- Arsenal Football Club, a U.K. professional soccer team, signed a licensing deal with sports tech firm Fantastec to launch a blockchain collectibles app, per an announcement. The Fantastec Swap app lets fans find, collect and trade officially licensed club collectibles with other fans.
- The app also has authentic club content such as player autographs and exclusive video footage of the team. Fans who complete their collections can move toward more difficult levels of rarer items and more rewards.
- Blockchain technology, a digital ledger that keeps a shared record of online transactions, maintains a limited supply of the collectible items. Fantastec Swap is available on the App Store and Google Play as a free download.
Sports fans have a long history of collecting printed trading cards, but bringing collectibles into the digital era presents technical challenges considering that copying data is a fundamental function of every computerized device. Blockchain technology, which has gained fame as a technical underpinning for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, keeps a distributed record of digital transactions that's almost impossible to change. Not only can blockchain help to prevent fraud — such as in online advertising — but it also can limit the digital supply of cryptocurrencies and collectibles to ensure that they can store value.
Arsenal isn't the only brand to recently create digital collectibles for fans by tapping into the nascent technology. Sony Pictures last year promoted the release of "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" with a set of digital trading cards that relied on the blockchain platform Greenfence Consumer. Movie fans who visited a coupon site had to create a digital wallet to collect the digital scratcher cards and get a chance to win free movie tickets.
Blockchain technology is being incorporated into advertising and marketing in various ways. Freckle IoT, a multichannel offline attribution company, created a blockchain-based app called Killi that pays consumers cash for sharing their data and location or for providing insight about what ads they'd like to see. Similarly, Canadian messaging app Kik lets users collect the cryptocurrency Kin for watching video commercials or answering branded surveys.