In brief

  • Man City has launched the $CITY token in partnership with Socios.
  • The club is also developing blockchain games and collectibles with Animoca.
  • Could blockchain soccer collectibles become as popular as NBA Top Shots?

Not content with resting at the top of the premier league, English soccer team Manchester City has its sights set on the even more prestigious—for Decrypt readers anyway—crypto league. 

The club has partnered with tokenization platform to launch a new $CITY token that offers fans the ability to claim VIP rewards, club promotions, AR-enabled features, and a vote in upcoming binding and non-binding club polls on Socios’s website. 

Socios has partnered with top tier clubs before. Juventus, AC Milan, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have all put out tokens through the Socios platform before, which is run by Malta-based crypto project Chiliz. 


And, if the $CITY token wasn’t enough, Man City is also partnering with digital entertainment company Animoca to create blockchain games and collectibles. These will be the first soccer-related digital assets created by Animoca. 

$CITY tokens are fungible

Man City’s designs on the digital asset world are two-pronged in scope. The $CITY token is what’s called a ‘fungible’ token. This means that the Socios tokens can be traded like any other cryptocurrency, and redeemed for goods and services throughout the cryptoverse. 

All registered Cityzens, (fans signed up to the official fan club), are eligible to claim one free $CITY token. According to an announcement on the club’s website, the $CITY token “creates a new layer of digital engagement for Manchester City’s global fanbase, bringing them even closer to the club they love.”

It’s possibly a new start for the club’s bookkeepers, who have come under close scrutiny following a two-year ban from European club competitions for “disguising equity funds as sponsorship contributions.” The ban was overturned on appeal and the club was cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last year. 


The other City goodies will be non-fungible

Through their partnership with Animoca, Manchester City is keenly jumping on the current gold rush for digital collectibles. Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) are unique digital collectibles that can prove their uniqueness in code on the Ethereum blockchain’s distributed ledger. In short, they are a form of verifiable digital scarcity that can’t be counterfeited by rewriting or replacing values on Ethereum’s indelible blockchain. 

NFTs have become much more than just a hobby horse in the art world, where a single NFT token, in the form of a piece of digital art, can sell for as much as $69.3 million

But American sports organisations already sighted the gold rush. After licensing digital developer Dapper Labs in 2019, the NBA released a line of digital trading cards that have been selling like hot cakes. NBA Top Shots have recorded $32 million in trading volume in a single day and, at their height, sold 2,673 booster packs of Series 2 Holo cards in half an hour on launch, amounting to a pretty sum of $2.6 million

American Football has been getting in on the action too. While the NFL doesn’t have a set of digital trading cards yet, individual players  have been getting in on the action. Earlier this year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski released Championship Series NFT trading cards of his Super Bowl wins on digital collectible marketplace Opensea. They’ve currently set the record for highest value sport NFTs, netting him $1.6 million at auction

There’s clearly ample room for soccer NFTs too. An NFT of Portuguese soccer legend Christiano Ronaldo broke records and became the highest selling digital soccer collectible after it sold for $290k on Sorare. 

Raheem Sterling will need a fresh pair of legs to keep up with that. 

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