Crytpo crash: Barca and Man City pull out of deals over fraud suspicions

November 22 – The fast expanding but loosely regulated cryptocurrency business which has seen blockchain-based firms surge into the football partnership and sponsorship market has taken a major reputational hit with both Barcelona and Manchester City ending deals.

Barcelona have a dropped deal with Ownix following the arrest of one of its former consultants Moshe Hogeg who is also the owner of Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem.

On November 5, Ownix announce that it was partnering with Barcelona to launch non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that would be bought using the digital currency Ethereum. The NFTs would have allowed people to buy digital certificates of authenticity for virtual items linked to the team’s history.

“In light of information received today that goes against the club’s values, FC Barcelona hereby communicates the cancellation of the contract to create and market NFT digital assets with Ownix with immediate effect,” said a club statement.

Hogeg and seven other people were arrested last Thursday on suspicion of involvement in an alleged multi-million dollar fraud related to cryptocurrencies. Hogeg denies the accusations.

Man City mystery

Manchester City similarly dropped their partnership with cryptocurrency firm 3Key Technologies, which was also announced last week but with very little detail on what the partnership entailed.

Having announced the partnership last week, doubts quickly arose over the identities and efficacy of the 3Key Technologies directors and exactly what the company’s business entailed.

3Key Technologies were announced as an official regional partner is decentralised finance trading analysis, with their official website already listing 30 global partners and 19 others in specific regions. The company said it was to launch a product in the coming months and ots sponsorship covered ‘regional’ markets.

“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 enquiries,” said a club statement.

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