FIFA finally gets into crypto — what could possibly go wrong?

Global football governing body FIFA has announced that is finally entering the world of blockchain after it inked a sponsorship and technical partnership with Pure Proof of Stake (PPoS) protocol Algorand.
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Global football governing body FIFA has announced that it is finally entering the world of blockchain after it inked a sponsorship and technical partnership with Pure Proof of Stake (PPoS) protocol Algorand.

In a press release issued on Monday, FIFA says Algorand will become its chosen blockchain solution, will provide its official blockchain wallet, and will help the organization to develop its “digital assets strategy.”

In return, Algorand will be handed a raft of sponsorship and promotional opportunities at both this summer’s football World Cup in Qatar and next year’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“We are delighted to announce this partnership with Algorand,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

“The collaboration is a clear indication of FIFA’s commitment to continually seeking innovative channels for sustainable revenue growth for further reinvestment back into football ensuring transparency to our stakeholders and world-wide football fans – a key element of our Vision to make football truly global.”

Launched in 2019, Algorand claimed that it would finally solve the ‘blockchain trilemma’ – the idea that blockchain systems can only have two of the three most desirable properties: security, scalability, and decentralization.

Billed as one of many so-called ‘Ethereum killers,’ Algorand uses a super-democratized PPoS mechanism. This means only a select number of randomly-selected miners are rewarded for allowing the network to use their computing power.

News of the deal saw the Algorand’s native ALGO token hit a high of $0.73 in the 24 hours after the announcement – a 20% jump.

Finally on the blockchain bandwagon

FIFA may not be the last football-related organization to jump on the blockchain bandwagon but, typically of the slow-moving body, it’s also a long way from being the first.

A slew of high profile clubs including Manchester City, Juventus, Paris St-Germain, and Atletico Madrid have taken the plunge into the world of crypto – specifically NFTs and fan coins – in recent years, while others, such as Spanish champions Real Madrid have actually used Bitcoin to transfer players.

And crypto sponsorship is also gaining traction with English side Liverpool recently rumored to be close to a potential £70 million ($88 million) shirt deal.

For what it’s worth, European football overseer UEFA hasn’t been dabbling in blockchain for much longer than FIFA. The body signed a deal with Chinese blockchain platform AntChain last year to make it the official blockchain partner of the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.

Scandal-hit FIFA meets unregulated crypto

Given FIFA’s history of scandal and controversy, the only real question about its move into the famously chaotic and corruption-riddled world of crypto is why it’s taken so long.

The world football governing body has for years batted away countless claims of wrongdoing, from bribery and corruption around the awarding of international tournament hosting duties to money laundering and kickbacks to high-ranking officials.

Read more: Hackers breach NBA playoffs NFT contract hours after launch

Whether or not this latest move does indeed help FIFA to “make football truly global” as its press release suggests remains to be seen.

But what is certain is that, for an organization still grappling with a decade of scandal, a leap into the crypto space brings with it plenty of risks to go with any potential rewards.

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