A football team in Gibraltar has become the first in the world to offer its players payment in cryptocurrency, according to a report in the Guardian.
The team is called Gibraltar United. It was formed in 1943. Between 2011 and 2014 it united with another club, Lions Football Club, and re-branded to Lions Gibraltar FC, but the teams split in 2014, and Gibraltar United was reborn. It plays in the Gibraltar Premier Division, which was certified by UEFA in 2013.
The owner of Gibraltar United as of April 2017 is Pablo Dana, a Dubai-based Italian national. He is an investor in a company called Quantocoin, which aims to launch a blockchain-based mobile banking application later this year.
A first for the world
The link between Quantocoin and the Gibraltar United began in January when one of the club’s shareholders, Heritage Sports Holdings, signed a partnership deal with the firm. Under the terms of the deal, players, fans, and Heritage employees can use Quantocoin’s services, and Heritage Sports Holdings can use cryptocurrency to purchase players.
Dana told the Guardian that cryptocurrency could help reduce the corruption that is widespread in the world of football because of its public nature.
The Gibraltarian government has turned the territory into a world cryptocurrency centre by way of its progressive laws. Dana commented on this: “[Gibraltar] was the first [place that] regulated betting companies 20 years back, when everyone was seeing them as horrible. They put compliance and anti-money laundering regulations and created a platform – they have the intelligence to do the same with cryptocurrencies.”
Cryptocurrency and football
On the 24th of January 2018, English football club Arsenal signed with CashBet Coin, which as its name implies is focused on online gaming and gambling.
On the 30th of January 2018, an amateur Turkish side called Harunustaspor became the world’s first to buy a player with cryptocurrency. 22-year old Omer Faruk Kiroglu cost only 1226 pounds, of which 385 was paid in Bitcoin (0.0524 BTC at the time), but as the player himself put it to CNN Turk: “This is a first for me and for the world.’
In early July 2018, English club Wolverhampton Wanderers signed a sponsorship agreement with a cryptocurrency exchange called CoinDeal, and now display the company’s logo on the players’ sleeves. And only a few days ago German club Eintracht Frankfurt signed a sponsorship agreement with cryptocurrency brokerage eToro.