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ECONOMY | 29-09-2021 13:14

Boca Juniors in talks to issue cryptocurrency tokens

Boca in talks with several crypto companies as it considers issuing tokens for its fans to open a new potential financing avenue.

One of Argentina’s most popular football clubs, Boca Juniors, is looking into getting on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. 

Boca, the club where Diego Maradona made his name as one of the best players in history, is in talks with several crypto companies as it considers issuing tokens for its fans to open a new potential financing avenue. Top officials held meetings with four global crypto companies, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named because the talks are private. 

Club officials have received several proposals, including from top sports token creator Socios.com, which sells tokens for over 50 different teams, from FC Barcelona to the Chicago Bulls basketball team. Socios.com proposed issuing a fan token that would allow the club to raise at least US$10 million over the course of the deal, the people said. The club is analysing whether to issue the tokens through its foundation, rather than the club itself. 

Two other companies have proposed issuing tokens, which could be used to involve holders in club decisions and access discounts on official merchandise or stadium tickets. One of them has even proposed becoming a sponsor and having its brand on the team’s official shirt. The club’s current sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways is worth US$6.5 million per year, according to local reports.

Another firm, blockchain and metaverse-focused gaming company Decentral Games, offered to create a virtual reality stadium for Boca Juniors, similar to a virtual discotheque made by Amnesia Ibiza in Spain, according to its investor relations head Gabriel Mellace. The company will hold a meeting Thursday with vice-president and former star midfielder Juan Román Riquelme to discuss this proposal. 

A spokesman for the Buenos Aires-based side confirmed the club is weighing options related to tokens but declined to give details. A spokesman for Socios.com declined to confirm or deny the talks, but added that Argentina is a “strategic market.” 

Boca Juniors is going through one of its toughest financial moments, as a weak Argentine peso has led top players to leave the team to seek dollar contracts elsewhere. It was also hard-hit by pandemic measures, including canceled games and games without fans that severely curtailed income. The team isn’t playing any international tournaments in 2021.

Based on prior operations by Socios.com, a fan token offering by Boca Juniors could fetch US$2 per token in an initial sale of 10 percent of the total tokens, one of the people said. The revenue would be shared equally between Boca and the token provider. 

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by Ignacio Olivera Doll, Bloomberg

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