Malta Blockchain Firm Is Behind ‘Fan Tokens’ PSG Paid to Messi
(Bloomberg) -- A blockchain company based in Malta is behind the “fan tokens” that Paris Saint-Germain handed to superstar Lionel Messi when he signed for the French soccer powerhouse.
Under the terms of his move from FC Barcelona, the Argentine player received “a large number” of the tokens, the club said in a statement. They’re issued by Chiliz, a firm headquartered on the Mediterranean island that’s also teaming up with some of Europe’s other top soccer brands from Barcelona to Manchester City and AS Roma.
Fans use Chiliz’s $CHZ currency to buy branded tokens granting the right to take part in club decisions such as choosing a goal celebration song, designs for merchandise or naming a training ground, according to the company. The PSG tokens, for instance, let fans choose a motivational message on the wall of the team dressing room before a key game.
Chiliz has so far issued tokens linked to some 30 European soccer clubs. Socios.com, the firm’s app launched in 2019, now has 1.2 million users. Chiliz’s revenue reached $200 million in the first six months of this year, up from $30 million in the whole of 2020, to share with partner clubs, a spokesperson for the company said.
Sports clubs are increasingly keen to tap into the potential of crypto assets to create new revenue streams as they also explore fresh ways to engage with supporters. Speculation about Messi’s signing for PSG had a direct impact on trading volumes for its tokens, which spiked to more than $300 million in a single day while talks with the star were ongoing, Chiliz said in a statement.
Chiliz started developing its product in 2018, when it raised $66 million through a private placement.
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