Two football clubs at once - Barcelona and Manchester City - have stopped cooperating with their partners from the cryptocurrency sphere. While the La Liga club canceled their deal with the Ownix NFT marketplace, England’s leading football club suspended their partnership with the analytical company 3Key Technologies.
FC Barcelona cancels Ownix deal
On November 4, Barcelona and Ownix announced that the football club will launch their own NFT collection on the marketplace. It was supposed to include key moments from the 122-year history of the organization.
On November 18, FC announced the immediate termination of the contract.
“In light of the information received today, which is contrary to the values of the club, FC Barcelona announces the termination of the contract for the creation and sale of digital assets of NFT with the company Ownix,” - said in a statement.
The team made a similar decision amid the arrest of the founder of ICO startups Sirin Labs, Stx Technologies Limited (Stox), and Leadcoin Moshe Hogeg on suspicion of cryptocurrency fraud, money laundering, and sexual crimes. He provided consulting services to Ownix.
After Barcelona's statement, the NFT marketplace said it had nothing to do with the cases involving the law enforcement investigation. Ownix stressed that the contract with Hogeg was terminated on his initiative - he is not a shareholder of the company and does not participate in its activities.
1/5 Siguiendo varias publicaciones con respecto al señor Moshe Hogeg, la empresa Ownix declara que no tiene nada que ver con el asunto. Es más, Ownix anuncia que va a terminar el acuerdo de consulta con el señor Hogeg y esto según su pedido lo que se había coordinado con Ownix.— ownix (@Ownix_nft) November 18, 2021
Manchester City 3key Technologies partnership suspended
Manchester City, in turn, "suspended its partnership" with 3Key Technologies, which was announced on November 12. FC also removed a press release announcing the agreement from its website, which is available through the Wayback Machine.
As part of the current agreement, 3Key was to become the "official regional partner" of the football club. It was about marketing cooperation, in particular, the parties planned to conduct joint promotions and events.
3Key positions itself as a provider of technology analysis and consulting solutions in the field of decentralized finance. However, the public raised several questions for the firm.
According to The Times, 3Key founder Oliver Chen said the company is "in a startup phase with a product due to launch in the coming months" and the partnership with FC is targeting regions outside the UK.
Chen's statement lists four other top 3Key executives, but there is no online mention of them. The company has a website and a Twitter page, but it does not provide information proving its legal status.
The journalist Martin Calladin tried to find the people Chen had indicated. He managed to get in touch with the head of the company, who promised to provide confirmation information within 24 hours. Then he asked for another day but missed that deadline too.
At this stage, the only explanation that now makes sense to me is that 3Key simply isn't an authentic firm. How City came to partner with them remains unclear.— Martin Calladine (@uglygame) November 19, 2021
According to Daily Mail correspondent Jack Gogan, Manchester City has abandoned the launch of products linked to the partnership agreement until it is satisfied that all regulatory requirements are met. FC will continue to study 3Key's activities.
Manchester City suspend partnership with "3Key", a start-up cryptocurrency firm whose executives do not seem to appear on internet searches. Partnership was announced last week. pic.twitter.com/Hi02Z2IxAR— Jack Gaughan (@Jack_Gaughan) November 19, 2021
As a reminder, in March 2021, Manchester City launched a blockchain-based fan token that will provide fans with unique digital and real-life rewards.
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