A group of former FC Barcelona soccer stars and a couple of tech mavens have banded together to create a blockchain-based social network for sports fans.
Iván de la Peña played for the European superpower in the mid-90s. Carles Puyol won three Champions League titles in a 15-year career with the club. After both retired, they briefly launched a sports agency together. In 2016 they teamed up with another Barça star, Andrés Iniesta, scorer of the winning goal for Spain in overtime of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, to found Olyseum.
“Throughout my career with FC Barcelona, I’ve had the unwavering support of millions of fans worldwide,” Puyol said in a statement. “With the desire to expand the limits of real and genuine participation of fans, Andrés, Iván and I joined together to create a collaborative space for lovers of this beautiful sport and interact with users moved by the same feeling.”
The social network previously launched in 2016 in Spanish, becoming the most downloaded program from the App Store in six countries, according to CoinReport. The re-launch plans to expand its reach and to integrate blockchain. Olyseum will be managed by CEO Carlos Grenoir, a neuroscientist, and chief security officer Kevin Mitnick, a cybersecurity expert and re-formed hacker (Mitnick has spent five years in prison for computer and communications-related crimes).
Fans using Olyseum will be incentivized to contribute to the platform by reaping rewards such as exclusive experiences with athletes, high-demand tickets to events, and merchandise.
Olyseum is yet another example of how blockchain technology is being implemented in sports. Unblockable offers fans cryptocoins that can be bought, sold, and traded, and are representative of athletes and valued based on their real-life performance. Earlier this year, MLB and Lucid Sight began collaborating on a blockchain-based game called MLB Crypto Baseball. This week, the NFLPA picked up a minority stake in social streaming platform SportCastr, which also uses the blockchain. There are many other applications of this technology being developed, but whether or not it has true potential in sports remains an open question.
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