Gibraltar is living up to its growing reputation as a European driving force in cryptocurrency adoption as a premier league football team shows a willingness to be paid in digital currency.
Gibraltar United’s owner Pablo Dana, who is an investor in the digital currency Quantacoin, hopes that the move will encourage foreign players who will easily be able to set up banking in Gibraltar, and suggests that it could also go some way to stamping out corruption in the game.
Dana is impressed with Gibraltar’s forward-thinking approach to cryptocurrency within its push to promote fintech on the island. He commented:
“It was the first [place that] regulated betting companies 20 years back when everyone was seeing them as horrible…They put compliance and anti-money laundering regulations and created a platform – they have the intelligence to do the same with cryptocurrencies.”
Introducing crypto payments for footballers would essentially be via the blockchain and free from taxes and charges, ending illegal payments to clubs or middlemen. In January, an amateur Turkish side, Harunustaspor, became the world’s first football team to complete a transfer using just cryptocurrency.
There are numerous advantages to integrating cryptocurrencies into sporting salary schemes, apart from reducing the frequency of cash-under-the-table deals as Italian-born Dana alludes to. Consequently, the London Football Exchange (LFE) is looking into token-based schemes. Head of partnerships for the LFE wants to create just such a community in order to “enable clubs to have a direct connection with fans in a frictionless marketplace”.
As a result, the LSE has announced agreements with two teams, Italian team Bari and Madrid based Alcobendas, whereby fans can buy into the clubs using cryptocurrency to gain some equity, as well as a say in the clubs’ future.
Gibraltar aims to lure new and existing fintech companies to its shores, following in the footsteps of other European countries such as Malta and Switzerland, both of which have seen the arrival of major cryptocurrency players Binance and Bitmain in recent months. A subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) is aiming to become one of the first licensed and regulated crypto exchanges operated by an EU stock exchange.
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