Season-ticket holders at all of Scotland’s professional football clubs will be offered £100 in the cryptocurrency Scotcoin to spend at their club, elsewhere, or to hold on to as an investment.
There are 42 clubs in four senior divisions with an estimated combined season ticket holding of 250,000. So, if only one in 10 of them takes up the offer, the sterling value of the offer would be £2.5 million.
Celtic and Rangers, who faced each other yesterday, jointly have around 100,000 season-ticket holders, so a complete take-up would be the sterling equivalent of £10m.
Temple Melville is the chief executive of The Scotcoin Project, a community interest company, which is making the offer. He said: “The message to the dubious, or the suspicious, is that we are not asking for anything but, rather, giving away. And if you don’t wish to participate, then don’t.”
Anyone wanting to take up the offer will have to provide basic identity details, plus proof of owning a season ticket, as well as agreeing to abide by strict anti-money laundering regulations. The benefit for Scotcoin is the publicity, and an increase in distribution of the coin as well as capturing a large database.
The benefit for the clubs is that it’s a financial encouragement for fans to buy a season ticket, a club shirt or other items during a pandemic that is threatening to send many clubs to the wall. Also, if a club is discounting an item then the Scotcoins can make up the difference and give the club the market retail value.
Melville appreciates that trading in cryptocurrencies may be mystifying to clubs and fans. “We’ll see supporters or clubs through it,” he says. “If a club wants us to come in then we’ll set it all up for them.”
Neither supporters nor clubs will be charged.
Melville continued: “All clubs will be sent an email summarising the proposal and a representative will follow up and inform them of the level of supporter uptake and to find out whether the club wishes to take part in the programme.
“The idea is for clubs to take Scotcoins and give a discount, with the coins making up the discount.”
The coins (one Scotcoin is worth 10p at today’s prices) are bought and sold online digitally, similar to an online debit or credit-card transaction. Both parties – buyer and seller – hold the coins in wallets and the trade may, or may not, incur a small transaction fee, usually around 25p.
Banks are not involved and the exchange is done through a blockchain, the mechanics of which may be extremely complex, but the basic idea is simple: to decentralise the storage of data so that it can’t be owned, controlled or manipulated by anyone, be it a bank or an individual.
There is a huge daily trade in cryptocurrencies through specialist exchanges but it’s still the case that you can’t walk into Tesco or a high-street store and pay in digital coinage.
However, Melville cites Switzerland, where…