One of soccer’s living legends is delving deeper into the world of crypto. Lionel Messi has signed a deal reportedly worth $20 million to promote fan token platform Socios on the world’s stage.
The deal was made in fiat rather than cryptocurrencies, a spokesperson confirmed with Decrypt.
As a brand ambassador, Messi will participate in several promotional and educational campaigns. The first campaign’s tagline is “be more,” and will be used to onboard users to the Socios platform.
"As global brand ambassador, Messi will promote our brand and our product on a global scale across a number of different campaigns and channels, starting with a TV spot that will be filmed next week for what will be Socios.com's first-ever TV campaign," the spokesperson told Decrypt.
Messi will also share Socios-related content on various social media channels with his followers.
“Socios.com exists to enhance the fan experience, to enable fans to ‘be more.’ I’m proud to join Socios.com’s mission to create a more connected and rewarding future for fans around the world,” said Messi in a prepared statement.
Socios’ fan tokens are Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies tied to popular soccer teams. Paris Saint-Germain, the French team that Messi plays for, currently has a Socios-based fan token under the ticker PSG. The PSG token is currently up roughly 1.3% over the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.
Other teams on the platform include AS Roma, Arsenal, Manchester City, Barcelona, Juventus, AC Milan, and many others.
What are Socios’ fan tokens?
Fan tokens are very similar to governance tokens in the world of decentralized finance (DeFi), with holders enjoying privileges such as exclusive benefits and voting rights.
Holders of fan tokens receive additional VIP rewards attached to the respective teams, as well as other types of promotions. These tokens also give holders the ability to vote on things like the introduction music before kick-off or even which jersey a team will wear for matches.
On April 16, for instance, holders of Arsenal’s AFC fan token will be able to vote on what the Gunners will wear during their match against Southampton. They can choose between the team’s third away jersey or its primary away jersey.
PSG has also launched three different polls for its fans this season, letting PSG token holders vote on the design of the corner flag, the cover of PSG's edition of the video game Fifa 2022, and also the PSG's Parc de Princes ring, said the Socios spokesperson.
The spokesperson added that Messi's role as Socios brand ambassador is "not linked to the PSG fan token."
Despite the promised innovation, however, regulators have not been as enthused about fan tokens as its promoters.
The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recently banned advertisements promoting Arsenal’s fan token.
The ASA said the adverts "trivialised investment in cryptoassets and took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity" and "failed to illustrate the risk of the investment," as well as not making it clear that the ‘token’ was a crypto asset.”
The advertisements in question have since been removed. All marketing materials now include the "necessary disclaimers," said the Socios spokesperson.
Editor's note: This article has been updated at 10 am est on March 30, 2022, to include comments from a Socios spokesperson.