Italian Serie C football club Rimini FC 1912 has become the first team in history to be purchased in cryptocurrency. Quantocoin, which uses blockchain-technology to provide an alternative crypto-payment method for investors, now owns 25% of the side. The Gibraltar-based firm made the purchase in its cryptocurrency of the same name.
According to Pablo Dana, a partner at Quantocoin, the purchase will be the first of many that his firm wants to make in the industry. He believes cryptocurrency offers a unique opportunity to fight corruption in a sport which has been rocked by a number of high-profile scandals involving cash, such as the accusation that Qatar bought votes as they won the right to host the World Cup in 2022.
The blockchain-run Quantocoin payment system logs every instance when a payment is made through a system of autonomous, incorruptible and constantly updating nodes. Therefore, money paid between football officials, players and agents can continually be monitored to ensure that backhanders or bribes are not paid.
“We are working exactly on the ideas that UEFA want to put into place,” explains Dana. “This is transparency in football and we are looking to reduce corruption through our Quantocoin platform.”
The world of football – in particular in Europe – has certainly been increasingly adoptive of crypto-currencies. While UEFA has not given an official statement on cryptocurrencies, the use of mobile currencies like Quantocoin fits in with the organization’s new 2017 anti-match-fixing initiatives to combat corruption, fraud and money laundering. For example, UEFA has revealed that next season European clubs will have to release information on how much their teams are spending on players wages and fees to agents. The nature of blockchain technology can ensure that this is done accurately. The organization also appeared to show its support of the technology when it successfully trialled tickets for the UEFA Super Cup final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid via a mobile phone-based blockchain application.
Last week, seven Premier League teams – Brighton & Hove Albion, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Newcastle United, Southampton and Tottenham – partnered with UK-based trading platform eToro. “These partnerships mark the first step in bringing the opportunity offered by bitcoin and crypto assets to football,” a spokesperson from eToro said. As part of the deal, each club will trial eToro’s digital wallets that could be used in the future to purchase players in Bitcoin as opposed to traditional fiat currency.
Certainly, the idea could work in practice. Earlier this year, Turkish side Harunustaspor made history when it paid for 22-year old Omar Faruk Kiroglu in Bitcoin; the first time a cryptocurrency had been used to buy a player. The club’s chairman Haldun Sehit told CNN Turk that the club bought Kiroglu in Bitcoin to ‘do something new’. As part of the deal, Kiroglu also received 0.0524 in Bitcoin – roughly $496.
Pablo Dana and the President of Rimini FC 1912, Giorgio Grassi, share the excitement of Sehit when looking at the possibilities that cryptocurrency could bring to the world of football. “I think it’s the beginning of something incredible if someone agrees to sell a club worth millions of Euros in cryptocurrency,” Dana said. “These are innovators with a very long-term view. I think sports companies will start to use cryptocurrencies far more frequently and we have made history by being the first one.”