The FIFA World Cup 2022 is just around the corner and with 5 billion people around the world watching, it’s the greatest stage for brands and companies looking to showcase their services and products.
This year’s World Cup is special for the crypto community because Web3 and crypto companies are at the forefront of the World Cup sponsorships.
There’s a lot of hype around the greatest sporting event getting in bed with pioneers of the decentralized movement – fan tokens have spiked, sport-themed NFTs have been auctioned, and crypto will be introduced by a familiar-face, payment giant.
And to top it all, this will likely be the last World Cup for the two most influential football players today.
In the rest of this piece, we take a look at how Web3 has been coalescing with football and why this year’s World Cup is a good omen for the end of the crypto winter and has the potential to drive worldwide crypto adoption.
Crypto.com is Sponsoring The World Cup – With Visa’s Help
In March 2022, earlier this year, crypto exchange Crypto.com was unveiled as one of the FIFA World Cup 2022 official sponsors. While this isn’t the first time the company is sponsoring sports events, this is arguably the most iconic.
The crypto platform will be showcasing its services and the crypto ecosystem to about 5 billion people all around the world. The possibilities are exciting – more people trusting and using crypto to make permissionless, borderless, and sanction-free transactions.
And Crypto.com isn’t coming in without help. The company is partnering with payment giant, Visa to create debit cards to enable seamless crypto transactions.
Visa is also getting a piece of the action. Between November 1st to 8th, Visa auctioned 5 NFTs featuring iconic World Cup goals from football legends Jared Borgetti, Tim Cahill, Carli Lloyd, Michael Owen, and Maxi Rodriguez and donated the proceeds to charity. Meanwhile, the winners of the auction got their highly-printable NFTs with a digital autograph from the player featured in the art.
And as an extension of the partnership, fans will also get the opportunity to create digital art inspired by their own football skills by playing on a motion-tracking field where their moves and goals will be turned into GIFs and minted as NFTs, and then sent to their Crypto.com wallets.
Algorand – FIFA’s Blockchain Partner
Earlier this year too, FIFA announced its partnership with blockchain technology company, Algorand.
Algorand is one of the world’s leading blockchain solution providers and is now FIFA’s official blockchain partner. The company was chosen for its reputation of enabling quick and safe transactions, with minimal carbon footprint, and was praised by FIFA as a “green blockchain company”.
For the World Cup, Algorand and FIFA have announced the launch of FIFA+ Collect, a new NFT platform that will allow fans to own historical World Cup moments captured as digital art – similar to the NFTs Visa auctioned.
Algorand will also be helping FIFA with its digital assets strategy, creating new portals for fans to be involved in sports, powered by the Blockchain – in exchange for sponsorship and advertisement rights on FIFA’s grand stage.
Socios is Helping Fans Bet on ‘The GOATs’
Socios is another Web3 company with deep roots in sports and is championing the World Cup. The company has been creating Fan Tokens – tokens designed that give fans access to access to membership benefits and voting rights on club decisions.
This World Cup is truly special because this may be the last World Cup for the greatest players of our time, the GOATs – Christiana Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – who will likely be retiring soon.
As a result, fans are looking to see the duo in action and the tokens supporting each player’s countries Argentina (ARG) and Portugal (POR) have been bullish and spiked in value by almost 50% in just two weeks.
Source: ARG price, CoinMarketCap.com
Source: POR price, CoinMarketCap.com
Chiliz, CHZ, the native token of Socios, has also been all green candles recently, thanks to their involvement with participating teams and the hype.
There’s Been an Uptrend in Adoption
We are in a bear market, so it may be hard to see. However, according to a recent study by Chainalysis, even though crypto adoption slowed this year, the figures are still higher than in 2021.
Bitcoin hit its all-time high of $68,000 just a year ago in November 2021 and contributed heavily to the increased adoption.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the consequent sanctions, many Russians turned to cryptocurrencies to bypass the bans and trade internationally, even though many exchanges are ending operations in the country.
And finally, the Middle East (the region containing Qatar, hosting the world cup) has seen the most crypto adoption in the past year. Many crypto companies have established their headquarters in the UAE (a close neighbor to Qatar) further adding fire to the Web3-World Cup relationship.
Institutions are Finally Getting Involved
Since Bitcoin was first created in 2009, many traditional, Web2 giants have been watching the decentralized movement from afar. But now as crypto is maturing, these heavyweights and institutions want a piece of the action and their involvement will likely drive crypto adoption.
Heavyweight financial institution, Fidelity is planning to launch its own crypto platform, while America’s Premiere bank, BNY Mellon now has the go-ahead to hodl crypto assets.
Asset manager BlackRock has also partnered with Circle and Coinbase, to manage the USDC reserves and launch a Bitcoin trust on the trading platform.
Tech giants, Google, GameFi, Microsoft, and Meta daughter companies, Facebook and Instagram are also dabbling with NFTs, creating node validation centers for the ETH network, and enabling blockchain-powered gaming.
2022 has been a bad year for crypto. Bitcoin and Ethereum have fallen more than 50% from their all-time highs. Many altcoins have crashed, wiping billions in portfolio assets with them. And not too long ago, FTX, the second largest crypto exchange in the world that was worth $32 billion, just filed for bankruptcy.
However, with the crypto and blockchain community’s involvement with sports, and the FIFA World Cup, in particular, proponents are bullish on the market and say the Crypto winter will be over soon.
This year’s World Cup will host and be shown to more fans than ever, most of who already have an idea about crypto. The crypto and decentralized ecosystem as a whole is about to climb its greatest stage yet, and hopefully, this will lead to a boost in crypto adoption, worldwide.