When Saudi Arabia stunned Argentina in the World Cup 2-1 on Tuesday, the Middle Eastern nation’s fans rejoiced and sports pundits discussed every facet of the most shocking upset in the tournament’s history.
Oh, and ARG also lost a third of its value in two hours.
ARG is the Argentine Football Association Fan Token (ARG), one of many cryptocurrencies heating up in anticipation of the quadrennial soccer tournament, which is being played by 32 national teams in the Persian Gulf petrostate of Qatar for the next four weeks.
As barometers of sports teams’ performances, these tokens provide yet another way for fans to engage with the games they follow though the coins, and don’t always behave the way you’d expect.
Although Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in March, the Italian National Football Team Fan Token (ITA) gained 56% from Nov. 10 until Nov. 19. And the Peruvian National Football Team Fan Token (FPFT) surged by more than double over the same period even though its team also failed to qualify.
ITA tumbled 30% over the past four days, while FPFT slipped 25%.
Sell the News
The volatility was widespread. CHZ, the native token for Chiliz, the company behind the sporting fan tokens, surged 80% in the weeks leading up to World Cup debut on Nov. 20, according to CoinGecko. But the event’s first match — Ecuador beat Qatar 2-0 — appears to have been a sell-on-the-news event. CHZ has shed a third of its value since that day.
NFTs are also playing a role in the tournament. When Saudi Arabia won its match against Argentina, there was a surge in the price of an obscure NFT collection called “The Saudis”. According to data from Nftgo, the average trade settlement price for The Saudis NFTs is up 43% in 24 hours after daily trade volume spiked 1,000% over the same period.
As it happens, the Saudi Arabian team has not partnered with Chiliz to issue a fan token.
With Saudi Arabia set to play Poland on Saturday, you can bet traders are girding for more action in the NFT if the underdog team pulls off another victory.