Cryptocurrency and calcium: the future or too volatile to be safe?

Hidden between the Rock and an airport runway, a football team is making history in Gibraltar. This time it is not the national team to suffer an exorbitant number of goals (124 to the last count in four and a half years) or Lincoln Red Imps who beat Celtic in the Champions League. It did not even happen on the artificial field of iconic national land, the Victoria Stadium. Instead, the Premier Division of Gibraltar United went into the limelight becoming the first football club in the world to introduce cryptocurrency.

Through their owner, Pablo Dana, an investor in the Quantocoin cryptocurrency, the club has started a sponsorship partnership. Dana says all player contracts will include cryptocurrency payment agreements by next season.

Some might see this as a random entry point for cryptocurrency in football, in a semi-professional team in a league that became Uefa certified only in 2013. Look more closely, though, and it makes perfect sense. The Gibraltar financial sector is leading the position in fintech (technological innovation in the financial sector) and blockchain (the public database that permanently records digital transactions in cryptocurrency).

In January 2018 Gibraltar introduced regulations for companies using the blockchain and the government is ready to launch the world's first legal framework for the first coin offerings (ICO), which crowdfund the launch of cryptocurrencies as bitcoins on the blockchain .

This strategy shows that Rock is a step forward, as financial services the whole world has failed when it faced the stratospheric but unregulated rise of cryptocurrency. International investment in ICO reached $ 3.7 billion last year, compared to $ 102 million in 2016, and the best-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has increased its value by over 900%.

Great falls have also seen great falls – cryptocurrencies have seen a sharp decline in the first few months of 2018 due to the reluctance of government bodies to legitimize the industry, as well as Facebook and Twitter that ban the advertising forms of cryptocurrency. In June the exchange of South Korean cryptocurrency Coinrail was violated, causing a sharp drop in prices. The difficulties arising from this instability, such as the lack of trust on the part of retailers and businesses, mean cryptocurrencies that remain exciting investments that can not fully become tangible, income available in many cases.

By regulating the industry, Gibraltar is trying to bring transparency and legitimacy to the encryption. Dana, who was born in Italy, says that such a concern for transparency has led to the introduction of cryptocurrency in Gibraltar, stating that the open access nature of the blockchain could minimize the corruption scandals that have plagued football. He gave his small club a solution to pay foreign players who can not easily create bank accounts in Gibraltar.

Dana says Gibraltar offers the perfect environment: "They were the first [place that] regulated betting companies 20 years ago, when everyone saw them horrible, they put compliance and anti-money laundering regulations and create a platform: 39. Intelligence to do the same with cryptocurrencies. "

The comparison is interesting. Love it or hate it, gambling has become a feature of football coverage, earning millions of pounds in advertising revenue – in the most recent season nine Premier League teams have sponsored betting companies as their principal

In January Arsenal showed the potential blockchain, becoming the first major football club to sign a sponsorship agreement with a cryptocurrency, CashBet.

Besides the advantages such as compliance and the end of cash payments, blockchain transfers are practically exempt from taxes or fees and are immediate. The London Football Exchange (LFE) states that these lower costs offer opportunities to engage fans in new ways. Their leader of the partnership, Danny Stroud, says that LFE wants to create a token-based football community, to "allow clubs to have a direct connection with fans in a frictionless market".

LFE has agreements with the Italian club Bari and Alcobendas based in Madrid to introduce the cryptocurrency of the exchange into their club facilities. These agreements provide for lowering the prices of tickets and merchandising and offering fans the opportunity to buy shares in clubs, all using cryptocurrency, thus weaving cryptotrado into fan experiences.

The rise of Cryptocurrency is not unlike the "get rich quick" culture seen in football. It is realizing ordinary night millionaires, lucky investors. The past and present players are taking the big step: Lionel Messi, Michael Owen, Roberto Carlos and Luís Figo boast partnerships with companies linked to the blockchain

The rest of the football world is clearly taking note, with the smaller clubs at the top . In January the Turkish amateur side Harunustaspor, who competed in Group B of the Sakrya First Division, became the first club to sign a player using cryptocurrency, paying around £ 385 of bitcoins, plus 4,500 lire (£ 470), for Omer Faruk Kiroglu . Although still small-scale, the move confirms the potential of the blockchain.

The exponential increase in calcium over the last two decades could no doubt be compared to the shorter but more acute cryptocurrency. However, sport has the luxury of stability in its huge success, based on the constant demand of billions of fans all over the world. Blockchain volatility could mean that larger clubs refuse to bet or fear partnerships may cloud their reputation. In March the then owner of Milan failed in trying to use bitcoin to pay a portion of 10 million euros of the loan he had taken to buy the club, showing the limits of cryptocurrency when it comes to big business in football.

On the other hand, blockchain cryptotrading could make the transition that betting companies have made and become an integral feature of football. Gibraltar United has shown that, in the right context and with the right direction, football could start to cover its bets.

(The Guardian)

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