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Blockchain & Football

How the blockchain can be used to tracking also in the world of football

Author: Ferri Giacomo

In recent years, it has become quite clear that blockchain can provide a great improvement in several industries. The main usage of this technology is represented by cryptocurrencies’ world. However, considering that we are dealing with a public decentralized register which is suitable for tracking almost every kind of good or service without a central control body, applications could be hypothetically infinite. For this reason, blockchain can guarantee authenticity in a more reliable way than any other mean. This versatility makes it desirable for mass adoption in many sectors. And what is one of the most unexpected environments in which this new technology can be applied?

The world of football is continuously evolving towards new horizons. Footballs “big names” have great fame and popularity all over the world. Merchandising is a great business for every club and guaranteeing the authenticity of the club’s items is becoming an important issue, in particular match-worn jersey authenticity. Fans, supporters and collectors should be protected from frauds. Blockchain technology is an efficient way to certified collectables. One of the first clubs adopting this new way to guarantee its products was ACF Fiorentina. Creating a digital copy of the physical item and tracing its “life keys” moments, this technology allows the club to fight counterfeiting. Also, other clubs are trialling blockchain collectables such as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal. This end-to-end supply chain is an efficient solution for every product which needs traceability.

Another considerable application of this technology in the football’s industry is represented by cryptocurrencies. Everybody knows that football market implies transactions of a big amount of money. For this reason, crypto is a safe way to purchase players or whole teams. Several clubs are considering the creation of a crypto portfolio. The first team to purchase a player using Bitcoins was Turkish club Harunustaspor at the beginning of 2018. This initiative was followed by other clubs of Premier League such as Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Newcastle United, Southampton, Cardiff City, Brighton and Crystal Place. British football ecosystem seems to be the most blockchain-friendly. However, it is important to mention another particular case happened in Italy when an entrepreneur thought to buy Rimini FC 1912 in crypto. The transaction was not carried out successfully due to the scarce reliability of that unknown cryptocurrency, called “Quantocoin”.

A further interesting application of blockchain that has emerged lately seems to be the sale of blockchain-based tickets for the football game. This innovation is sustained by the initiative “Change the Game Challenge”, where different companies were challenged by JC Arena, KNVB, FC Ajax and ID&T to design a solution to improve the match experience for fans. Euro Cup qualifier between Netherlands and Estonia on 20 November 2019 was the first football event without a PDF copy of the tickets. Indeed, tickets were provided to fans via a mobile app. Moreover, this implementation can contribute to reducing tickets’ black markets. To eliminate every kind of frauds, in the future, we will see a larger development of this technology also for validating the identity of the fans entering the stadium. Meanwhile, the European Regional Development Fund is ready to sustain innovations and support every kind of improvements in the world of football.

It seems clear that the world of blockchain is destined to intertwine with the football industry. The high level of reliability is going to spread this technology in every field. Football clubs can improve the usage of it and maybe increase the popularity of it. As written in “The Age of Blockchain: A Collection of Articles”: “The blockchain is all about bringing in transparency and efficiency into the existing systems which are running the upstream and downstream supply chains and making them more proactive and predictive.”

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