There is no lack of ambitious projects in the cryptocurrency sphere. There are also plenty of ventures looking to partner the underlying blockchain technology and the sporting world. However, there are probably few enterprises that are doing both to such an extent as Libereum. With the motto "Fortes, Fortuna, Juvat" (Latin for "fortune favors the brave"), those at Libereum clearly realize they are setting lofty goals.
Founder and CEO Cem Kumlar certainly has no intention of lowering expectations. "The whole idea of blockchain is the decentralization of currency and is based upon the adoption of the masses," Kumlar told BLOCKTV. "I figured there is only one thing you can use to really get adopted by the masses and that is taking their favorite thing, which in this case is football, and making it part of a blockchain."
Libereum, based in the Netherlands, made international headlines after announcing the purchase of its first club Elche CF of Spain's second division. After raising almost $6M in a pre-ICO, and with an upcoming public ICO targeting just under $80M, Libereum plans to keep purchasing new clubs throughout the year, targeting 10 over the next 12 months.
Besides the 50 million tokens to be sold in the pre-sale and the public ICO, Libereum plans to retain another 50 million tokens it will use to continue purchasing clubs across the world. Kumlar said the company has already established connections with clubs in South Korea, Slovenia, Romania, and Ghana, among other countries.
"The owners of football clubs are not usually into crypto. In the normal world, crypto is a bad word. When you talk about crypto, everybody looks at you like you are crazy and they don't want anything to do with that," noted Kumlar. "But after five minutes of the presentation, the club owner was like 'this is exactly what I want to reach with my club and this is what I hope my club will become.'"
Kumlar believes even the fans who initially object to the takeover will ultimately be won over. "I expect them to be suspicious and be hard to convince because they are fans and they are in the club with their heart. If they wouldn't do that, we would be buying the wrong club," he explained. "But I'm very positive that once we roll out our plan and explain what we are planning for the future of the club, the fans that are critical about Libereum will turn around and become huge fans of Libereum."
Libereum predicts that it will become one of the top 10 cryptocurrencies within the first 12 months after gaining ownership of its first club. Libereum believes it will be able to do so by making its currency mandatory for sponsors, and by slowly encouraging fans to use it for payments in and around stadiums.
"We like to keep it simple. We buy clubs, make Libereum mandatory for tens of thousands of fans and that's it basically," the company declares on its website.
"We own the club and we decide how they pay," stated Kumlar, who has a successful background in marketing and has been involved in the crypto business since 2015. "Companies with money who were never involved in blockchain will become involved with cryptocurrency."
With Libereum's clubs to also request transfer fees in their crypto, Kumlar thinks the demand for the currency will rapidly increase. Local businesses will also be approached with offers to become official partners of the club, with the only condition being their willingness to accept Libereum as a means of payment. "Once they see that the value of Libereum goes up, we believe that everybody in and around the club will become part of Libereum and crypto in general," noted Kumlar.
"The owners of football clubs are not usually into crypto. In the normal world, crypto is a bad word...But after five minutes of the presentation, the club owner was like 'this is exactly what I want to reach with my club and this is what I hope my club will become.'" Cem Kumlar, founder and CEO of Libereum
Kumlar said they aren't aiming to become involved in the direct running of the team. "We are looking for quite healthy clubs that have a good management team. We are not looking to replace those people," he noted. "We think that what these clubs are missing is money to invest in new players, the stadium and youth department and that is where we come in."
"Our initial mission is to make sure Libereum thrives as a coin," he added. "We believe that running a football club should be done by professionals who have experience in running football clubs. By having the best people at those clubs, we know Libereum will thrive because the club will become successful."
While Libereum offers nothing new from a technological standpoint, Kumlar insists it will bring something even more important to the blockchain ecosystem.
"We decided that for the mass adoption of blockchain in the world, it would be better to add people to the blockchain, people who have never done anything with crypto or blockchain, than to invent a new technology," he explained. "Because you can add the most beautiful technology, but as long as people don't use it, it is worth nothing. We decided that it would be better to keep it super simple, and that way, we would be able to get Libereum and crypto adopted faster by the masses, rather than inventing a new piece of technology very few people actually understand."