Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi, regarded as one of the game’s greatest players of all-time, has reportedly made crypto fan tokens a part of the payment deal in his financial package with French club Paris Saint-Germain.

Fan tokens continue to be popular in global sports, with major Turkish multi-sport club Fenerbahçe S.K. completing an initial presale of 500,000 tokens on Ethereum this week, netting the club $1.75 million in 30 seconds.

What should you make of this? This is part of a huge hype cycle, so don’t read too much into it. “Fan tokens” are not a thing; there are fewer than 100 million digital wallets in use in the world, and only a small fraction of them hold NFTs (“fan tokens”). Importantly, you don’t need crypto currency, DeFi, or a blockchain to issue a fan token — you can simply use a QR code and a database; they are essentially coupons.

That said, there are a significant amount of real-world use cases for NFTs and associated smart contracts that (I believe) represent a bright future for fan development and long-term value creation. While this particular “brown M&M” demand may not seem all that important, it may well be prescient.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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