It was a genius marketing technique.
Whilst thousands had notifications on for Arsenal’s Twitter awaiting the announcement of Albert Sambi Lokonga, Arsenal dropped news of a new commercial partner.
The link up was with a company called Socios whose company moto is “Be more than a fan”.
They have spent the last 2 years linking up with sports clubs including Barcelona, PSG, Juvnetus, Atletico Madrid and now Arsenal.
Socios create a cryptocurrency on behalf of their partner team with the idea that you can buy said “tokens” which allow you to “own a share of influence of your team” and “help your team make the right decisions by voting on official polls”.
“That is fantastic” would be the initial thought of many. A partnership which gives fans more of a a say in what their club are doing.
But things are not that simple. And the partnerships are not good news for fans.
The crypto created for the club – in Arsenal’s case called AFC – can only be bought and sold with Socios own cryptocurrency Chiliz.
So before investing in AFC, you first have to buy Chiliz. With cryptocurrency all being about supply and demand, the more people buying Chiliz will result in that price increasing.
On the face of it, these link ups with clubs are just a way to pump the price of Chiliz upwards, which will make huge profits for the creators who probably still own the majority of coins.
Socios’s goal is not to give fans more of a say but to boost the value of Chiliz.
Then we get onto the “influence your club” side of things.
It creates a situation where you have to pay to influence the club. So you have the haves and have nots.
Want a say on what is happening at Arsenal? Buy AFC. Do not have AFC? You have no say.
And what are we going to actually be able to vote on?
You can bet it will not be decisions such as the European Super League.
The subjects of the votes are decided by clubs and tend to be very insignificant – such as what colour the club coach should be.
So you have a fan thinking that by buying AFC they will have influence over the club. But what they end up voting on is the colour of the bus. Is this influence worth paying for?
And then we have the darker side.
Crypto is a volatile investment. It is basically gambling.
Socios link up with Arsenal is encouraging fans to get involved in crypto trading thinking that they will get to influence the club.
The thing with crypto trading – like any sort of share trading – is the price can go up as well as down.
Crypto is notorious for huge fluctuations and for everyone that is making a lot of money, there are people who have lost a lot of money.
Anyone can buy AFC, it is not limited to just Arsenal members or fans.
So you will have the man on the Clapham omnibus buying tokens in the hope they get to influence the club. And on the other side you will have crypto traders, speculators, buying and selling to make profit.
A fan will be reluctant to sell the token of their club they love. It will be heart ruling the head.
So whilst the traders make profit, it will end up with the fans “bag holding” – A bag holder is an informal term used to describe an investor who holds a position in a security that decreases in value until it descends into worthlessness.
When Atletico Madrid won the league, the price of their coin was 190 Chiliz.
Since that point the price has declined steadily and now sits around 40 Chiliz.
What has happened is as Madrid closed in on the title, fans got excited and bought more ATM (Atletico’s token name). This forced the price to increase.
This then allowed the traders to hit their exit points and they sold en masse, securing their profits.
The result is Atletico Madrid fans now hold a lot of crypto in their club which is worth a lot less than what they bought it. And outside influencers made a lot of money.
“That is just crypto trading” is the argument. And I can understand that if we were buying BTC, XRP, ADA, etc.
Most people investing in crypto will do their own research first.
But the Socios link up with Arsenal is basically encouraging people to invest without doing their research.
It is “you get to influence your club” rather than “capital is at risk”.
The only people this deal benefits are Socios and crypto traders. Your basic fan who might invest in the hope of influencing the club will end up losing a lot of money.
Arsenal are reportedly making £2million a year for the deal.
They are selling out the fan base for £2million knowing it could ruin the lives of fans.
Arsenal are hiding behind the “have more influence” tagline, making the deal seem something positive.
If they wanted to have fans have more influence in the club, KSE would not have forced fans to sell them their shares, they would not have closed the Fanshare programme.
This is all about making money, not having an influence. And it will be others making money at Arsenal’s expense.
For more reading on this, check out @UglyGame on Twitter. There is a reason why Socios have blocked him…
As UglyGame says in the above thread, the Socios deal with Arsenal is nothing more than a cryptocurrency recruitment scheme and it is bad for fans