Gibraltar football team to become world’s first to pay players in cryptocurrency
The Gibraltar Premier Division may seem like an unusual entrypoint to the idea of cryptocurrency mixing with football but, as noted by The Guardian, the region’s finance sector is among the world leaders for technological integration and the blockchain, the permanent record of digital cryptocurrency transactions. Gibraltar United players have reached an agreement with the club to be paid in part by the digital currency next season.
Owner Dana says that the club adopting this method of payment could inspire others to do so which, he says, could help stamp out financial corruption in the game. He also stated that it has given his club the ability to pay foreign players who are unable to easily set up a bank account in Gibraltar.
“It was the first [place that] regulated betting companies 20 years back, when everyone was seeing them as horrible,” Dana says, suggesting that Gibraltar’s technologically literate environment is an ideal sanctuary for this idea to flourish.
“They put compliance and anti-money laundering regulations and created a platform – they have the intelligence to do the same with cryptocurrencies.”
Theoretically, transfers conducted via the blockchain would be free from taxes and charges often associated with other methods of payment, as well as a way to end illegal payments to clubs, agents or other individuals.
Cryptocurrency has become a major talking point in recent months, owing to a Bitcoin explosion which saw the value of the cryptocurrency rise significantly in a short timeframe. Several footballers such as Lionel Messi, Michael Owen and Luis Figo have partnered with blockchain companies.
In January, an amateur Turkish side became the world’s first to complete a transfer using only cryptocurrency. Harunustaspor paid a minimal fee for the player they acquired, confirming to many that the method would work in bigger-money, higher-stakes football also.