus, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Chiliz exchange on Twitter, on August 7.

The behaviour of PSG’s fan token shows that cryptocurrencies could be used to gauge fan sentiment for particular decisions that clubs make. While the arrival of one of the world’s best football players is obviously something any fan wants, clubs could use fan tokens to gauge reactions in advance for decisions that may affect their fans.

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