More good news came out of the merger of sport and crypto. One of the biggest names in European football, SL Benfica, started accepting crypto as payment “to buy match tickets and the entire range of Benfica products” in a “cheaper, safer and faster [way] than any other online payment method”, the club announced.
However, the club will not receive crypto into their wallets as it will settle payments in fiat directly to its bank on the same day.
In either case, it seems that this is the first major European football club that will be accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum, and UTK for purchases of goods at their official online store, such as tickets, clothes, and various club merchandise via their desktop website, mobile, or the app. The Portuguese champions are collaborating with UTRUST, a crypto payments processing firm with its native, Ethereum-based token, UTK.
Benfica claims that UTRUST’s technology will bring security and convenience into the club’s crypto payment system, providing instant crypto-to-fiat conversions, while at the same time, protecting it from market volatility.
“The launch of UTRUST as a cryptocurrency payment solution partner will evolve the club’s e-commerce strategy and expand its global audience,” the club said, “in particular, bringing tech-savvy supporters and cryptocurrency holders in Portugal and abroad closer to its home ground of the Estádio da Luz.”
Similarly, the CEO of UTRUST, Nuno Correia, stated that this partnership is “a major milestone for UTRUST and the blockchain ecosystem as a whole […] and we are delighted to be making cryptocurrency payments possible for their 14 million supporters around the world."
Indeed, the club has millions of passionate fans globally – all of whom will now be introduced to the new payment method, but also to crypto itself. One has to wonder what this will do for familiarity and adoption of crypto in the long run. And not just among the public, but other football clubs, other sports clubs, and potentially sport-related business.
Benfica CEO, Domingos Soares de Oliveira, called this “an exciting day in the history of S.L. Benfica.” He stated that the club is excited about the the partnership with UTRUST and the possibilities it’ll bring “in the evolution of our e-commerce strategy”. They recognize, the CEO says, that many benfiquistas (Benfica’s supporters) use digital cryptocurrency, “so we want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting novel technologies and giving our supporters the best online experience.”
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Meanwhile, as previously reported, another three famous European football clubs – Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and West Ham United – announced that they’re partnering with Socios.com, a mobile app for football fans, in order to launch their own fan tokens.
According to the website of Socios.com, fan tokens will be available for purchase at the start of the upcoming season. These tokens will only be available through Socios.com, and will be tradeable against the platform’s native token, CHZ – fans will need to purchase ChiliZ tokens to exchange into Fan Tokens, the company explained, adding that "Free Fan Tokens and CHZ will be available to collect as soon as the app is available to download, from early Q3."
Socios.com claims it raised more than USD 66 million in funding, including an investment from major crypto exchange Binance and undisclosed Asian crypto funds.
Also as reported, it is estimated that token sales could become a valuable new method of fundraising for small football clubs who struggle to compete with their larger competitors as they do not have the funds to expand their youth academies, improve their stadiums and pay for high-quality players and coaches.