French Football’s virtual NFT Craze

Fantasy football is not news in the virtually adapted world of today. However, a recently launched French fantasy football game, that sees players feature on collectible and tradable non-fungible token cards [NFT cards] has been announced as one of France’s most successful and valuable start-up businesses, after a recent funding investment lead to a surge in their overall value. 

Paris-based fantasy football game ‘Sorare’ was founded in 2018 by Nicolas Julia and Adrien Montfort, with the aim to feature real football players on blockchain technology cards, which can be bought using different forms of cryptocurrencies, in order to collect, trade and play their players. Each virtual trading card is registered on the Ethereum blockchain technology, similar to that of Bitcoin, which can be bought and sold like other tangible forms of property, and also acts as a certificate of authenticity, to ensure the buyers are aware of their genuineness and individuality. The NFT cards also keep a record of who owns and sells them thanks to their unique coding, the same traceable characteristic that is found in cryptocurrencies. 

Sorare recently raised $680million (£497million) thanks to a funding round that was featured within the platform, which has ultimately set a record for the highest valued sports based NFT platform according to NonFungible.com, a website that tracks the data in current NFT markets. The funding was headed by tech investor, Softbank, to which the president of the investor, Michel Combes, has expressed his excitement for the site’s future, by stating that the technology is the ‘new paradigm in the collectability, usability, and engagement of assets.” Ex-England international football player, Rio Ferdinand also assisted in the funding by putting money into the investment as well. Ferdinand is not the only famous football player to have aided in the funding of Sorare, as the site has previously received money from, famed player, Gerard Pique, and France’s very own Antoine Griexmann, who have also both invested in the company, taking the value overall to over €3.6 billion.

Players have the option to build their dream football team with a collection of 5 Sorare NFT cards, and can even compete in virtual tournaments for money contained in the form of the cryptocurrency Ether. Each players’ cards play in the tournaments based on real-life statistics taken from previous games that the player has participated in; lending an element of financial risk for those involved. The site claims to have partnerships with over 180 worldwide football clubs and boasts over 600,000 registered players.

Not every card on the site is created equal, with every football season seeing the addition of 1,000 limited cards, 100 rare cards, 10 super rare cards, and 1 individual unique NFT card; continuing the financial risk, as the cards’ values fluctuate based on the footballers’ real-life game results and performances. This also means that cards which feature famed and adored football players, like Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, will be bought and sold for more than players who are not as well-known

Since January this year, NFT sales on the site have totalled to more than €128 million (£109.8million), with the platform’s most expensive playing card being purchased for €245,072 (£210,000) in March.

CEO Nicolas Julia has previously discussed their choice to create the site and explained that it is due to the ‘immense potential that blockchain technology and NFTs have brought to football clubs and their fans’ experiences.

As the cards are NFTs, they can also be bought and sold on regular NFT market places such as Rarible and OpenSea.

The founders have also recently released behind-the-scenes information that they are in talks with Spain’s La Liga, in which they hope to have ‘something to announce’ soon regarding the Premier League, so keep an eye out on Lawdit’s Reading Room to keep in the know of any goings on concerning Sorare. 

If you have any questions regarding the above topics, or would like legal advice regarding blockchain, don’t hesitate to get in contact with the team at Lawdit for guidance.

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