The Argentine Football Association (AFA)’s official crypto token, codenamed $ARG, plummeted 55% immediately after the team won the World Cup by defeating France, having begun the day of the final at US$ 6.02 and at $2.66 at the time of writing. Days earlier, $ARG had jumped over 70% after the squad won against Croatia, reaching a price of US$5.40 the minute the game ended.
The Fan Token’s market cap also fell after the final. It reached some US$19 million after the squad secured a place in the culminating match of the tournament. However, less than two days later, its capitalization was at just under US$10 million.
The token, part of the Chiliz.com ecosystem, was released in June 2021. It is backed by the AFA and available on the Socios.com website, which offers the official fan tokens for other football squads such as Manchester City, FC Barcelona, and Paris Saint-Germain. However, the Argentine crypto coin was the first one created for a national team. Socios.com also allows fans who buy $ARG to have a tokenized share of influence on club decisions. For example, in 2021 they released a poll for the token’s holders to choose the slogan that would be emblazoned on the plane and the bus that transported the squad to the matches. They also offered VIP access to River Plate’s stadium, the “Monumental”, in Buenos Aires, as well as signed merch and the chance to meet players.
$ARG was sold out just three hours after its release. 600,000 tokens were bought at a price of US$2 each.
“Argentine football must continue to grow, increasing its audience and global visibility. To achieve this growth, it’s important that we partner with global leading brands willing to work shoulder to shoulder with AFA in the same direction. We warmly welcome Socios.com to the Argentine league,” said AFA President Claudio “Chiqui” Tapia at the time.
After a sustained low, the crypto market continues to operate in an upward trend after reports on lower consumer price inflation in the United States improved the prognosis of Federal Reserve (Fed) rates going down. However, sports teams’ tokens seemed to play by their own rules, as the price of the Portugal National Team Fan token has declined by 35% after it was eliminated from the World Cup after losing to Morocco. For that reason, some fans expected the $ARG tokens to grow even more should Argentina win the final game. The opposite turned out to be true.
However, the fall might have been expected and natural. Its price grew mainly due to speculation and the interest the World Cup generated. After the championship finished, traders lost any incentive to invest and $ARG therefore plummeted. Investors who commented on CoinMarketCap called it a “scam” or a “pump and dump” scheme.
“I am not a believer in these crypto tokens. I don’t see any reason for investing in them,” Germán Guismondi, expert on cryptocurrencies and member of the CriptoLab cryptomining farm, tells Buenos Aires Herald. For Guismondi, fan tokens such as $ARG add volatility in a market that’s “already volatile”. “They’re linked to a sense of belonging more than anything,” he adds. “They are totally explosive.”