With Leicester City on our minds, spotlight is shining on football in a way it hasn’t in recent years. We have been told of a kind but determined benefactor, wanting to see his team right. And while the success of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha will be celebrated this weekend with a minutes silence, it does sound the bell for others to pick up the baton in the world of sport, especially in developing countries.
One such company that has heard the call is Bitcademy, who take the prohibitive factors faced by talented young footballers across the globe, but mainly in Africa, and use artificial intelligence combined with blockchain to give them a better chance of achieving their sporting dream.
At the moment, football tends to be driven by major sponsors and the wealth channelled into rising sports stars is still geared towards Europe, despite America’s best efforts. Bitcademy uses artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to open a marketplace where players can be graded for their skills, talent and potential whilst giving them access to educational opportunities. The project’s founder hopes that blockchain technology used for Bitcademy will be transferable to other social impact projects beyond football, by increasing donor engagement and transparency.
Disrupting the talent acquisition process
The first locations for the academies have already been chosen; Zambia, Indonesia and Poland. Interest in the platform is already high, even though it is yet to launch, with the company having gained over 50,000 subscribers to its newsletter as well as large numbers of followers across social media.
It looks like the project has the potential to upset the current talent acquisition ecosystem and put players and their skills back at the center of the process. The company itself is based in Poland and is due to launch the platform before the end of 2018. They plan to make the artificial intelligence work alongside the physical academies to track the development of players and allow investors or fans to select which players to fund and mentor.
Co-founder Tomasz Krzystek says:The market place prototype marks a crucial step in the development of the project. With the deployment of the technology we hope to show to the world how we will play our part in cleaning up the sport, bringing opportunities to young underprivileged players and level the playing field between the fans and the clubs.”
Krzystek himself has over 12 years of experience in managing projects around the globe and is looking to apply blockchain technology to social impact projects such as this.
Cutting through corruption
The company’s founders believe that sport’s fans are frustrated with the level of corruption that takes place during the training and recruitment process and they hope this new way of working will increase transparency.
Krzystek says:The growth we have seen shows that there is a real interest in the wider community about the issues we want to try and overcome. Fans are fed up to the back teeth with the corruption in the sport they so love. We hope that we can start to bring more transparency to Football and start to create a better environment for all.”
There is room for the project to pave the way for wider usage of blockchain technology in social impact projects beyond football especially if we look at this project as not just a worthwhile stand alone initiative, but as a way to test and demonstrate the benefits of using blockchain in a charitable sector.
Krzystek has said that he ‘sees blockchain playing a big role in the disruption of social impact projects’.We are focussing on football academies, bringing opportunities to people in the most disadvantaged places on the planet, but that is not the only thing which blockchain will be able to achieve. We see the huge potential for blockchain to radically alter the aid industry and the NGO sector. Transparency and new economic models are going to have a transformative effect to the benefit of millions. It is crazy to think that this has not been implemented yet and we want to be one of the first.”
Lack of transparency within the non-profit sector has caused issues with mainstream causes. The ability to bring donors and recipients closer via the blockchain would allow people to see where their donation was going far more directly, which in turn could encourage further engagement on both sides. The concept will be tested with Bitcademy’s sponsors being able to track players’ progress via data stored on the blockchain.