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English Soccer Club Crawley Town Signs Adidas NFT Deal – SportTechie

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Wagmi United, the group of U.S. cryptocurrency investors that bought English soccer club Crawley Town F.C. earlier this year, is partnering with Adidas to create NFTs for the team that fans can collect to earn physical and digital merchandise from Adidas. The brand is also now the kit manufacturer and apparel partner of Crawley Town, the first EFL League Two club to strike such a deal with Adidas.
Crawley Town’s first NFTs will debut July 6, with the collection designed and produced in partnership with Adidas. NFT holders will be able to vote on key issues facing Crawley Town, such as deciding whether Wagmi United’s co-founders Preston Johnson and Eben Smith will keep their co-chairmen roles with Crawley Town if it does not earn promotion to League One by the end of their second full season as owners of the team.
Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey is among the investors in Wagmi United, which finalized its purchase of Crawley Town in April. The group aims for Crawley Town to be known as “the internet’s team.” Johnson is a former gambling analyst at ESPN while entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk is also part of Wagmi United’s ownership.
FC Barcelona’s iconic soccer stadium has officially been renamed Spotify Camp Nou as part of the LaLiga club’s sponsorship with the audio streaming service. A mural featuring Spotify’s name and logo alongside Barca men’s and women’s players has been added to the stadium’s exterior.
Spotify reached its five-year deal in March to become Barcelona’s audio streaming partner and have its logo appear on the front of the club’s men’s and women’s jerseys, replacing previous shirt sponsor Rakuten. The Spotify app and Barcelona’s social networks will host audiovisual content from the team’s training sessions as part of the deal.
“The club and Spotify are looking to bring together two worlds that arouse special passions among their fans, namely music and sport, with an eye to creating new experiences that will revolutionise the fan experience and offer a single platform on which to connect players and artists with followers around the world,” reads an announcement from FC Barcelona.
Barcelona recently sold a 10% stake in its LaLiga TV rights for the next 25 years for $215 million to U.S. private equity group Sixth Street, which also owns a stake in the publicly-traded Spotify. The Spanish soccer club plans to play in Estadio Olímpico Lluís Companys for the 2023-24 season due to ongoing renovations at Spotify Camp Nou before returning to Camp Nou for the 2024-25 season.
Users of the expansive NFT marketplace OpenSea are victims of a significant data breach after a third-party employee erroneously downloaded and sent subscribers’ email addresses to an unauthorized external recipient.
OpenSea customers and newsletter subscribers have since received a notification from the company warning them to be wary of emails from unknown websites and to overly protect passwords and secret codes. OpenSea also vowed not to send emails asking for a wallet transaction.
The company, in a tweet, said, “An employee of our email vendor, http://Customer.io, misused their employee access to download & share email addresses with an unauthorized external party. Email addresses provided to OpenSea by users or newsletter subscribers were impacted.’’
According to data from Dune Analytics, more than 1.8 million users have made at least one purchase through OpenSea’s network. The most obvious attack that could be deployed is email phishing attacks.
OpenSea, which purportedly owns more than 80 percent of the NFT market share, was also subject to a phishing attack in January after $1.7 million worth of NFTs were inexplicably unavailable to users. In January of this year, the company also admitted that 80% of NFTs created for free on its platform were plagiarized
Sports teams to have sold NFTs on the OpenSea marketplace include the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics and Washington Capitals—just to name a few. According to their website, OpenSea also sells Sorare’s digital trading cards along with Formula 1 NFTs from Animoca Brands.
With its credibility at stake, OpenSea co-founder and CEO Devin Finzer made it clear on an early June blog post that protecting customers was of the highest priority. “We at OpenSea feel a huge responsibility to ensure our users are safe while also providing the most expansive, inclusive access to the NFT ecosystem possible.’’
Finzer also described the implantation of a verification system and a copymint prevention application. But the latest data breach has since created more doubt.
Portugal’s 2022 Primeira Liga Champions, FC Porto, announced a deal with Upland making them the first European soccer club to enter the metaverse. Upland is an open Web3 platform mapped to the real world in the metaverse. The club is bringing the roar of the stadium, pioneering fan engagement and empowering the communities of FC Porto into Upland system. The two are partnering to build the future of the soccer fandom in the metaverse.
Fans of FC Porto will get the chance to purchase NFT properties mapped from the real world like the construction of the clubs Estádio do Dragão (Dragon Stadium) and the launch of the first suite of NFTs of a European soccer club. Along with that, Upland will give the fans the opportunity to collect common and rare NFTs via fun and engaging game mechanics and activities. They will offer their NFTs in player-owned and operated shops located on their virtual properties throughout the metaverse.
The fans will get the opportunity to engage with this experience as FC Porto and Upland will roll out the first phase during the 2022-23 season.   
LaSource, a digital sports agency, has partnered with markerless motion capture and augmented reality startup Move.ai to help it break into the sports and entertainment industries. 
Move.ai, which is based in London and can capture data from any camera, has completed proofs of concept in soccer and video games with similar projects planned for boxing and tennis. The hope is to apply its motion capture technology broadly in gaming, coaching, biomechanics and fan engagement, such as through Web3 and metaverse experiences.
LaSource co-founder and chief strategy officer Jean-Baptiste Alliot previously ran the UEFA Innovation Hub. Its CEO, Samuel Westberg, has broad sports and tech experience including time at Paris FC, Greenfly, LiveLike. Move.ai is the second startup to join its LeStudio programme.
Major League Rugby debuted live sports betting on The Rugby Network this past weekend during its final games of the season. Matches livestreamed on The Rugby Network included on-screen wagers from Australian sportsbook PlayUp for viewers to place real-money bets directly through their smart TVs or other streaming devices.
The live in-game betting experience was available to fans located in states with legalized online sports betting. Interactive sports betting company Tappp facilitated the single-screen betting experience for MLR. This past weekend’s betting integration came in addition to the free-to-play Pick&Go on-screen game that The Rugby Network debuted with Tappp earlier this season.
Major League Rugby announced its partnership in April with Tappp, which will leverage activity data from its Pick&Go game to create an enhanced free-to-play and real-money betting offering for MLR’s 2023 season. Tappp raised $10 million in April and is having discussions with several broadcasters and sportsbooks outside of PlayUp to launch similar watch-and-bet experiences later this year.
Endurance athletes are now able to receive both personal and algorithmic intelligence coaching from triathlete pioneer Mark Allen, through the fitness company TriDot.
Allen, a six-time winner of the original IRONMAN triathlon event in Hawaii, has teamed with TriDot—a division of Predictive Fitness, Inc.—to unveil the TriDot Mark Allen Edition. The platform will provide endurance athletes with Allen’s and other coaches’ advice, alongside algorithmic intelligence that generates training programs in real time through wearables.
The algorithmic data is designed to improve athlete performance, monitor fatigue levels and reduce a competitor’s injury or illness risk. Predictive Fitness deploys AI, machine learning and predictive analytics to inform athletes, as well as the general public. Its subsidiary, TriDot, uses software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology to specifically optimize triathlete training.
Allen not only dominated the IRONMAN, but once went two full years without losing a race. He currently serves on the IRONMAN University Advisory Board and has been coaching for 25 years.
Toptracer, a staple of the Topgolf experience due to its analytic capabilities, has launched a more versatile and advanced version called Toptracer30 that will grade a player’s performance level.
Toptracer30’s technology, which will be available at participating driving ranges, will allow customers to swing their clubs in 30 virtual golf scenarios—nine different type of tee shots and 21 unique approach shots—to calculate a final assessment based on distance, accuracy and greens hit while approaching.
Marketed as a “bridge’’ between a driving range golf and on-course golf, the Toptracer30 experience will also give golfers real-time feedback after each shot to help them navigate the digital par 4 and par 5 course. After the round of 30 swings ends, golfers will receive an estimate of their handicap based on their performance. As usual with Toptracer technology, metrics such as carry, distance and ball velocity will be available.
Unlike Topgolf, where balls are embedded with RFID chips, the balls used for Toptracer30 will be tracked with precise camera technology. NBC Sports has been deploying Toptracer technology since 2019 to track shots during PGA Tour telecasts, while Topgolf recently renovated a green-grass course next to their new facility in El Segundo that lets customers experience Toptracer tracking on the par-3 10th hole.
Data analytics and visualization company, BaseballCloud has acquired Aqueti, which uses and optimizes a multi-array camera imaging system and video to data collection. Last year, BaseballCloud acquired ball flight data company Yakkertech. This past April, BaseballCloud and Yakkertech signed an exclusive, multi-year partnership with the Frontier League, a professional independent baseball league, to handle their motion capture and distribution rights.
With the use of Aqueti’s patented lens and micro camera modules and proprietary data compression software, BaseballCloud is planning to deploy the Aqueti technology alongside a new multi-array Yakkertech system with the goals of ensuring data quality, visual acuity and reducing system costs.
Aqueti cameras capture the images which then become interactive digital streams that their technology allows multiple users to manipulate. Their premier Mantis camera, a 19-lens camera with processors that combine images into a 100-megapixel frame, allowing users to zoom in to reveal extraordinary detail.
The NBA is among the latest investors in Zigazoo, a social media app geared toward children under 12. Liberty City Ventures led the $17 million Series A round that reportedly values the company around $100 million. 
Several sports-centric groups joined the investment in Zigazoo, including Causeway Media Partners, Dapper Labs, OneFootball and Animoca Brands. Serena Williams and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel are among the existing investors.
Zigazoo is a TikTok-style video app that includes activities for children and has noted interest in exploring new technologies such as Web3. It began offering NFTs in April. The NBA, which also invested in Nextiles recently, previously collaborated with Zigazoo on content during its All-Star festivities and the playoffs. LeBron James appeared on the platform through its celebrity reading series.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club has partnered with Roblox to launch WimbleWorld, a new 3D virtual world on Roblox that’s modeled after the Centre Court stadium at Wimbledon. Fans can collect in-game ‘Wimblebux’ to redeem for items from Roblox’s virtual Wimbledon shop to customize their avatars with digital merchandise.
Items available in the game’s digital storefront will span virtual branded clothing from Wimbledon sponsor Ralph Lauren, virtual tennis equipment and a digital edition of tennis star Andy Murray’s 2022 AMC cap. Users can also interact with Murray’s avatar in WimbleWorld, which includes a leaderboard and several animated tennis courts for users to play matches amongst their avatars. Virtual screens inside WimbleWorld will also display video highlights from the real-life Wimbledon tournament.
The Roblox metaverse already spans a virtual world from Nike while the NFL sold league-branded digital helmets and jerseys as swag for avatars. Both UEFA and NASCAR have also launched games on Roblox, which has more than 50 million active users.

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Starbucks details its blockchain-based loyalty platform and NFT community, Starbucks Odyssey – TechCrunch

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Starbucks is today officially introducing Starbucks Odyssey, launching later this year — the coffee chain’s first foray into building with web3 technology. The new experience combines the company’s successful Starbucks Rewards loyalty program with an NFT platform, allowing its customers to both earn and purchase digital assets that unlock exclusive experiences and rewards.
The company had earlier teased its web3 plans to investors, saying it believed this new experience would build on the current Starbucks Rewards model where customers today earn “stars” which can be exchanged for perks, like free drinks. It envisions Starbucks Odyssey as a way for its most loyal customers to earn a broader set of rewards while also building community.
To develop the project, Starbucks brought in Adam Brotman, the architect of its Mobile Order & Pay system and the Starbucks app, to help serve as a special advisor. Now the co-founder of Forum3, a web3 loyalty startup, Brotman’s team worked on Starbucks Odyssey alongside the Seattle coffee chain’s own marketing, loyalty and technology teams.
While Starbucks had been investigating blockchain technologies for a couple of years, it has only been involved in this particular project for around six months, Starbucks CMO Brady Brewer told TechCrunch. He says the company wanted to invest in this area, but not as a “stunt” side project, as many companies are doing. Rather, it wanted to find a way to use the technology to enhance its business and expand its existing loyalty program.
It opted to make NFTs the passes that allow access to this digital community, but it’s intentionally obscuring the nature of the technology underpinning the experience in order to bring in more consumers — including non-technical people — to the web3 platform.
“It happens to be built on blockchain and web3 technologies, but the customer — to be honest — may very well not even know that what they’re doing is interacting with blockchain technology. It’s just the enabler,” Brewer explains.
To engage with the Starbucks Odyssey experience, Starbucks Rewards members will log in to the web app using their existing loyalty program credentials.
Once there, they’ll be able to engage with various activities, which Starbucks called “journeys” — like playing interactive games or taking on challenges designed to deepen their knowledge of the Starbucks brand or coffee in general. As they complete these journeys, members can collect early digital collectibles in the form of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Starbucks Odyssey, however, does away with the tech lingo and calls these NFT collectibles “journey stamps” instead.
Additionally, a set of limited-edition NFTs will be available to purchase in the Starbucks Odyessy web app, which also works on mobile devices. Though hosted on the Polygon blockchain, these NFTs will be bought using a credit or debit card — a crypto wallet is not required. The company believes this will make it easier for consumers to engage with the web3 experience by lowering the barrier to entry. It also won’t complicate consumers’ transactions with things like “gas fees,” preferring to offer a bundled price.
The company is not yet ready to share what its NFTs will cost or how many will be available at launch, saying these are decisions that are still being ironed out.
However, the various “stamps” (NFTs) will include a point value based on their rarity and can be bought or sold among Starbucks Odyessy members in the marketplace, with the ownership secured on the blockchain. The artwork on the NFTs is being co-created by Starbucks and outside artists, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the limited-edition collectibles will be donated to support causes chosen by Starbucks employees and customers.
By collecting the stamps, members will gain points that can unlock exclusive benefits.
These perks go beyond those you can earn with a traditional Starbucks Rewards account and its “stars.” While today, members can earn things like free coffee, free food or select merchandise, the points earned in Starbucks Odyessy will translate into experiences and other benefits.

Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia. Image Credits: Starbucks(opens in a new window)
On the lower end, that could be a virtual espresso martini-making class or access to unique merchandise and artist collaborations. As you gain more points, you may earn invites to special events hosted at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries, or even earn a trip to the Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm in Costa Rica. It’s expected the very largest perks will be reserved for those who purchase NFTs, though lesser versions may be offered to those who earn their way up.
For instance, a paid NFT could offer the full travel package and farm tour, while an earned NFT could offer the tour alone with flights and hotels left up to the user. Starbucks hasn’t made any formal decisions on this front, however.
But what the company can say is that it wants to deeply integrate the program with its existing loyalty rewards, beyond simply using the same user account credentials for both programs.
Brewer says Starbucks is already imagining how some of the activities that earn NFTs will be connected to real-world Starbucks purchases, for instance.
In Odyssey, users earn NFTs by doing challenges, which might also include a real-world activity like “try three things on the espresso menu.” This would require the user to show their barcode at checkout — as they would if earning stars — to have their transaction counted toward the Starbuck Odyssey challenge. The company is still determining what mix of games, challenges and quests it will include at launch.
“But we’ll have experiences that do link directly to customers’ behavior in our stores,” Brewer stresses. Most importantly, the company wants to make gaining NFTs something anyone can do — not just those with money to blow on digital collectibles, as is often the case with current NFT communities, which price out the average user.
“There will be a lot of ways for people to earn [rewards] without having to spend a lot of money,” says Brewer. “We want to make this super easy and accessible. There will be plenty of everyday experiences customers can earn like virtual classes or access to limited edition merchandise, for instance. “The range of experiences will be quite vast and very accessible,” he adds.
Starbucks says it explored all the different blockchains for the project but landed on the “proof-of-stake” blockchain technology built by Polygon for this effort because it uses less energy than first-generation “proof-of-work” blockchains, which is more in line with its conversation goals.

Image Credits: Starbucks (opens in a new window)
The idea to enter into the world of web3 makes sense for a company known for taking advantage of emerging technologies and making them more approachable and easy for consumers to access. In years past, Starbucks introduced Wi-Fi in its stores to encourage customers to spend more time during visits. It also pushed the idea of mobile wallets long before Apple Pay became ubiquitous. And it made mobile ordering the norm well ahead of the COVID pandemic, when other restaurant chains picked it up.
But one criticism leveraged against many traditional businesses when they enter the web3 market is that they’re approaching it as a marketing stunt, not a real endeavor. Starbucks, of course, argues that’s not the case here — but only time will tell how serious its interest may be.
“We’re bullish on the future of these technologies enabling experiences that were not possible before,” Brewer claims. The intention is to be flexible and move with the customers as the web3 market changes, he explains. “It’s really important that we’re looking at it for the long-term,” he continues. “But, given that we’re plugging it into our industry-leading, massive scale rewards program — we’re committed,” he says.
The company says its web3 platform will open its waitlist (waitlist.starbucks.com) on September 12 and will launch later in the year. It will remove the waitlist and open the platform more broadly sometime next year.

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Tyler Hobbs' Fidenza NFT Project Gets $1M Pump Over 48 hours – CoinDesk

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DOJ Asks Congress for Tools to Limit NFT Money-Laundering Risk – PYMNTS.com

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Down at the very bottom of the crypto crime report the Justice Department issued last week was a request that could make it a lot harder to buy and sell NFTs.
Citing examples of criminals using the sale of the popular nonfungible tokens that hold art, video, music and collectibles to launder funds, the Justice Department asked Congress to define some of all NFTs as “value that substitutes for currency” under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
Doing so, it said in “The Role of Law Enforcement in Detecting, Investigating, and Prosecuting Criminal Activity Related to Digital Assets,” would “make clear that its key [anti-money-laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terror (CFT)] provisions — including the obligations to have customer identification programs and report suspicious transactions to regulators — apply to NFT platforms, including online auction houses and digital art galleries.”
See also: DOJ Seeks to Double Jail Time for Money Transmission Crimes
The impetus, the department said, is the “explosive growth in the demand and corresponding markets for NFTs, perhaps most notably in the area of digital art.”
Substantial Risk
This “presents substantial money-laundering risks,” it said, citing a February Treasury Department study on money laundering in the broader art market.
“NFTs can be used to conduct self-laundering, a sequence in which criminals purchase an NFT with illicit funds and then resell to a purchaser who pays for it with clean funds unconnected to a prior crime,” that report noted.
It also found that in most cases, “digital assets that are unique, rather than interchangeable, and that are used in practice as collectibles rather than as payment or investment instruments … are generally not considered to be virtual assets under [international regulations].”
The “nonfungible” part of NFT means that each is unique and cannot substitute for any other, as opposed to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin which all have the same uses and value.
NFT marketplaces “may take the view that this definition [of a ‘value that substitutes for currency’] does not apply to their activities — and that they are thus not subject to the BSA’s anti money-laundering and anti-terrorism laws, the department said.
Justice is asking Congress to amend the BSA “to make clear that its key AML/CFT provisions — including the obligations to have customer identification programs and report suspicious transactions to regulators — apply to NFT platforms, including online auction houses and digital art galleries.”
Already There
Redefining NFTs as “value that substitutes for currency” would allow the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit (FinCEN) to “potentially seek to regulate such activity under its money transmission regime,” a trio of lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom wrote in an April blog post.
That, according to Jamie Boucher, Eytan Fisch and Javier Urbina, would require NFT marketplaces to register as money services businesses (MSB) with FinCEN.
Some types of NFTs — notably those used to fractionalize tangible assets like physical artworks and real estate, but also other valuable art or collectible tokens — are likely securities, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said.
See more: How Did NFTs Become SEC’s Newest Crypto Target?
In FinCEN’s view, the trio noted, those can be repurposed to fit the definition of “value that substitutes for currency” and thus may already require MSB licenses.
 
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