There are indications that in the coming months the Premier League may record its first transfer fees paid in cryptocurrency, bitcoin in particular, according to Iqbal V. Gandham, UK managing director at eToro.
With Aaron Ramsey set for Arsenal exit in January, would he get his transfer fees in bitcoin? eToro seems to think so following the interest in blockchain technology some clubs have shown.
“I do feel that within about six to twelve months we will see a player transfer in the Premier League completed using bitcoin,”
CEO and founder of finance think tank B.I.S.S. Research, Gary Wright, seems to agree but says it might happen next year.
If it indeed happens, it won’t be the first the world of soccer has ever known as the fees of a Turkish amateur player was paid in bitcoin in January.
Wright said cryptocurrencies would revolutionize the sector and tackle issues such as curbing third party of ownership of players.
Nonetheless, Wright said bitcoin might not be able to deliver on the promise of more transparency in the sector and he warned that bitcoin may cause greater levels of secrecy and opacity in the sector.
“Currently, if you do a player transfer in a traditional currency [such as GBP], then that money has to go through a central clearing agency, such as the FA,”
“They see the money, and there’s some transparency in that they see the agents’ fees. Although they can’t stop it, they can actually see what’s going on. With bitcoin, they wouldn’t see that.”
Stepping back, Gandham agreed that yes, you can see follow the money with the right wallet address. And he hopes clubs will make these transactions open.
Other areas of cryptocurrency and the blockchain technology is in helping to bring the club closer to fans.
“At many clubs, there seems to be a growing distance between the supporters and the owners,”
“The clubs need to regain that trust and bridge that gap again, and I think this is one way of doing it. Blockchain technology makes it very easy for them to show the details of player transfers to supporters.”
Nevertheless, Wright warns that before clubs start paying transfer fees in bitcoin, it is vital for key regulations be made available.
“With bitcoin and the blockchain, it’s like the wild west out there,” he says.
“The good is being mixed up with the not so good. There is still an underlying fear that bitcoin is used for nefarious activities – money laundering and the like.”