Here is all you need to know about Crawley Town‘s new owners.
The group is headed by sports gambling analyst Preston Johnson and co-founder Eben Smith, a trader who has moved from derivatives to non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They will become directors of Crawley Town. They deal in data cryptocurrency and NFTs. The is also believed to include businessman Daryl Morey, president of National Basketball Association side Philadelphia 76ers, businessman Gary Vaynerchuk and TikTok personality Bryce Hall among others.
The Athletic stated: “WAGMI United is a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO), a group governed by computer coding — usually in the form of crypto tokens. Anyone who holds these tokens can vote on matters related to the DAO. The decisions are carried out by automated contracts. No middlemen, no bosses.”
WAGMI United have a website that states on the home page ‘Crypto’s Road to the Premier League’. On the website there is a contact page and a link to their channel on Discord – a messaging platform popular with cryptocurrency traders and gamers.
What is their business model and ambitions?
When they were in talks to buy Bradford City in December 2021, the Bradford Telegraph and Argus reported: “Under the WAGMI United plan, online investors and fans all over the world could purchase “a piece of the team” in the form of digital collectibles such as videos, photos or characters.”
Eben Smith told the Washington Post that the group would be “starting from scratch” – which would allow them to be “riskier in what you allow your brand to become. Then you can work with your community to figure out what it is together.”
The Yorkshire Post said: “Cryptocurrency is a controversial topic within football because it relies on a market which is hugely volatile and unregulated. Some clubs sell virtual “fan tokens” to bring in revenue, but WAGMI suggested they intended to go further as part of ambitious plans to buy a lower-league football club and take it into the Premier League.”
The i’s chief football writer Daniel Storey wrote on December 16: “On the face of it, and if you squint to avoid the deep set environmental, ethical and financial concerns about the rise of cryptocurrency, you can just about make a case for this as an ambitious ownership model. Rather than shares, supporters would own an NFT that they might generously interpret as a piece of their club. The WAGMI United group would then use the capital raised to fuel the club’s progress (they are particularly keen to invest in data analytics).”
What happened when WAGMI United put in an offer to buy Bradford City?
In mid-December 2021, in mid-December Bantams owner Stefan Rupp revealed he had received an email bid from WAGMI offering to buy the League Two club. The offer was rejected days later when Rupp took account of the backlash in some quarters to the plans.
In a statement, Rupp said: “On Thursday I received an offer from the WAGMI United group to purchase the football club. This has been rejected. A great deal has been aired publicly since the offer was made. This, as well as a number of factors which will remain private, has led me to this decision. As a proud custodian of this wonderful football club, my first and most important responsibility is to protect it and safeguard its long-term future, while upholding our values.”
“They also claimed that talks had been going on since early November – and that the German had agreed to a deal in principle before the news broke about their interest.
“Their statement read: “This agreement was non-binding and pending additional due diligence on both sides before finalization but there was an agreement. He’s obviously now had a change of heart but to suggest that he’d never heard of WAGMI United before Thursday or that no further action was taken following our offer is simply untrue.”
In February. the Yorkshire Post said Bradford and WAGMI United had agreed to make a joint “five-figure contribution to the Bradford’s Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit” rather than take their argument over the latter’s attempt to buy the former to court.
In a statement WAGMI said: “WAGMI United thanks Stefan Rupp for his leadership in arranging this opportunity to support such an important cause. The matter is now closed and both parties can move forward and concentrate on the success of their respective ventures.”
What is cryptocurrency and how does it work?
kaspersky.com says: “Cryptocurrency, sometimes called crypto-currency or crypto, is any form of currency that exists digitally or virtually and uses cryptography to secure transactions. Cryptocurrencies don’t have a central issuing or regulating authority, instead using a decentralized system to record transactions and issue new units.
“Cryptocurrencies run on a distributed public ledger called blockchain, a record of all transactions updated and held by currency holders.
“Units of cryptocurrency are created through a process called mining, which involves using computer power to solve complicated mathematical problems that generate coins. Users can also buy the currencies from brokers, then store and spend them using cryptographic wallets.
“If you own cryptocurrency, you don’t own anything tangible. What you own is a key that allows you to move a record or a unit of measure from one person to another without a trusted third party.”
What are NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens)?
Non-fungible tokens are cryptographic tokens that represent something unique. Unlike bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, they do not represent a mutually interchangeable commodity (in cryptocurrency’s case, money). This means you cannot part with an NFT and have it be replaced with something of equal value later, as you would be able to a sum of cash.
That means they are – by definition – non “fungible”; you cannot exchange them for other cryptocurrencies or goods, like you can with money. You can read more on NFTs here