Lionel Messi to take part of his fee in Paris Saint-Germain's cryptocurrency

Argentine star's pay at French club to include fan tokens

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Paris Saint-Germain's latest star acquisition Lionel Messi's fee will include some of the French club's cryptocurrency fan tokens.

The Argentine left La Liga giants Barcelona and signed a two-year contract with PSG, with an option for a third year, on Tuesday.

The club said on Thursday that the tokens were included in Messi's 'welcome package', which media reports have estimated at $29-35 million. The club did not disclose the proportion of tokens in the package, but said Messi had received a 'large number'.

Fan tokens are a type of cryptocurrency that allow holders to vote on mostly minor decisions related to their clubs. Among the clubs to launch tokens this year are Premier League champions Manchester City and Italy's AC Milan. Messi's former club Barcelona launched one last year.

Like bitcoin and other digital currencies, fan tokens can be traded on exchanges. They also have a tendency to experience price swings, leading some regulators to issue warnings to investors about digital assets.

Still, several high profile business and entertainment figures have backed crypto assets, with Tesla boss Elon Musk, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and rapper Jay-Z among those to have shown support for bitcoin.

PSG said there had been high volume of trading in its fan tokens after reports of Messi's move to the club emerged.

Trading volumes exceeded $1.2 billion in the days preceding the move, it said.

"We have been able to engage with a new global audience, creating a significant digital revenue stream," said Marc Armstrong, PSG's chief partnerships officer.

PSG's token, which has a market capitalisation of about $52 million, soared over 130 per cent in just five days amid speculation over Messi's arrival to an all-time high of over $60 on Tuesday. They came back down to about $40, according to the CoinMarketCap website.

Updated: August 12, 2021, 11:17 AM