Top Soccer Club FC Barcelona Launching Crypto Token for Fan Engagement

Created in partnership with blockchain firm Chiliz, the Barça Fan Tokens ($BAR) will be used to allow fans to vote in polls and surveys on Chiliz’ mobile app Socios.com.

Record-breaking Catalan soccer club FC Barcelona (often called Barça) has launched a crypto token seeking greater engagement with fans.

Barça has one of the largest supporter bases globally and is the richest soccer club by revenue. Unusually, it’s in part managed by a group of paying supporters called socios, who take part in elections for the president and the board. The team has achieved a record-breaking 74 trophies in its home nation of Spain.

«With over 300 million fans worldwide, Barça’s fandom spans countries as well as cultures,» according to Alexandre Drefyus, Chiliz and Socios CEO and founder. «The club is without a doubt the most renowned and the most supported football club in the world and we can’t wait to see their fans start to influence club decisions.»

In an announcement Thursday, Chiliz said supporters interacting with the club via its app will be rewarded with points that can be swapped for merchandise and club experiences. Other features are planned for token holders, including chat, token trading, games and more.

Forty million of the club’s new token will go on sale in Q2 2020 at a cost of €2 ($2.18). To get their $BARs, fans will need first to own Chiliz’ $CHZ token which is available from a number of exchanges worldwide, according to the firm.

The move into the blockchain space comes as part of Barcelona’s global expansion strategy as it seeks new digital means to build fan engagement.

«This agreement will give us the chance to set up innovative marketing and partnership activations with a clear focus on the digital realm to take the Club closer to our fans around the world,» said Josep Pont, FC Barcelona board member and head of commercial area, in the announcement.

Tourists in Popular Japanese Region Could Soon Use a Local Cryptocurrency

Mitsubishi Research Institute (MRI) and an Osaka-based railway company are issuing a local cryptocurrency for use in a popular tourist area in Japan’s Mie Prefecture.

The MRI, formed in 1970 by Mitsubishi Group companies, said on Wednesday that the token, dubbed Kintetsu Shimakaze Coin, will be utilizing blockchain and is available only from Nov. 11 to Jan. 31 next year.

It is the fourth such unit created by the two companies as they work to refine the technology and develop relevant processes, procedures and services.

The experiment is a highly limited trial and will take place in the Ise-Shima region, a peninsular area known for its beaches, seafood, pearl cultivation and a national park. Only 15 establishments in the region will accept the coin, including the Shima Spain Village, Miyako Resort Shima Bayside Terrace, Kashikojima Espana Cruise and the Makonde Art Museum.

While the token will be temporary just for the pilot, Kintetsu hopes to eventually issue a permanent cryptocurrency for use along its railway lines, according to a news report from Nikkei.

To use the cryptocurrency, which is a stablecoin pegged to the Japanese yen, users must download the Kintetsu Shimakaze Coin app for registration.

They will be able to top up in 1,000 yen blocks, paying a 10 percent premium, up to 100,000 yen in total. Transfers of the coin will be possible between participants. At the end of the trial period, the coin will be retired and cannot be used.

The Kintetsu Group, the local company partnering with MRI, is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and owns transportation assets including lines into the targeted area of the program. MRI will be responsible for the issuing and management of the tokens.

Kintetsu and MRI have been cooperating for two years on local coins. The first Kintetsu Harukas Coin Social Experiment was run in September and October 2017 to test a payment system using blockchain technology.

The second Kintetsu Harukas Coin Social Experiment was run in October and December 2018 in Osaka to test the QR code technology and introduce person-to-person transfers. Mitsubishi UFJ, the banking group, and Omron Corporation participated. In February 2019, the two companies tested a local coin around Osaka Uehommachi Station.

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