Messi joins crypto craze as gets part of PSG fee in fan tokens

Soccer star Lionel Messi’s signing on fee at Paris St Germain includes some of the French club’s cryptocurrency fan tokens, in the latest big name endorsement of new digital assets, Reuters reports.

The Argentine, 34, left Spanish side Barcelona and signed a two-year contract with Qatari-owned Paris St Germain (PSG), with an option for a third year, on Tuesday.

PSG said on Thursday the tokens were included in his “welcome package,” which media reports have estimated at 25-30 million euros ($29-35 million). The club did not disclose the proportion of tokens in the package, but said the amount was “significant.”

Fan tokens are a type of cryptocurrency that allow holders to vote on mostly minor decisions related to their clubs. Among clubs to launch tokens this year are English Premier League champions Manchester City and Italy’s AC Milan. Messi’s former club Barcelona launched one last year.

The tokens are increasingly seen by clubs as a source of new revenue and Socios.com, which provide the tokens for PSG and other top clubs, says tokens have generated nearly $200 million for its partner clubs in 2021, with PSG already seeing revenue from the Messi deal.

Like bitcoin and other digital currencies, fan tokens can be traded on exchanges. They also share in common with other cryptocurrencies a tendency for wild price swings, leading some regulators to issue warnings to investors about digital assets.

Trading volumes exceeded $1.2 billion in the days preceding the arrival of the six-times winner of the Ballon d’Or world’s best soccer player award, it said.

“We have been able to engage with a new global audience, creating a significant digital revenue stream,” said Marc Armstrong, PSG’s chief partnerships officer.

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