The Argentinian Football Association (AFA) is partnering with non-fungible token (NFT) platform Ethernity to launch a digital collection for the celebration of the upcoming Finalissima, a football match between the most recent European Cup and Copa America winners, Italy and Argentina. Besides Ethernity, the AFA has previously announced partnerships with cryptocurrency exchange Binance, fan token platform Socios, and Bybit exchange in the blockchain space. However, following this month’s confirmation of the Binance deal, there’s no sign of the other partners.
The NFT collection will be composed of two different digital designs representing an iconic moment in Argentinian football. The first depicts three legendary players who are no longer active, Diego Maradona, Claudio Caniggia, and Sergio Goycochea. And the second piece is in homage to players Lionel Messi, Rodrigo De Paul, and Lautaro Martinez, who helped score the winning goal at last year’s Copa America. The scarcity and pricing of the collection was not disclosed.
This is not AFA’s first partnership with Ethernity. When the national team won the Copa America, it also partnered with the platform for the launch of a commemorative collection. In addition, Ethernity launched an NFT series of Lionel Messi titled “The Messiverse,” which awarded one lucky buyer with a signed jersey. “The Messiverse” dropped 75 editions of four different NFTs, one of which is currently selling for a minimum of $3,790.
It seems that Ethernity is becoming AFA’s go-to NFT partner for celebratory collections. Meanwhile, the football organization’s other blockchain deals are confusing.
In May of last year, the AFA became the first national team to launch a fan token through a partnership with Socios. The fan token platform also sponsored Argentina’s main football tournament and named it Torneo Socios this past season. However, in January this year, the AFA agreed to a five-year deal with cryptocurrency exchange Binance for the organization’s official fan token, naming rights of the professional football league, and global sponsorship. With the exception of the sponsorship, the AFA granted Binance rights that legally corresponded to Socios’.
Socios responded by claiming a breach of contract and pursuing legal action. Nevertheless, earlier this month Binance confirmed it is proceeding as the official fan token provider, league naming rights holder, and global sponsor. Recent images show the Binance logo on the football jerseys and website. There’s no Socios logo. We contacted Socios for comment but didn’t receive a response in time for publication. Binance also has its own NFT marketplace, but it doesn’t appear that the service is involved in the AFA deal.
In another confusing move, Bybit, another cryptocurrency exchange and a direct competitor for Binance, announced it would be an official AFA sponsor in November last year, before the Binance announcement. Bybit was to present itself solely as a cryptocurrency exchange sponsor for two years, compared to Binance’s involvement with fan tokens and five years. However, the company’s name is not currently on the AFA website as a sponsor. We contacted Bybit to confirm whether or not the sponsorship is proceeding.
As for other blockchain sponsorships in football, Crypto.com and Algorand will be sponsoring FIFA’s World Cup this year.
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