English Premier League Taps ConsenSys for Official NFT Partnership

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are fast becoming the latest arena for crypto and sports collaboration as England’s flagship football league and Ethereum developer ConsenSys partner on NFTs. The move comes as football stars join their colleagues in other sports to jump on the crypto-collectibles wave that seems to have cemented its place in pop culture.

EPL and ConsenSys to Partner for Official League NFTs

According to The Athletic on Monday (March 14, 2022), the Premier League’s management has approved ConsenSys to helm part of its NFT efforts. This approval came during the most recent shareholders meeting of the EPL board.

The EPL’s official NFT ecosystem will be split into two main categories — stills and videos — with ConsenSys being responsible for still image NFTs. There are reports that Dapper Labs will oversee the video NFT endeavors but no official confirmation has yet emerged on that front. Dapper Labs has significant experience in the sports-related video NFT arena as it is the creator of the popular NBA Top Shot NFT collection.

The EPL’s NFT whether stills or videos will reportedly be tradable among owners suggesting that the move might be tailored more towards fan engagement. According to The Athletic’s report, clubsides in England did raise concerns over intellectual property (IP) rights.

EPL clubs also reportedly took issues with matters related to revenue sharing as well as the reputational risk associated with a major franchise like the league entering into the NFT space.

Squabble over IP rights has become a major feature of the NFT space with some collections being slammed copyrights infringement complaints. Major marketplaces like OpenSea have been forced to delist popular collections due to these issues.

The EPL, however, maintains that its NFT efforts will be restricted to low-risk endeavors that are unlikely to run afoul of these problems.

NFT Market Set For Another Wave?

The EPL partnership with ConsenSys for NFTs is coming as crypto collectibles seem to be making a comeback in terms of popularity after a mid-Q1 slump.

In January, OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, recorded its highest monthly trading volume, reaching nearly $5 billion and breaking the all-time high (ATH) seen in August 2021.

LooksRare is another NFT marketplace that is looking to compete with OpenSea’s market dominance. In January 2022, the platform launched its native token LOOKS accompanied by an airdrop to existing NFT traders.

However, according to a report by crypto.news later in February, the company’s 7-day trading volume slumped 37%, following a phishing scam attack. Some OpenSea users lost their NFTs after receiving fake emails requesting them to move their tokens to other wallets.

According to co-founder Devon Finzer, internal investigations estimated the loss of the NFTs to be around $1.7 million. Meanwhile, one user, Timothy McKimmy who lost his BAYC NFT due to the phishing attack, sued OpenSea for $1 million.

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