Messi, the crypto king

Lionel Messi’s involvement in crypto has made a few people, him included, a significant amount of money, but many more can consider themselves lucky if their investment held up.

By Philippe Auclair

"Art, like football, is eternal. Art is also evolving, and digital art is another way to connect with the fans. That's why I'm happy to be launching my first official NFT thanks to the efforts of BossLogic and Ethernity, who have designed these four series of collections based on their experience and criteria. I hope the fans will like them as much as I do." (Lionel Messi, statement to ESPN, 5 August 2021)

This was to be the Big Bang moment in the creation of the "Messiverse". It would not be the multiple Ballon d'Or winner’s first foray into the world of crypto, nor the last, but it felt different. Previously, Messi had done with crypto products what he'd already done with watchmakers, brewers, restaurant chains, fashion retailers, video games producers, credit card and sportswear companies, airlines, manufacturers of eyecare and shaving products, luxury luggage and potato crisps: he'd lent, or rather sold, his name to promote their brands. If serious money was moving into crypto, team Messi was bound to follow. The more risk-prone, speculative and unregulated an industry is, the greater its desire, its need, to associate itself with individuals or brands which will bring visibility and credibility by association; and who better to do that than the genius of Barcelona and PSG, one of the most recognisable names and faces on the planet?

Until then, Messi's involvement with crypto ventures had not gone beyond featuring in one-shot or short-term promotional campaigns, such as the one which saw him partnering with Seychelles-registered cryptocurrency excha...

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