Barcelona and Manchester City have refused to cooperate with two cryptocurrency projects
Two football clubs at once - Barcelona and Manchester City - have refused to cooperate with their cryptocurrency partners. The Catalan team cancelled a deal with NFT marketplace Ownix, while the British team cancelled a deal with analytics company 3Key Technologies.
On 4 November, Barcelona and Ownix announced that the football club would release its own NFT collection on the marketplace. It was to include key moments from the 122-year history of the organisation.
On November 18, the FA announced the immediate termination of the contract.
In light of information received today that contradicts the values of the club, FC Barcelona announce the termination of its contract to create and sell NFT digital assets with Ownix, it said in a statement.
The team made such a decision amid the arrest of Moshe Hogeg, founder of ICO start-ups Sirin Labs, Stx Technologies Limited (Stox) and Leadcoin, on suspicion of cryptocurrency fraud, money laundering and sex offences. He provided consulting services to Ownix.
Following Barcelona's statement, the NFT-marketplace said it had nothing to do with the cases related to the law enforcement investigation. Ownix stressed that Hogg's contract was terminated at his initiative - he is not a shareholder in the company and is not involved in its activities.
Manchester City, for their part, have 'suspended their partnership' with 3Key Technologies, which was announced on 12 November. The FA have also removed the press release announcing the agreement from their website - available via the Wayback Machine service.
As part of the agreement, 3Key were to become the football club's "official regional partner". It was about marketing cooperation, in particular, the parties planned to hold joint promotions and events.
3Key has positioned itself as a provider of technology analysis and consultancy solutions for decentralised finance. However, the public has had a few questions for the firm.
According to The Times, 3Key founder Oliver Chen said the company is "in the start-up phase with a product to launch in the coming months" and the partnership with FC is focused on regions outside the UK.
Chen's statement lists four other top 3Key executives, but there is no mention of them online. The company has a website and Twitter page, but there is no information there to prove its legal status.
Journalist Martin Kalladin tried to find the people Chen mentioned. He managed to get in touch with the head of the company who promised to provide confirming information within 24 hours. He then asked for another 24 hours, but missed that deadline too.
According to Daily Mail correspondent Jack Gaughan, Manchester City has refused to launch products related to the partnership agreement until it is satisfied that all regulatory requirements have been met. The FA will continue to investigate 3Key's activities.
As a reminder, Manchester City launched an NFT collection in May 2021 to commemorate the club's English Premier League win.