Perhaps the biggest sporting event after the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, is on its way again. However, it could see unprecedented crypto adoption this year.
Prominent presence of crypto at sporting events
A big reason for this is the prominence of the crypto industry in sponsoring the event. The sponsorship of crypto in other sports also partly helps with this. Several crypto parties have chosen to sponsor the WC in Qatar earlier this year, including Crypto.com. They are one of the main sponsors of the event. However, it will provide exposure to the crypto exchange to an estimated audience of around 5 billion viewers. The sporting event starts on November 20 and will have 29 match days. That makes it the shortest World Cup in 44 years.
Crypto.com is one of the most successful platforms for getting promotional offers and arena naming rights. Although the advertisements were not groundbreaking in themselves, they provided a wider exposure to cryptocurrencies in general, in addition to promoting the crypto business.
Fans can make their own NFT
The payment company Visa is also a major sponsor of FIFA. Visa is also partnering with crypto parties such as Crypto.com to promote the upcoming event. Visa is reportedly auctioning off 5 NFTs of notable goals from various countries from past World Cups. The auction for these NFTs is open until November 8, and the proceeds will go to charity, according to Visa.
Fans will also have the opportunity to create their own NFTs during the event. For example, during World Cup matches, fans can participate in four-minute 6 out of 6 matches. These take place at a specially decorated FIFA Fan Festival. Built on top of this is an interactive playground that records their movements and turns them into unique GIFs in the colors of their favorite national team. Players can then choose to receive their GIF as NFT through a Crypto.com account.
The use of cryptos accelerated significantly
Although some crypto-awareness has already arisen in the last World Cup, many circumstances have changed since then. The previous World Cup was held in Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February this year. This has resulted in numerous (economic) sanctions that have isolated the country economically from large parts of the world. Many Russians have started using cryptocurrencies for this reason. This is to carry out (global) transactions or as a way to secure their money.
Despite this, it has also become more difficult for crypto exchanges to continue serving residents of Russia, also due to the sanctions imposed. Both the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) have imposed sanctions on crypto exchanges to ban users from Russia.
Meanwhile, the use of cryptocurrencies has also accelerated significantly in the region where the upcoming World Cup will be held. According to data sourced from Chainalysis, cryptocurrency adoption has grown faster in the Middle East over the past year than anywhere else in the world. Much of this has been boosted by investment in the United Arab Emirates, a Gulf country bordering Qatar.
With the establishment of a regional headquarters of some of the largest crypto companies in the world, the UAE is finally positioning itself as a global hub for cryptocurrencies.
Finally, the upcoming World Cup starting later this month could also be the last with 2 of the best players in the sport today. Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are both in their mid-to-late thirties, marking the end of their prime playing years for professionals. Still, their participation has increased interest in fan tokens from their respective national teams, Argentina and Portugal. Both ARG and POR fan tokens are up just under 50% in the last 2 weeks.