Soccer star Lionel Messi’s signing on fee at Paris St Germain includes some of the French club’s cryptocurrency fan tokens, in the latest big name endorsement for new digital assets.
The Argentine, 34, left Spanish side Barcelona and signed a two-year contract with Paris St Germain (PSG), with an option for a third year, on Tuesday.
Confirming an exclusive Reuters report, PSG said on Thursday the tokens were included in his “welcome package,” which media reports have estimated at 25-30 million euros ($29-35 million). The club did not disclose the proportion of tokens in the package, but said Messi had received a “large number.”
Fan tokens are a type of cryptocurrency that allow holders to vote on mostly minor decisions related to their clubs. Among the clubs to launch tokens this year are English Premier League champions Manchester City and Italy’s AC Milan. Messi’s former club Barcelona launched one last year.
PSG said there had been high volume of trading in its fan tokens, which are provided by Socios.com, after reports of Messi’s move to the club emerged.
Trading volumes exceeded $1.2 billion in the days preceding the move, it said.
Like bitcoin and other digital currencies, fan tokens can be traded on exchanges. They also share in common with other cryptocurrencies a tendency for wild price swings, leading some regulators to issue warnings to investors about digital assets.
Still, several high profile business and entertainment figures have backed crypto assets, with Tesla boss Elon Musk, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and rapper Jay-Z among those to have shown support for bitcoin.
Fan tokens’ price moves can have little connection to on-field performance or results.
PSG’s token, which has a market capitalisation of about $52 million, soared over 130% in just five days amid speculation over Messi’s arrival to an all-time high of over $60 on Tuesday. They were last down 10% at about $40, according to the CoinMarketCap website.
(Production: Manuel Ausloos, Clotaire Achi)