This week, a Turkish soccer team, Harunustaspor use bitcoin to sign their newest player. The tiny Turkish soccer team has become the first in the world to purchase a payer using Bitcoin (BTC) or any cryptocurrency, making history.
Club president Haldun Şehit proposed the deal, which amounts to a total of $1,197 USD, to player Ömer Faruk Kıroğlu, who agreed to play until the end of the season. The total amount comprises of 0.0524 BTC ($522.24 USD at the time of writing), and a further equivalent of $664.80 USD in cash.
The deal is very small in comparison to what happens in other national leagues such as the UK’s Premier League, where signings regularly go for the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars. Indeed, Harunustaspor does not even compete in Turkey’s top football league, currently playing in the first division of Sakarya Amateur League. Yet today’s deal is still globally significant within the sport, which has been increasingly involved in cryptocurrency in recent weeks. Only last week, Arsenal signed a partnership deal with Cashbet Coin. Meanwhile, the London Football Exchange announced plans to launch its own cryptocurrency. With this in mind, Harunustapor’s offer may be small financially but it’s a huge step in terms of how digital currencies operate within sports.
Quoted in Turkish-Football, Mr. Şehit said of the deal: “This is a first in Turkey and the world, and we are proud of this achievment.” Meanwhile, transferee Kıroğlu said: “This is the future. As someone open to new technology it made sense.”
So what will happen going forward? No-one can really say. It could be that Harunustapor will be iconically known as the first soccer team to engage in a Bitcoin-based transfer. It could also mark the sport’s embrace of a new or alternative financial system. Or, it could simply blow over while things will carry on as usual. It’s hard to say, yet despite Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, in general, suffering big losses the past few weeks, soccer and other sports have embraced digital currency in some surprising and unlikely ways. An ICO token sale promoted by champion boxer Floyd Mayweather raised $30 million USD last year, while fans of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team will be able to purchase game tickets with Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) next season.
This is not the first time that Turkey has pioneered cryptocurrency usage. Last month, it became the first country to settle a freight deal in Bitcoin between itself and a Russian ship delivering wheat.
Do you think this is the start of a new way forward for sports teams, or will it prove to be just a trend?
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