Wednesday, February 21

Iqoniq, the cryptocurrency company that deceived LaLiga and owes almost 1 million to Real Sociedad

Karim Atilla e Iqoniq have put the reputation of cryptocurrencies as a viable option for the world of football in a dilemma. One of the ways of economic salvation of the FC Barcelona it is at the most critical moment of credibility after what is happening with this project that has recently been liquidated. Although from the platform they assure that they are going to change venues and start over, the reality is that they have left a trail of debts with clubs and other sports entities.

Iqoniq’s financial problems have left Crystal Palace, Bayer Leverkusen Y AS Roma without sponsors for the sleeve of their shirts, as well as with economic debts. But the problem is in the situation of the football clubs The League and the organization itself. The Real society dropped its sponsorship last season, the deal with the Valencia also broke and the national championship, which signed with them for three years in 2020, made the Iqoniq name disappear.

Iqoniq’s promise to create a new community through an application that has only seen the light for “partners”, according to the platform, has also taken away the investment that the general public had made in its project. They put 250,000,000 million tokens up for sale in four tranches divided by weeks, in which they could be purchased for a price from €0.10 to €0.16. A year ago the token had a value of €0.20, but this has fallen to €0.0036.

The liquidation of the company is a fact, although it continues to promise on its website that the application will be launched in 2022. Spain Agreements with token companies, cryptocurrencies and NFTs continue to appear, just like in the rest of the football universe. Meanwhile, the need to regulate this market is becoming more pressing to avoid situations of non-payment such as the ones that several clubs on the European scene have experienced with Iqoniq.

ripped off clubs

Iqoniq has owed him 850,000 euros, as reflected in the accounts of 2020/2021. The entity has opened the judicial process to get these amounts returned to them, although after the liquidation they know that it will be complicated. The fact that the company itself is still alive is a hope for the team white-blue get this money for the main sponsorship of the jersey of a historic season: sales of the jersey in store reached the highest figure in its history after winning the Copa del Rey.

He did not leave defaults on LaLiga, but it arrived in 2020 between promises to “promote the content and information” of the competition and left without pain or glory. “LaLiga fans will find in the Iqoniq app a place with exclusive content and experiences”, assured the organization. That alliance framed as a “Global Fan Engagement Licensed Partner”, which came as a solid project, disappeared in 2021 like most platform agreements within the world of sports.

Óscar Mayo and the person in charge of Iqoniq sign the contract for three years.


The company heroically closed many deals when it rose to fame. Among them were also clubs of the Premier League, such as Crystal Palace who suspended their agreement when Iqoniq did not make a payment in February 2021. Despite these problems, he continued to carry out associations with more entities such as Bayer Leverkusen in July. Still, this association lasted only a couple of months and was blown up like the others.

In France They also landed from Monaco, a club with which they also had an agreement and where their headquarters are located, to Marseille Olympic. The collaboration sparked a bitter controversy as French regulations do not allow initial cryptocurrency offerings to be sponsored. The company defended itself by explaining that they are not cryptocurrencies as such, but that they are “utility tokens” to trade within the application. The two deals also fell apart.

In July 2021, the agreement with his only team in the A league: AS Rome. The same as in Russia the name of Iqoniq stopped appearing on the back of the jersey of the Zenit. For its part, the Euroleague continues to maintain its agreement. In fact, the company uses the shields of the clubs that play the competition on its website, naming them partners.

In the last season this sponsorship also appeared between teams from Formula 1 What McLaren, Alfa Romeo The Williams. Given all this, Atilla assures that they are working with other investors and looking for ways to pay the corresponding amount, even losing personal money.

“Covid-19 problems”

The head of Iqoniq attributed all these economic problems to “Covid-19”. Karim Atila allied himself with the investment fund Lux Media Investments to make a financing round of 100 million euros in the summer of 2020. In September they put this money on hold for normality to return in the world of sports and no more was heard about it. In any case, they did not rule out that a new round of investment will arrive now in 2022 to be reborn from its ashes.

This story highlights all the potential problems with cryptocurrency sponsors, which could be even worse than the betting sponsors that were banned in Spain after the Garzon Law. With big money deals behind it, there doesn’t seem to be a slowdown in teams announcing such partnerships, as recent reports on FC Barcelona shirt sponsorships show.

[Más información: El fútbol planta cara a la moda NFT: la Premier League y la UEFA estudian el caso John Terry]