An exploration of what a decentralized football community can accomplish.
Like many people in the space, I started rabbit holing into crypto and web3 around the start of the pandemic. Since then, so much has been rapidly developed, changed and grown — keeping track of it all is basically a second job. As an outsider, I realize this all may sound and look crazy. People are leaving their cushy finance or tech job to build around fake internet money — “red pilling” as it has come to be known.
What really captured my attention was how web3 was changing the way we work and collaborate. The flexibility, the autonomy, the excitement around projects was and is contagious. It really does feel like we’re where the internet was circa 1998.
As many of us can look back on, there was once a sense of optimism in tech that web2 platforms — ie. Facebook & Twitter — were “democratizing” things for everyday people. But in reality, it was “access” disguised as “democracy”. We had access to share photos, tweets, crowdfunding, information and so much more. We the users gave everything to these platforms and never had any say in how they were run.
As creators, that is frustrating. After all, creators are the reasons these platforms became so successful. What if equity was distributed to the early adopters of social networks? The 100 photographers Instagram hired to use and set the standard of use for the platform certainly would have benefitted from it. Instead, we’ve accepted that turning over our data to be targeted by advertisers is a fair tradeoff for being able to use the internet.
Let’s turn to football (soccer). “Football without fans is nothing,” is a phrase you’ll see and hear often in this sport, but often it feels like a hollow concession from the top and is rarely backed by any real, substantial action from those in power.
Football is experiencing a cultural shift where many of the sport’s institutions are shifting their priorities away from what matters to impact their bottomline. Profitability is undoubtedly important in the business of football, but it cannot be the only measure of success. Sustainability, transparency, and institutions’ moral foundations cannot and should not be ignored in this pursuit.
Web3 provides an opportunity to return ownership in the sport to fans.
First, let’s acknowledge this: Ownership = Financial Power + Decision-Making Power. If we accept this definition of ownership to be true, then a football community built on web3 can capture more of the value they are already helping create.
From a club perspective — in the same way loud, passionate supporters contribute to the home atmosphere for their club, web3 enables supporters to contribute to their club in new ways and earn club tokens for their work. Whether it be creative storytelling, research, organizing strategic partnerships, volunteering on match day, or participating in governance voting — we’re seeing organizations rewarding members for raising their hand and getting shit done.
Financial transparency, member remuneration and the opportunity to gain financial upside by contributing directly to the community can redistribute financial power to football fans.
It’s worth noting that many clubs have partnered with Socios to issue fan tokens. While this is a big step forward for the broader adoption of social tokens, most clubs are using them in a very web2-type-of-way for fan engagement. Exclusive Zoom calls and picking the team’s jersey is fun and all, but it lacks real utility and ownership for fans.
Buying and operating a club is the sexy headline, but so much of football can benefit from web3 practices; grassroots fundraising, token/NFT-gated ticketing systems, smart contract management platforms, and player data & analytics, just to name a few.
Taking a step back from the club scenario, what’s the big draw to joining a football community powered by web3?
→ Decentralized ownership among the community
→ Financial transparency
→ Power to give real input in how the organization is run
→ Rewarded for early participation
→ Play to earn model
→ Choose how and what you contribute
→ Come & go as you please
Today we officially kick off our newest project, football.xyz, with the inaugural Town Hall. We’re a football DAO building a community to explore the intersection of web3 and football.
For football fans and creators who have been struggling to grasp web3, this is going to be a fun project to get started with. We’ve been constantly thinking through onboarding solutions for those who are new to web3 and would love to connect with you if you need a little help finding your way.
For the web3 native, we’re going to be pursuing areas of the sport that can be transformed by web3. We want to empower builders in this space to create real change within the sport.
I’m looking forward to see what this community is able to achieve together. If you have any interest in participating you can find out more about the project here. Or feel free to connect with me directly on Twitter. DMs are open and I want to connect with as many people in this community as I can!
More to come soon.