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Benfica claims first with cryptocurrency venture

Portuguese Primeira Liga club Benfica has claimed a first for European football teams by agreeing a partnership with international payment gateway UTRUST to accept online payments with cryptocurrency.

In partnership with UTRUST, the reigning Primeira Liga champion will now offer its supporters the option of using cryptocurrencies to buy match tickets and the entire range of Benfica products at its official online store.

Domingos Soares de Oliveira, Benfica chief executive, said: “Our ‘benfiquistas’ make Benfica the unique and special club it is, and we recognise that many of our supporters are now digital users first so we want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting novel technologies and giving our supporters the best online experience.

“We are very excited about the possibilities that this partnership with UTRUST presents in the evolution of our e-commerce strategy and we look forward to accepting our first cryptocurrency payment.”

UTRUST has pledged to completely modernise the finance and payments industry by providing instant crypto-to-fiat conversions. Fiat money is currency without intrinsic value that has been established as money, often by government regulation.

UTRUST said this partnership achieves that aim by granting Benfica access to a wider customer base and offering a significantly enhanced online experience through the implementation of novel technologies.

UTRUST’s core technology will allow Benfica to take advantage of the increased security and convenience of cryptocurrency payments while protecting the club from market volatility.  It will also significantly reduce processing fees and eliminate credit-card chargebacks and fraudulent payments. Benfica will also be able to settle payments directly to its bank in fiat on the very same day they are received.

With the UTRUST platform, fans will be able to pay using the native UTRUST token (UTK) in addition to popular cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ethereum. Benfica’s official online store has already begun accepting cryptocurrency and supporters can purchase tickets, clothing and all other merchandise via Benfica’s website or dedicated app.

UTRUST co-founder and chief executive, Nuno Correia, said: “This partnership with Portugal’s No.1 football club marks a major milestone for UTRUST and the blockchain ecosystem as a whole. Benfica is one of the biggest sporting clubs worldwide and we are delighted to be making cryptocurrency payments possible for their 14 million supporters around the world.”

European governing body Uefa was the first major rights-holder to trial blockchain ticketing on any significant scale, in the distribution of all 10,000 general admission tickets for its August 2018 Super Cup match and a smaller number at the Europa League final the previous May.

Seats for both events were sold through the organisation’s usual lottery system but the standard distribution of printed tickets was replaced by a blockchain model the organisation wanted to explore, as a means of gaining control over ticket transfer and eliminating forgery.

Blockchain technology is said to be particularly relevant to sports venues and rights-holders as it enables them to control what happens to a ticket after its initial sale. They can specify a maximum resale price or prohibit its transfer completely. Buyers in the secondary market can be confident they are purchasing a valid ticket. A smart contract could also require the identification of all secondary purchasers or recipients of a ticket, enabling venues to know who its owner is at any given time.

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