Less than ten weeks after putting pen to paper on the contract, Manchester City have pulled the plug on their sponsorship deal with the mysterious cryptocurrency outfit 3Key Technologies.
The start-up firm had no internet presence, had barely scraped together a website by the time the deal with the Premier League champions was agreed, and web searches for their named directors revealed no results.
It led many to suggest that the club had been duped somewhat, and while those behind the operation claim it is legit – their own website hints at some kind of generalised blockchain service for businesses being offered – there was still plenty of cynicism about their intentions.
An outcry from City supporters led club officials to temporarily suspend the sponsorship deal while further due diligence was carried out.
“Prompted by the club’s interactions with 3Key Technologies in recent days, Manchester City is now conducting further enquiries regarding 3Key Technologies and the partnership has been suspended pending satisfactory resolution to all of those inquiries,” a spokesperson confirmed back in November.
And in the early hours of this morning, it was confirmed that the ‘global partnership’ has now been terminated.
It’s not the club’s only foray into cryptocurrencies, with their $CITY fan token – powered by the controversial Socios platform – allowing supporters to invest in their beloved outfit while voting on such crucial matters as the design of a fan wall for the Community Shield game at the start of the 2021/22 campaign, plus their favourite ‘moment of the season’ from their title-winning effort last term.
No Currency Here.
Those fearing the increasing influence of the unregulated crypto market on football were given a boost in December.
League Two side Bradford City turned down a takeover approach from a US firm that lists crypto, DeFi and NFTs as its primary source of investment.
The WAGMI United Group was planning to fund the acquisition solely in cryptocurrency, and had revealed ambitious plans to allow the Bantams’ supporters to invest in the club via an exclusive NFT art collection.
But Bradford chairman Stefan Rupp rejected the offer within a matter of days, citing ‘private factors’ in his decision.
? | Chairman Stefan Rupp has provided an update to supporters, following a recent offer to purchase Bradford City AFC.
— Bradford City AFC (@officialbantams) December 18, 2021
“On Thursday I received an offer from the WAGMI United group to purchase the football club. This has been rejected,” Rupp confirmed in a press release to fans.
“A great deal has been aired publicly since the offer was made. This, as well as a number of factors which will remain private, has led me to this decision.
“As a proud custodian of this wonderful football club, my first and most important responsibility is to protect it and safeguard its long-term future, while upholding our values.
“I, and certainly no one else connected to this football club, is actively trying to promote its sale, and my commitment has not changed.”
WAGMI United, which is thought to include Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey amongst its investors, will now likely turn their attention to another club in order to break into the beautiful game.