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The world’s biggest football clubs have earned big money on fan tokens, according to the BBC.
“Analysis commissioned by BBC News estimates more than £260 million ($350 million) has been spent on the virtual currencies,” the BBC said.
According to the BBC’s findings, 24 clubs across several European leagues have launched or are considering launching fan tokens. Eight of those clubs play in the Premier League in England—considered by many to be the most prestigious soccer league in the world.
Breaking down fan tokens
Most of the clubs analyzed are now in the business of offering fan tokens—which are essentially club-specific cryptocurrencies.
Others, however, are also selling , like Manchester City.
Socios—a company that provides a platform for the initial sale and trading of these bespoke cryptocurrencies—has been at the center of the newfound trend.
Socios reportedly told the BBC that it had sold between $270 million and $300 million worth of coins to date—without saying how much money directly goes to the clubs themselves.
The BBC also reportedly found that Lazio, Manchester City, Porto, and Santos have appeared to generate the most sales. Yet, Manchester City and Lazio affiliated tokens have also dropped the most in value since they launched.
What do the fans say?
Many football fans have raised concerns about these fan tokens.
“My knowledge of the crypto market is sketchy to say the least, and I’m probably representative of a large number of run-of-the-mill football supporters who are not traders on the crypto market,” Sue Watson, a West Ham fan told the BBC.
“Some people are going to be making a lot of money out of it—but it almost certainly isn’t going to be the average football fan on the street,” said football writer Martin Calladine.
Regardless of how some football fans feel, the surge of fan tokens is part and parcel of a wider trend between crypto and sports.
Across the pond, NFTs and the broader crypto market have found a home in sports, fueled by their high profile embrace by some of the United States’ biggest stars, including Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Steph Curry.