The Argentine Football Association (AFA) is partnering with non-fungible token (NFT) platform Ethernity to launch a digital collection to celebrate the upcoming Finalissima, a football match between recent European Cup and Copa America winners, Italy and Argentina. In addition to Ethernity, the AFA has previously announced partnerships with cryptocurrency exchange Binance, fan token platform Socios, and blockchain exchange Bybit. However, following the confirmation of the Binance deal this month, there is no sign of the other partners.
The NFT drop
The NFT Collection consists of two different digital designs that represent an iconic moment in Argentine football. The first features three legendary players who are no longer active, Diego Maradona, Claudio Caniggia and Sergio Goycochea. And the second piece pays homage to the players Lionel Messi, Rodrigo De Paul and Lautaro Martinez who contributed to the winning goal at last year’s Copa America. The scarcity and pricing of the collection was not disclosed.
This isn’t AFA’s first partnership with Ethernity. When the national team won the Copa America, they also partnered with the platform to launch a commemorative collection. Additionally, Ethernity launched a Lionel Messi NFT series titled “The Messiverse” which rewarded one lucky buyer with a signed jersey. The Messiverse has released 75 issues of four different NFTs, one of which currently sells for at least $3,790.
It appears Ethernity is becoming AFA’s preferred NFT partner for celebratory collections. Meanwhile, the football organization’s other blockchain deals are confusing.
Binance crowds out other blockchain and crypto deals
In May last year, the AFA became the first national team to launch a fan token through a partnership with Socios. The fan token platform also sponsored Argentina’s premier football tournament, naming it Torneo Socios last season. However, in January this year, the AFA agreed to a five-year deal with cryptocurrency exchange Binance for the organization’s official fan token, professional football league naming rights and global sponsorship. With the exception of sponsorship, the AFA granted Binance rights that were legally equivalent to those of Socios.
Socios responded by claiming breach of contract and taking legal action. Nonetheless, earlier this month Binance Approved It acts as an official fan token provider, league naming rights holder and global sponsor. Recent images show the Binance logo on the football shirts and website. There is no Socios logo. We reached out to Socios for comment, but didn’t receive a response in time for publication. Binance also has its own NFT marketplace, but it doesn’t appear that the service is involved in the AFA deal.
In another confusing move, Bybit, another cryptocurrency exchange and a direct competitor of Binance, announced in November last year prior to Binance’s announcement that it would be an official AFA sponsor. Bybit was supposed to present itself exclusively as a sponsor of cryptocurrency exchanges for two years, compared to Binance’s participation in fan tokens and five years. However, the company’s name is not currently listed as a sponsor on the AFA website. We have contacted Bybit to confirm whether or not the sponsorship will continue.
As for other blockchain sponsorships in football, Crypto.com and Algorand will sponsor the FIFA World Cup this year.