Cryptocurrency markets are tanking round the world.

Bitcoin, for instance, is down 70 per cent from its all-time peak in November. Many unusual buyers who obtained in at the peak of the hype have misplaced some huge cash.

But what does this must do with soccer? Actually quite a bit, it seems.

Over the previous couple of years as digital belongings have turn into an increasing number of widespread, plenty of sports activities groups have signed up for profitable sponsorship offers in the sector.

According to 1 extremely skilled club takeover skilled, cryptocurrency firms love sponsoring soccer golf equipment as a result of they’ve labored out that it’s the least expensive technique to discover new clients — particularly younger males.

Of final season’s 20 Premier League golf equipment, all of them however one — we’ll get to that — have at the least one cryptocurrency sponsor and a few have a number of.

This checklist builds on a number of unique investigations by The Athletic into the relationship between cryptocurrency and soccer and analyses the 2021-22 season moderately than the upcoming one as a result of many sponsorship offers haven’t been signed or introduced but.

Oh sure, regardless of the plummeting worth of cryptocurrency, there isn’t any signal but that Premier League golf equipment’ love affair with it’s slowing down.

Just about each club in final season’s prime flight performed some half in selling unstable unregulated monetary belongings to its followers, just about all of which have crashed on a spectacular scale in current weeks.

English golf equipment are determined for money as the value of working a aggressive crew always spirals upwards.

Cryptocurrency sponsorship is definitely a profitable, and completely authorized, manner of producing money proper now. Yet it stays to be seen whether or not that may proceed in the mild of the enormous crash.


It’s not usually that the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority takes goal at a soccer club, however in December the watchdog deemed that Arsenal “trivialised investment in cryptoassets and took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity” in a promotion that includes three first-team gamers. The club mentioned it could search a evaluation of the ruling.

The promotion was for Arsenal’s official “fan token” issued by Socios. The cryptocurrency tokens provide votes and polls on club issues, and can be traded as a speculative digital asset.  

Since initially surging amid hype, the Arsenal token has cratered in worth and is down greater than 80 per cent from its peak, that means followers who purchased the token late final 12 months and have bought them shall be vastly out of pocket.

The tokens have been initially “minted” (launched) at a worth of £2 ($2.45), that means customers who flipped their tokens rapidly banked a fast revenue whereas those that purchased later are sitting on losses.

“We want our fans around the globe to be able to engage with the club in different ways. In the digital age, we try to find multiple ways for our supporters to engage with the team and feel part of the club – this is part of that,” an Arsenal spokesperson instructed The Athletic earlier this 12 months.

“We are not promoting this as a financial investment, and we are clear it’s about engaging with the club by taking part in polls and competitions.”

A free Socios non-tradeable token was given to some current supporters similar to season-ticket holders.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa are one other one in every of Socios’ six Premier League golf equipment.

Villa renamed a street at the coaching floor primarily based on a Socios ballot however social media posts about the agency are greeted with outrage by many followers and the deal has been condemned as “wholly inappropriate” by the Aston Villa Supporters’ Trust. 

🟣 Withe Way?
🟣 Mortimer Avenue?
🟣 Rotterdam Lane?

Ahead of the 𝟰𝟬𝘁𝗵 anniversary of our 𝟭𝟵𝟴𝟮 European Cup victory, we’re dedicating a street at Bodymoor Heath to completely commemorate the triumph. $AVL token holders can vote now on the @Socios app. 🏆

— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) September 28, 2021

As with Arsenal, the Midlands club’s official fan token has nosedived in worth, leaving many followers who purchased them as an funding significantly out of pocket — particularly as it may be difficult to withdraw cryptocurrency tokens and switch them into money.


Brentford exceeded nearly everybody’s expectations by coming thirteenth of their first Premier League season.

The west London club has a sponsorship cope with an Australian firm known as Coinjar, an app that permits folks to purchase and commerce cryptocurrencies and companions with such firms as MasterCard and Apple Pay.

The web site’s homepage exhibits a digital cryptocurrency pockets that shows the worth of Bitcoin as £30,820.70. 

But Bitcoin has not been value that a lot since the finish of April. At the time of writing, is value about £16,500 — simply over half the worth displayed on the CoinJar homepage.

When the partnership was introduced in August 2021, Brentford chief government Jon Varney mentioned: “The success of both CoinJar and Brentford is a result of rigorous data-analysis, thinking differently and strategic planning. For many, cryptocurrency remains a complex area, so we look forward to working with CoinJar as part of the partnership to help educate our fanbase as both parties continue their rise in our respective industries.”

Brighton and Hove Albion

You have been instructed there could be an odd one out — and right here it’s.

Brighton are owned by Tony Bloom who — in addition to Brentford proprietor Matthew Benham — made his fortune in sports activities betting, utilizing subtle fashions to foretell the consequence of sporting occasions and win bets in the huge Asian markets.

It is known this has a counter-intuitive influence on sponsorship offers as a result of Brighton are inclined to avoid involvement in actions that would depart them open to criticism.

Furthermore, the club have a bumper sponsorship cope with bank card firm American Express, a “traditional finance” firm usually pitted in opposition to new digital belongings like cryptocurrencies. 

The club did till not too long ago have a cope with monetary buying and selling app eToro, which provides the sale of cryptocurrencies.


AstroPay adorned the billboards at Turf Moor in the Premier League final season.

The firm, which has simply signed a front-of-shirt cope with Wolverhampton Wanderers for the upcoming marketing campaign, is billed on Burnley’s web site as “the global leader in online payment solutions”.

The web site makes clear {that a} key a part of that is shopping for cryptocurrency and providing an “easy and secure” manner of doing so.

The AstroPay web site has a piece known as “learn about crypto”, providing recommendation about the digital tokens. Tlisted below are some disclaimers to spotlight danger and volatility however one web page talks up a cryptocurrency token known as Ripple, or XRP, “an open-source system that encourages transactions that are speedy and inexpensive”.

“Ripple has one of the biggest price potentials of any cryptocurrency due to its enormous potential of becoming the new standard in many industries,” the website says. “Keep in mind that the short and long-term prices of any cryptocurrency might be difficult to anticipate. However, as more institutions use Ripple’s transfer method, its price is likely to rise.”

But like just about all different cryptocurrencies, the worth of Ripple has fallen over the previous few months.

AstroPay didn’t reply to an inquiry from The Athletic.


One of the greatest cryptocurrency sponsorship offers in world soccer is Chelsea’s £20 million-a-year cope with an app known as WhaleFin as a sleeve sponsor for the upcoming season.

The app, which additionally sponsors Atletico Madrid, is powered by a Singapore-based firm known as Amber Group which has places of work round the world.

Cryptocurrency is usually criticised by environmentalists as a result of many tokens, together with Bitcoin, require highly effective computational calculations to operate, which contain working enormous pc servers which burns carbon.

WhaleFin leans closely on claims of “sustainability” and pledges to help ocean life, together with the whale in the firm’s identify.

The app not too long ago introduced it’s introducing the potential to switch NFTs — non-fungible tokens, one other kind of digital asset.

One instance of an NFT is the Ape Kids Football Club, established by John Terry, who nonetheless works in a training function at Chelsea.

After he and a number of other different well-known gamers promoted the NFTs, they cratered in worth and have now misplaced about 99 per cent of their preliminary worth.

Terry has since endorsed a rebranded scheme known as Inter Meta FC.

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace’s $CPFC Socios tokens launched some time after these related to the 5 different Premier League golf equipment, a while after there had been important unfavourable media protection surrounding fan tokens.

According to knowledge offered by the web site RocketFan, Palace’s fan token providing in February was removed from a hit, with simply 64,000 of a potential 200,000 tokens being bought to six,987 holders, netting $174,000 (£140,000) to be break up between club and firm.

Unlike each different club, the tokens haven’t appeared out there for buying and selling with no date but introduced. Previous tokens have been unlocked for buying and selling inside days.

There is not any graph for Crystal Palace tokens as a result of they haven’t been made out there for buying and selling.

A Socios spokesperson mentioned: “The Crystal Palace token is live and, since its launch, more and more Eagles fans have enjoyed the benefits and rewards it offers — for example, it gives them the opportunity to win VIP experiences for each Crystal Palace home match or the chance to go to the training ground to meet the players.”


Everton is one other Socios club and the $EFC token has additionally tanked.

The Merseyside club has one other intriguing cryptocurrency sponsor in, a betting website that shall be on the entrance of shirts subsequent season and likewise sponsors Watford in the Championship.

A club press launch saying the report deal made no point out of cryptocurrency, but betting in Bitcoin and different tokens is integral to the firm’s enterprise mannequin as The Athletic reported earlier this month.

Leeds United

You can in all probability guess by now how issues are going for these followers who purchased up Leeds’ Socios tokens as an funding alternative, even when Socios says this isn’t the use for which they’re supposed.

The Leeds plunge has been significantly dangerous, although. A token is value barely a greenback, down from $7 round Christmas.

Last month, Leeds introduced a fundraising effort for the Ukraine humanitarian attraction with an uncommon twist.

Instead of accepting donations or elevating cash by way of typical strategies, the club launched a sequence of 11 NFTs with the web site MakersPlace.

“Entering into a new NFT campaign and the linking to a current war conflict feels inappropriate and ill-timed,” a spokesperson for the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust instructed the Yorkshire Evening Post. “The club could have used the same assets and mechanics as their recent fundraisers that raised over £80,000 for local charities.”

“Shirts For Ukraine NFTs have been issued as collectable items and not as an investment,” the club mentioned on their web site. “The decision to purchase NFTs requires careful consideration.”

Leicester City

Goodbye, Walkers crisps.  

Last season, the 2015-16 champions introduced a brand new predominant sponsor in FBS, an internet buying and selling web site primarily based in Cyprus which has cryptocurrency at its core.

The app provides retail clients the potential to commerce in contracts-for-difference (CFDs), advanced merchandise which “come with a high risk of losing money rapidly”, in accordance with a legally mandated disclaimer on the website.

The crypto tab on the FBS web site provides the alternative to make “leveraged” trades on cryptocurrency. This successfully signifies that clients can lose (or acquire) extra money than they put in, in contrast to in typical playing or when shopping for shares.

We have launched a model marketing campaign, Always By Your Side, to encourage you.
FBS retains up with the instances and makes buying and selling potential for anybody. You set your objectives, and we provide help to go for it!
Enjoy our joint video with @LCFC. 💚

— FBS (@FBS_news) March 17, 2022

Combining these dangerous merchandise generates “crypto derivatives”, a sort of economic product which have been banned from sale to UK retail customers since January 2021. 

After a prolonged session, the Financial Conduct Authority concluded that “retail consumers might suffer harm from sudden and unexpected losses if they invest in these products”, happening to stipulate issues over crime and fraud in the secondary market.

FBS provides leveraged buying and selling on crypto, simply viewable when accessing the website from a pc abroad.

There is not any suggestion FBS is promoting these merchandise to UK customers or breaking UK legislation in any manner.

Leicester and FBS declined to remark.


Liverpool unveiled a controversial NFT scheme at the finish of March.

In an announcement that attracted scorn on social media, the club mentioned its “LFC Heroes Club will give fans the opportunity to purchase animated, cartoon-style digital artwork of 23 players and manager Jurgen Klopp”.

If Liverpool had managed to promote all 171,072 “unique images” on provide, they may have introduced in £8.5 million. But the sale has been a flop, with solely round six per cent bought.

The Liverpool NFTs can now be traded on the market OpenSea.

While they have been initially bought for $75 (roughly £57) each, most at the moment are being bought for lower than this, that means followers have misplaced cash on their preliminary funding. Some are being bought for as little as $11 (£8.96).

There was an enormous spike in early June however many LFC Heroes NFTs are buying and selling for a lot lower than they have been “minted” for and much lower than they have been a few months in the past.

Before the NFTs launch, a press release from Liverpool tried “to make clear to supporters that its NFTs are digital works of art and should not be considered investments”.

Manchester City

City have been at the forefront of soccer’s crypto sponsorship revolution.

When the club not too long ago received the Premier League after a dramatic final-day comeback in opposition to Aston Villa, the Etihad Stadium was plastered with adverts for OKX.

A take a look at this firm’s web site exhibits that it offers closely in crypto derivatives, that are banned from sale to UK customers as a result of they’re deemed too dangerous for retail buyers. There is not any suggestion club or firm is breaking UK legislation and the firm itself is free to promote right here.

City have been additionally one in every of the first to enroll with Socios.

Their tokens spiked at greater than $30 (£24.40) final 12 months, far increased than different Premier League golf equipment, earlier than crashing in the previous couple of months. And the City token has significantly excessive buying and selling volumes — partially maybe as a result of it’s buying and selling on main cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance.

City additionally signed a agency up as the club’s new “official regional partner in decentralised finance trading analysis” however quickly severed the deal after enquiries by a number of information shops revealed the agency had just about no digital footprint or named workers.

The club additionally has a bumper cope with on-line dealer Axi, which provides cryptocurrency buying and selling.

Manchester United

In February, The Athletic revealed a brand new identify would adorn the club’s coaching package in a deal value in extra of £20 million per 12 months.

Tezos — which is underpinned by the Tezos Foundation — is a blockchain, or a sort of decentralised pc community like Bitcoin or Ethereum.

To advocates, blockchains like Tezos may very well be a technique to perform computerised transactions extra effectively than present expertise and assist to take away costly middlemen from the course of.

Detractors spotlight the indisputable fact that blockchain transactions require enormous computing energy which emits carbon, although Tezos presents itself as a extra energy-efficient platform.

Tezos additionally has an related cryptocurrency token, which has plummeted in worth, shedding round two-thirds of what it was value when United introduced the deal 4 months in the past.

Newcastle United

Newcastle — newly rich after the takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund final October — are one in every of a number of golf equipment to have a sponsorship cope with eToro.

🎥 Watch our gamers tackle the @eToro Crypto Factor with host @LloydGriffith!

Watch the full video right here: #WelcomeToTheClub #NUFC

— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 12, 2018

The Cyprus-based firm provides a controversial cryptocurrency product known as “staking”.

This “allows users who own and hold supported cryptoassets to earn rewards just for holding them”, says the agency’s web site.

This works in an identical technique to how a standard checking account accumulates curiosity however there’s just about no regulation governing this in the UK. As a legally mandated disclaimer says on the eToro web site, “your capital is at risk”.

Norwich City

In January, when crypto markets weren’t far off their peak and Norwich City nonetheless had a faint dream of retaining Premier League standing, the club introduced a brand new cope with an “innovative fintech ecosystem” known as Scallop. 

Fintech stands for monetary expertise and cryptocurrency is at the coronary heart of the product, however it’s exhausting to find out precisely what the firm does. 

The web site describes itself as “the simplest way to manage digital money” in addition to “enhance and simplify your crypto journey”.

A banner on the firm web site says it has been “featured in” numerous esteemed publications like Forbes, Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance. However, these articles seem like paid-for press releases hosted on these websites.

As is so usually the case with bewildering new crypto firms, Scallop additionally has its personal unstable unregulated cryptocurrency token, Scallop Coin (SCLP).

A Scallop Coin was value $1.97 (£1.60) when Norwich introduced the deal and 20 cents (20p) now, whereas the longer-term development exhibits an much more dramatic nosedive.


Southampton are in the center of a three-year front-of-shirt cope with Sportsbet, an internet on line casino which additionally sponsors billboards at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

Rather like, for these accessing its web site from outdoors of the UK, the agency accepts cost in cryptocurrencies similar to Bitcoin, one thing no UK-based bookmakers are inclined to do. However, its “white-label” web site — the UK-facing website — makes no point out of cryptocurrency.

Last 12 months, a number of Southampton gamers together with Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse appeared in a “crypto education” sponsorship video, out there on YouTube, wherein the gamers repeated cryptocurrency memes similar to ‘HODL’.

This time period relies on a misspelling of the phrase “hold” on a discussion board in the early days of cryptocurrency, and is used to encourage customers to not promote their tokens when costs are falling.

In November final 12 months, Sportsbet and Southampton introduced a “first-of-its-kind Crypto Fan Fund, donating two Bitcoin to be used to deliver a series of fan-led initiatives across the 2021-22 season and beyond”. The club’s supporters panel would determine the good causes to which the cash would go.

Introducing the Crypto Fan Fund 😇

Main Club Partner @Sportsbetio has donated Bitcoin to #SaintsFC‘s supporters panel, Saints Voice:

— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) November 10, 2021

Sportsbet mentioned it could underwrite the fund “for the value of two Bitcoin at the point of donation, guaranteeing the club access to at least the minimum value of the fund”.

That announcement nearly precisely marked the prime of the marketplace for Bitcoin, which has gone down, down and down some extra since the Crypto Fan Fund was introduced in November.

Tottenham Hotspur

The north London club has a sponsorship cope with buying and selling app Libertex, which is operated by firms in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in addition to Mauritius, and accepts funds by way of a agency in Cyprus.

The web site has an inventory of “restricted countries” together with the United States and all 27 member states of the European Union.

A web page on the firm’s web site provides a “crypto mining” service immediately beneath the Spurs emblem, which options on each web page of the web site as a part of the sponsorship tie-in.

Its “Bitcoin cloud mining” provides a technique to hire computing energy to generate Bitcoin, by way of advanced computational transactions, which might earn the person cash.

“Earn free Bitcoin daily with one click. Trade mined rewards profit anytime. No hidden fees or charges,” the website says.

Though numerous crypto initiatives make hard-to-verify claims about being environmentally sustainable, Bitcoin requires highly effective computer systems which contain burning fossil fuels and an enormous carbon footprint.

On its web site, Tottenham say they’ve “proudly joined the UN Race to Zero, committing to halve its carbon emissions by 2030 and become net zero carbon by 2040”.

The club has additionally completed prime of the Premier League sustainability desk for 3 years in a row.

A spokesperson for Libertex mentioned the product, which won’t be made out there in Europe, is “virtual” and doesn’t really contain the mining of Bitcoins, although this isn’t made clear on the web site.

“Any crypto that is paid out to our users is purchased by the company in advance from digital assets that are already in circulation and then distributed to the users based on what they ‘mine’ via our Virtual Bitcoin Miner,” a spokesperson mentioned, emphasising the scheme won’t hurt the setting.

“That way the users get the experience and reward of mining but without any of the inconvenience.”


Watford, like Everton, are sponsored by however final season had Dogecoin on their gamers’ shirt sleeves too.

Dogecoin was initially devised in 2013 as a joke to poke enjoyable at the speculative rise and fall of the new wave of digital currencies. The phrase “doge” (a slang time period for canine) comes from an web meme of an image of a Shiba Inu canine surrounded by multi-coloured phrases representing its imaginary ideas.

From satirical beginnings, it has risen in prominence and obtained the backing of tech billionaire investor Elon Musk. Last April one Dogecoin surged to 74 cents (60p). It was 34 cents (28p) the day after the Watford deal was introduced and it’s now value lower than seven cents (lower than 6p). A Watford fan who invested of their crew’s new sponsor initially may have misplaced 80 per cent of their money, not together with transaction charges.

The Hertfordshire club is considerably of a pioneer in the world of cryptocurrency and soccer, having had Bitcoin as a sleeve sponsor for the 2019-20 season when Sportsbet, present sponsor of Southampton, was on the entrance of the yellow-and-black shirts.

As a part of that deal, Vicarage Road was set to carry a ‘Crypto Cup’ in March 2020, though it by no means came about due to the pandemic.

West Ham United

West Ham United has an “official decentralised asset management partner” known as PeakDeFi. (DeFi is brief for Decentralised Finance.)

There is not any contact deal with, firm identify or named people listed on the web site, although there’s an unnamed “data controller” primarily based in Dubai. There doesn’t even seem like an e mail deal with.

PeakDeFi calls itself a “decentralized asset management fund” the place buyers pool their sources and generate returns.

The scheme additionally has an related cryptocurrency token known as PEAK — and you can in all probability predict the subsequent bit already.

Since the partnership was introduced by West Ham on May 9, the token has misplaced three-quarters of its worth.

Looking additional again, the token has misplaced nearly 99 per cent of its worth because it surged to a peak final August.

West Ham and PeakDeFi declined to remark.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves not too long ago changed controversial Asian playing sponsor ManBetX on the entrance of its shirts with AstroPay, the cost app enabling cryptocurrency purchases which additionally has a cope with Burnley.

In the Premier League final season, Wolves had Bitci as its sleeve accomplice as “official cryptocurrency trading and fan token partner”.

Wolves X @bitcicom

Welcoming our new official sleeve sponsor.


— Wolves (@Wolves) June 1, 2021

The Turkish firm has had a turbulent few months, with Formula One crew McLaren Racing and soccer golf equipment Sporting Lisbon in Portugal and Spezia in Italy dropping it as a sponsor. 

Bitci was initially a cryptocurrency change however now appears to be pitching itself in the fan token market, considerably just like Socios. Scottish club Rangers additionally had a cope with Bitci.

Wolves introduced earlier this month that Bitci would get replaced as a sleeve sponsor by 12Bet, an internet playing agency.

Bitci’s cope with Wolves expired at the finish of the 2021-22 season, and it’s understood there are not any excellent funds and no authorized motion will happen.

(Design: Sam Richardson)


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