Bobos & Wojaks

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NFL Teams Exploring Crypto Fan Tokens

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Following the New England Patriots into the new region of NFL crypto deals, thirteen NFL teams will reveal their affiliations with fan token platform Socios later Wednesday.

Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Washington Commanders are among the clubs involved.

Socios’ current social token model has a foothold in the world of European football, as the firm signed a collaboration agreement with the sport’s governing body, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), in February. The soccer platform also includes agreements with some of the sport’s biggest clubs, including Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Paris St. Germain.

But unlike in Europe, Socios’ partnerships in the United States have yet to entail the distribution of actual tokens, owing to regulatory issues. The arrangements are advertised by the teams as “multi-platform marketing” partnerships that involve in-stadium advertising and Socios-driven fan experiences such as player meet-and-greets, but no tokens have been issued as of yet.

“Regulation is not a concern, it’s an educational process,” Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Socios, told CoinDesk in an interview. “In most countries in the world, you have a clear regulatory framework; in the U.S. it’s not yet completely clear. Most entities are trying to figure out what is the best path to actually launch a product, and in our case, that’s what we were doing with the league’s teams.”

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The NFL, in particular, has some of the most perplexing digital asset restrictions in place. Last September, the league declared a temporary ban on all crypto and non-fungible token (NFT) transactions, but in March, it relaxed its stance to accept sponsorship arrangements but not the promotion of specific cryptocurrencies.

That is not to argue that the league or its members have been uninvolved with NFTs. In November, the league investigated blockchain-based tickets, while players such as Tom Brady have long been interested in their own NFT companies.

In October, the company announced collaboration partnerships with 24 National Basketball Association teams, but a spokesman informed CoinDesk that the number has now increased to 28.

“Nobody we talk to is against the technology,” Dreyfus said in reference to teams that have yet to test the waters of digital asset partnerships. “It’s a matter of process. Usually, nobody wants to be the first person, but nobody also wants to be the last.”