Category Archives: sports

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Blockchain Facilitates Tourism at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Two Tokyo companies are looking ahead to the 2020 Olympics with a view to using blockchain technology to share data in hospitality and tourism, according to Newsweek.

The two companies, Mitsubishi Estate and tech giant Fujitsu, are working towards offering blockchain secure data sharing in hospitality outlets, including restaurants and hotels, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. The hope is that the shared data, protected by blockchain’s security, will allow tourists to enjoy shorter wait times at restaurants, better hotel stays and a smoother experience traveling abroad.

Mitsubishi Estate manages 30% of buildings in Tokyo’s business district. Senior Manager Hiroyuki Okuyama pointed out that until now companies have been reticent in sharing information, due to concerns about data being leaked.

A trial is underway in Daimaruyu, a business district in Tokyo made up of three suburbs. There are about 100 buildings in the area. The area houses 16 businesses from the Fortune 500, which puts it on par with New York and London, according to Okuyama.

Construction has already begun on sports venues for the upcoming Games, and Okuyama is confident that the new technology is going to make for a better experience for visitors from all over the world, and should be fully functional before the event’s start in 2020. According to Okuyama, the collaboration with Fujitsu now allows the company to store, share and use data with confidence.

“The general user will not realize the technology behind this, whether it is blockchain or something else,” he said. “What type of tech is used is irrelevant (for the user), it should be irrelevant.”

He suggested that visitors lose valuable time at large events, such as lining up at restaurants when they should be able to immediately verify at any time how much seating is available, and alternatives if full. He commented:

“For us, we believe that people who visit the city, a comfortable and smooth stay is most important. Rather than going after that short-term return, we believe there is more we can do.”

Fujitsu senior manager Eiji Ikeda said blockchain would keep the data in the hands of the owners. “The problem with the cloud is that it is difficult to release,” Ikeda said. “With blockchain, companies can inject their data [while keeping control].”

Reports at the end of last year excited many crypto hungry Japanese, when it was announced that the Bank of Japan had backed a scheme for its own cryptocurrency to be up and running before the Olympics.

The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020.

 

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Lionel Messi Scores a Goal for Blockchain

Superstar Barcelona FC football player Lionel Messi has become the official brand ambassador for Sirin Labs, the company marketing a new smartphone called ‘Finney’ that runs on blockchain technology.

According to the BBC, the company is known for previously marketing an ultra-secure smartphone for a hefty price of $17,000, based on its ‘watertight security.’ The new device is reported to offer users, “… the first open source, secure smartphone and all-in-one PC’, that will run on a fee-less blockchain, “ now enabling investors to protect their bitcoin on their phones.

Sport is clearly beginning to look at what blockchain offers. Messi, who has expressed more than a passing interest in cryptocurrency has said previously that he has, “…been digging deeper into blockchain and decentralized systems.” Also, Spanish football club Espanyol, and ex-greats, footballers Roberto Carlos and Ronaldinho, all have deals with decentralized sports investment platform, SportyCo.

Blockchain technology is under the microscope in sport at the moment. Ticketing issues and touting has always been an issue for some of the larger football clubs with enormous gates. The BBC, in its report, argues that teams like Manchester United with a stadium capacity of 75,000 would have a “logistical nightmare” keeping track of the records attached to tickets sold. Michael Broughton, who is a football business expert at Sport Investment Partners says:

“If you put your ticketing system onto the blockchain, you can verify if people attended, or who they gave their tickets to. If people want to transfer these tickets to friends or others then it has to be recorded on the blockchain.”

He suggests that sport now has this great opportunity through new technology to be at the forefront of its adoption. It can generate better revenues and enable a better service for sports-goers and fans.

Lionel Messi is not the only major sports figure to endorse a blockchain product recently. The world tennis number two, Caroline Wozniacki became an ambassador for health app, Lympo, becoming the first female athlete to follow in Messi’s footsteps.

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Danish Hockey Stadium Renamed “Bitcoin Arena” by Billionaire Sponsor

The Rungsted Seier Capital ice rink in Denmark has been officially renamed the Bitcoin Arena in a move by co-owner Lars Seier Christensen and billionaire sponsor Niklas Nikolajsen.

“We have had a good year, and you would be of no worth if you cannot look beyond your nose tip and see how to contribute a little,” said Bitcoin investor Niklas Nikolajsen, translated from Danish.

The club, Rungsted Seier Capital, in Horsholm, 25 kilometers north of Copenhagen, were playing their home games at the Saxo Bank Arena last year prior to the new changes which were introduced at the end of 2017.

The club’s star player, Nikolaj Rosenthal, is now paid his salary in Bitcoin; as of December 2017, he became the world’s first sports personality to be paid in digital currency. The club made the announcement at the end of last year:

“Top Rungsted player Nikolaj Rosenthal will pioneer the switch from traditional salary payments in Danish Kroner to become the first professional sports athlete to be paid fully and exclusively in Bitcoin, paving the way for others in- and outside of the world of professional sports to do the same.”

A collaboration with Bitcoin Suisse AG, a Swiss-based financial service provider specializing in crypto assets, extends to other initiatives with Rungsted Seier Capital, with five different competitions launched enabling fans to win prizes of 0.1 BTC. The stadium will now display a new center logo, “a massive 9-meter diameter ice-covered gold and silver Bitcoin”, Bitcoin Suisse confirmed.

Payment terminals in the stadium now enable payment in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, and the season’s ice hockey pucks have been redesigned as Bitcoins.

Denmark has long been thought of as Bitcoin-friendly. It is easy to buy and sell Bitcoin in Denmark thanks to the numerous Bitcoin exchanges that operate freely in the country. Danish government legislators have indicated that their goal is to make all retail transactions digital and remove paper money by 2030.

 

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