It is arguably the biggest sporting event in the world after the Olympics, and this month’s FIFA World Cup is also expected to be unprecedented in launching crypto into the mainstream.
One reason is because of the prominence of the industry among the event’s sponsorship. Earlier this year, World Cup organizers chose cryptocurrency platform Crypto.com as one of the event’s main sponsors. It will give the exchange exposure to an estimated audience of five billion viewers when the event starts on Nov 20.
The platform has been among the most successful in securing promotional deals, through producing commercials and gaining arena naming rights. These have been seminal, not only in keeping the brand aloft, but also in providing broader exposure to cryptocurrencies generally.
Visa is Latest TradFi Company to Adopt NFTs
Visa, a major sponsor of global football association FIFA, is also collaborating with Crypto.com to raise awareness for the event. The payments company is auctioning five non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that feature notable goals from different countries in past World Cups. The auction is open until Nov. 8, and the proceeds will go to charity, Visa said.
In addition to these NFTs, Visa will also provide an opportunity for fans to create their own during the event. Fans attending the World Cup can participate in four-minute-long, six-on-six matches occurring at the FIFA Fan Festival.
The interactive playing field will capture their movements and create unique GIFs in the colors of their favorite national team. Players can then choose to receive their GIF as an NFT through a Crypto.com account.
Adoption Jumps Since Last World Cup
While crypto awareness has spread since the last World Cup, circumstances have also changed for the previous host country, Russia. The country invaded Ukraine in Feb., resulting in economic sanctions that have financially isolated it from much of the world. Consequently, many Russians have started using cryptocurrencies to conduct transactions or store their funds.
Yet, in spite of cryptocurrency’s ethos of financial inclusion independent of centralized authority, it has become difficult for crypto exchanges to continue offering their services to Russian users.
Subsequent sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union have prohibited many exchanges from operating in Russia. Others have sold off their businesses in the country due to the limited prospects for expansion created by the war.
Meanwhile, the use of cryptocurrencies has also accelerated dramatically in the region hosting the upcoming World Cup.
Cryptocurrency adoption has grown faster in the Middle East over the past year than anywhere else, according to Chainalysis. Much of this has been stimulated by investments in the United Arab Emirates, a gulf country neighboring Qatar.
Soccer Tokens Surging World in Anticipation
As the World Cup approaches, cryptocurrencies associated with the sport have also been surging. The most notable has been Chiliz (CHZ), the token behind Socios.com, who has partnered with many major football clubs. Over the past two weeks, the price of CHZ has risen nearly 43%, according to CoinGecko.
This year’s World Cup could also be the last to feature two of the biggest players in the sport. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are both in their mid-to-late thirties, the tail end of prime playing years for professionals.
Still, their participation has stimulated interest in fan tokens of their respective national teams, Argentina and Portugal. Both ARG and POR fan tokens have risen nearly 50% in the past two weeks.