Global football star Ronaldinho is embarking on a bold new cryptocurrency venture. The Brazilian player's currency - the eponymous Ronaldinho Soccer Coin - was announced at the Blockchain & Social Impact Conference in Seoul in June. Hats off to him for trying something different, and looking to reach a broader audience with a massive post-retirement project. But will it work?
The project's website cites Ronaldinho's message - to deliver dreams, hope and smiles to people around the world, through soccer and music. It will do that by establishing a football academy, hosting amateur and global league matches and developing digital VR stadiums. There will also be a betting platform and a marketplace, which sounds only a little bit further from Ronaldinho's Utopian goal.
Crypto currencies have been in the headlines of late. Bitcoin had a huge spike in value at the end of 2017, but is down 66% from its peak. Research from February 2018 indicated that 46% of coin offerings launched in 2017 had already failed. Floyd Mayweather was one of the faces of Centra, before the token's founders were charged with fraud by the SEC.
The RSC project could be different. On the one hand, some of its innovative technological plans might (just!) depend on blockchain (or distributed ledger technology) and therefore have a real reason for using blockchain and a coin offering rather than conventional investment. The project might reach and appeal to investors who wouldn't put their cash in a stocks and shares ISA. It has an impressive team of promoters and technical advisers, and a very shiny website.
But a good ICO also has a really well-developed plan so buyers can see what they are buying and how their funds will be deployed. They need to be able to hold the founders to account, and trust that the venture is more than hope and dreams.
The RSC offering starts privately on 15 July; on 13 July the white paper detailing the real substance is still "coming soon". The website's ambitious roadmap suggests that this month there will be 2 stadiums in East Asia and a further five in South East Asia - but there is only a fortnight to go. It tries to give examples of how blockchain technology will be used - but the examples (like using a training programme) definitely don't rely on distributed ledger technology.
And this might be its downfall. At the moment, the key part - the real crypto connection - is missing. I hope that I am wrong, there will soon be a big reveal of a thorough and credible plan, and it results in a long-term, sustainable smile. I hope.