You know when your da screams “kick the ball!” through the TV set but alas, the players can’t hear him for they are 1,000 miles away? Well, now they sort of will.
Blockchain platform Socios has snagged an actually real partnership with storied London football club West Ham, which will soon be minting Ethereum-based “fan tokens” that supporters can use to vote on club decisions: kit designs, tour bus design, the choice of captain during a friendly match.
Obviously, West Ham isn’t going to defer every significant judgement to its fans, but clubs are required to afford supporters a minimum number of “binding“ votes that actually have consequences. “The smaller the club, the more creativity they can have,” said Socios CEO Alexandre Dreyfus.
The startup, which raised $60 million from Binance and OK Blockchain Capital in 2018 and is backed by sport-based VC firm chilliZ, had previously partnered with major European teams Juventus and Paris Saint Germaine. The idea of the “fan token” is to tap into the large fan diasporas that big name clubs might struggle to access.
“[West Ham] loved it because they saw an opportunity to get closer to their fans,” Dreyfus told Decrypt .
The tokens—which are either bought or earned—can also be traded for club merchandise. More ambitiously, Dreyfus plans on implementing a feature that will alert token-holding supporters to any nearby televised games. Indeed, he explained, supporters “are going to be rewarded for watching it on the TV [together].” Finally, a financial incentive to spend time with my father.
Dreyfus stressed that the tokens aren’t speculative, and that their utility is in holding them. “You buy one, you buy ten, you buy 1000, as long as you hold them you can vote, you don’t have to redeem it, you don’t have to spend it to vote and have your voice heard,” he said.
The fan tokens are deployed on an Ethereum side-chain, which is powered by the ERC20 token chilliZ. Each issuing club acts as a “node” in the side chain, and can issue tokens.
The Socios partnership, which actually has a purpose, is a far cry from the other football/crypto “news” we’ve recently been subjected to—last week, for instance, we reported on Tron CEO Justin Sun’s vain attempt to contrive a forthcoming “official partnership” with Liverpool Football Club. And Bitcoin SV-billionaire backer Calvin Ayre continues his pathetic sponsorship of Ayr United, a Scottish club nobody’s heard of.