Published 5 days ago • 5 minute read

Why Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will Play a Significant Role in the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup

Why Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will Play a Significant Role in the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup 

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is around the corner, only a few days left before football fans globally start to enjoy this thrilling sport event. Unlike the previous competitions, this year’s World Cup will be held during winter instead of the normal summer schedule. Well, that’s not the only interesting thing about the much-awaited Qatar 2022 World Cup. This event also coincides with notable technological advancements such as Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which will likely come into play. 

Although the crypto ‘winter’ is still in full swing, Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have barely faded away from the limelight. Reddit recently announced it has signed up over 2.5 million new users since the launch of an NFT marketplace in July. This comes at a time when other crypto niches such as Decentralized Finance (DeFi) are struggling to survive, with the total value locked (TVL) dropping from an all-time high of $180 billion to $54 billion as of writing. 

NFTs’ Cutting Edge in the Qatar 2022 World Cup 

So, how exactly will NFTs be part of the upcoming World Cup? For starters, NFTs have over time proven they could be of fundamental value in many ways. Imagine a unique digital asset whose metadata can be stored on the blockchain to publicly prove on-chain ownership, no one can alter these entries, and it is much easier to track and verify change of ownership. This could be a huge value proposition in ticketing huge events such as the World Cup. 

But before diving into the details, NFTs will likely increase the fan experience in this year’s tournament through prediction play-and-earn games such as Pooky. Football fans who love to predict outcomes can sign up on this NFT-based game to get a chance competing against other players globally. Unlike the traditional web 2.0 esports betting model, emerging NFT prediction games are enabling players to own digital collectibles, alongside an opportunity to earn rewards and upgrade their assets. 

Even FIFA seems to be sold on the NFT idea, this global football governing body recently announced a partnership with Algorand blockchain to launch a unique NFT collection ahead of the World Cup. 

“Fandom is changing and football fans around the world engage with the game in new and exciting ways. This exciting announcement makes FIFA collectibles available to any football fan, democratizing the ability to own a part of the FIFA World Cup.” - Remy Gai, FIFA’s chief business officer. 

Ticketing of Sport Events 

The $6.45 billion global sports events ticket market is one of the sectors that is projected to grow exponentially, with a CAGR of 16.5% between now and 2028. However, we cannot say the same for the ticketing process. Many are times when fans are frustrated trying to buy event tickets to popular events like the World Cup. All because of native issues such as black marketing of tickets, customer trust and compromised secondary markets. 

This is where the uniqueness of NFTs comes in, what if tickets can be created as distinguishable digital assets and stored on a specific blockchain? Sport industry leaders like Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban are among the significant figures that have toyed with the idea. Last year, the billionaire said that they were considering to leverage the NFT potential in ticketing, 

“With the [Mavericks], we’re trying to find a good option for turning our tickets into NFTs. We want to be able to find ways so that not only can our consumers, our fans, buy tickets and resell them, but we continue to make a royalty on them.”

As much as it may seem like a far-fetched concept, the non-fungible nature of NFTs makes them suitable for creating ticket events, including for the World Cup. For example, FIFA could have launched NFT-backed tickets on a smart contract blockchain such as Polygon, enabling anyone with a wallet to buy and sell the tickets via trusted peer-to-peer marketplaces. 

Such-like tickets are fraud resistant in numerous ways because of the transparency and immutability of blockchains. By making sure the person presenting the ticket is the owner of the wallet it is stored in, it is possible to confirm that an NFT ticket has been purchased legally. An NFT ticket can also be destroyed upon admission to deter potential fraudsters from trying to use it again or sell it. 

Last but not least, NFT tickets advertised for sale on secondary marketplaces before an event may be easily validated, sparing fans the agonizing experience of showing up to an event with a bogus ticket.

Conclusion 

While it is relatively evident that most of the ongoing work in NFTs is largely experimental, this new crypto asset class resonates with several established industries. From gaming, entertainment to the sports industry, a good number of stakeholders in these respective sectors now acknowledge the underlying potential in NFTs. What’s left to see is how NFTs will transform important processes in burgeoning markets like sports prediction and ticketing. 

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