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FC Barcelona Gives ‘Unethical’ Crypto Sponsorship Deal the Boot

2 mins
Updated by Ryan James
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In Brief

  • Barcelona rejects $80m sponsorship offer from an unnamed crypto exchange.
  • ”It is a speculative, risky, highly variable, and unethical sector," a spokesman for the club's board said.
  • The club already has deals in place with and Chiliz, which together run the club’s fan tokens.
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Crypto businesses are snapping up sporting sponsorship deals all over the world, but FC Barcelona has bucked the trend by rejecting a $80M offer from an unnamed crypto exchange.

The President and board turned down the offer, saying they were worried that crypto is an “unethical” sector.

According to Marca, Spain’s biggest-selling sports newspaper, Barcelona “received several bids from cryptocurrency exchange companies” before accepting a lower offer from music streaming company Spotify.

“It is a speculative, risky, highly variable, and unethical sector,” a spokesman for the club’s board told the newspaper.

The unnamed exchange’s offer included a 20% bonus contingent on first team performance, but club president Joan Laporta rejected it despite clearance from the club’s compliance department.

The rival deal with Spotify includes not only shirt sponsorship rights for both the men’s and women’s first teams, but also the title rights of the Nou Camp stadium for the 2022-3 season.

The rejection of the deal comes after reports late last year in the Spanish media putting Binance and FTX in the frame as potential sponsors.

Barcelona has other crypto sponsorship deals in place

However, Barcelona is not entirely hostile to crypto. It already has deals in place with and Chiliz, which together run the club’s fan tokens.

But the club’s deal with Ownix was terminated last November after less than a month following the arrest of a businessman linked to the company.

Ownix’s intention was to partner with FC Barcelona to create non-fungible tokens that provide a digital certificate of authenticity of non-tangible pieces of the club’s illustrious history.

It would have created a way for fans to “acquire and own digital assets that will reproduce unforgettable Blaugrana moments” via NFT auctions that were set to take place throughout the season.

It was all meant to be part of Barca’s plan to seek new forms of engagement with new generations of fans.

The BBC estimated fans have spent more than $350m on digital collectibles, with 24 clubs across Europe offering them, or soon to offer them

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Geraint Price
Geraint Price is a graduate of City, University of London's journalism school. He also has a degree in politics and European studies. He is a journalist with over 20 years’...