The Athletic website is reporting that the National League is in discussions about an official non-fungible token (NFT) partner, which were reportedly discussed at the league’s annual dinner in Wales last week.
The NFTs have apparently been highlighted as a possible new revenue stream for the league, and part of any arrangement would reportedly mean member clubs posting regularly about the tokens on social media.
Non-fungible tokens are a digital asset based on blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
They have been described as a modern form of trading merchandise like stickers or clothing, but have come under criticism for appearing to enrich the already wealthy to the detriment of sports fans exposed to unregulated financial speculation.
The Athletic says the National League has an existing commercial deal with Vanarama, lead sponsors since 2014, which runs until the 2024-25 season and was reported to be worth £4 million, or £1 million per season, when signed in March 2021.
The issue of cryptocurrencies in sport has provoked controversy.
Digital “fan tokens” were sold by the company Socios to clubs like Chelsea and Roma carrying the logos of companies in the sector which few had heard of before they signed huge sponsorship deals.
The cryptocurrency and NFT markets have been plunging in recent weeks, say The Athletic, while multiple NFT projects promoted by football stars like Paul Pogba, Andrew Robertson and John Terry have attracted criticism after they swiftly plunged in value after being announced to much fanfare, says the website.