Sports Tokens Surge After Socios.com Gets Regulatory Approval in Italy

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The value of tokens catering to sports fans surged this week after a major issuer, Socios.com, said Thursday it had received regulatory approval to operate in Italy.

In the aftermath of the announcement, the Santos FC fan token shot up by more than 150% from its value the day prior, to a high of about $15, while chiliz, the fansite platform’s main currency, rose by about 12%. Also up were Paris Saint-Germain, FC Barcelona and Juventus tokens, which each gained somewhere between 23% and 29% in value from Wednesday to Thursday.

By Friday, the market had cooled slightly with chiliz and Paris Saint-Germain tokens giving back around 7% and FC Barcelona’s value dropping 5.6%. But the tokens remained well above their pre-approval ranges, signaling that Thursday’s massive pumps had at least some staying power with soccer fans.

Socios.com founder and CEO, Alexandre Dreyfus says the site’s regulatory approval has bolstered faith in fan token rewards, which, in turn, has driven surging token prices.

“Regulation builds consumer confidence,” Dreyfus told CoinDesk. “Fan tokens as a very powerful digital asset class in their own right [are] growing, and with increased confidence and visibility comes increased demand.”

Socios.com received regulatory approval to offer virtual currencies and digital wallets for its fan engagement and rewards platform from Italian regulators on Aug. 5, expanding the multinational company’s presence in southern Europe. The company, which currently serves 1.5 million users, has already begun making inroads in Italy, one of Europe’s largest sports markets, by partnering with football clubs AC Milan, Inter Milan, Napoli, AS Roma and Juventus to create team-specific fan tokens.

Global fan token market cap stands at just over $440 million at the time of publication, up about 97% from last month, according to data from fan token website FanMarketCap.