Chinese blockchain platform AntChain has partnered with UEFA to become the official global blockchain partner of UEFA Euro 2020, which is now underway following the delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The partnership aims to explore how blockchain technology can advance the adaptation of new technologies such as cryptocurrencies in football and improve fan experiences around the world.
The AntChain network is the largest productivity blockchain platform in China. Its collection of blockchain-based solutions is the largest productivity blockchain platform in China, currently supporting over one billion user accounts and transactions every day.
AntChain will use their blockchain technology during Euro 2020 to record the top scorer at the tournament and upload the result to a blockchain ledger for permanent storage. The tournament’s top scorer trophy has been designed by Alipay, the digital payments platform of parent group Alibaba.
AntChain and Alipay both operate under Ant Group, the FinTech arm of leading Chinese e-commerce brand Alibaba. In 2018, Alipay signed an eight-year deal with UEFA to become their official global payment and digital wallet provider. Alipay also became the UEFA men’s national team football sponsor from 2018 to 2026, sponsoring major events such as future EURO and Nations League tournaments.
The tournament has also attracted sponsorship and attention from other projects in the Cryptocurrency industry. ByBit, a leading Cryptocurrency exchange, has sponsored UEFA 2020 through outdoor live-screening events across Europe. This follows their recent multi-year partnership with Borussia Dortmund that aims to increase its international marketing and presence in Asia. A Crypto start-up, Zumo, also sponsored the Scottish national team during their qualifier with Serbia for Euro 2020.
In a similar vein to the Alipay golden boot trophy, the winner of the “goal of the tournament” award will be rewarded with an exclusive NFT trophy sponsored by Gazprom, a leading Russian energy company. Gazprom is a prominent sponsor for the tournament and also recently extended their partnership to include the Euro 2024 competition
Sorare, an NFT-based fantasy football game that allows players to buy, sell, trade and manage a virtual team with digital player cards, also announced a partnership with the French Football Association to launch National Team cards on their platform. The cards were launched during Euro2020, with many more national teams such as Spain and Germany lined up in the future.
A growing number of domestic football clubs have also launched fan tokens, with recent additions to the growing collection including English Premier League champions Manchester City, PSG, Barcelona, Juventus and AC Milan. The overall value of the fan token market across all platforms is currently worth $175 million following a peak of interest due to EURO 2020 and looks set to continue its growth following the start of the 2021/22 seasons across domestic European leagues.
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