Lionel Messi kicks off NFT ambitions with 'Messiverse' art collection

Professional football player Lionel Messi has jumped on board the non-fungible tokens (NFT) trend with the launch of "Messiverse". The project was jointly launched with Ethernity, a blockchain platform offering access to officially licensed NFTs. Messiverse will feature a collection of crypto artworks designed by Australia-based digital designer BossLogic, who is known for his works with Marvel and Disney. In a Medium post by Ethernity, BossLogic explained that the collection is a set of pieces outlining achievements, moments, team love, and future accomplishments.

The four pieces portray Messi in an other-worldly orbit, in AI-driven bionic form both in the future and the past, the “King” of creative soccer stardom, and a yet to be revealed piece commemorating his historic Copa America win.

The first NFT is titled "The Golden One" and portrays Messi as the gold standard given the reputation he has achieved. The second NFT is known as "Man From Tomorrow" and "Man Of The Past" featuring Messi in AI bionic form with his new number 30 and old number 10 respectively. "We have followed his past, we are with him in the present and I’m certain when the world is mimicked by AI we will see him in the cyber football leagues of tomorrow," BossLogic explained in the post.

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The third NFT is known as "The King Piece" and harkens back to the times when kings ruled kingdoms. BossLogic explained that in those times, Messi would have reigned supreme in the world of sport. While the title of the fourth NFT has yet to be revealed, it pays homage to Argentina's win in the Copa America final over Brazil. This marked the country's first win and Messi's first major international tournament win in deacdes.

"Overall I wanted them to be subtle yet impactful within the pieces that loop. Working within the NFT space has been a wild ride getting to do new things and collaborate with people that I never thought I’d get the chance to," BossLogic added.

In addition to NFT, Messi will also receive payment in cryptocurrency fan tokens provided by Socios.com as part of his recent transfer from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. According to ESPN, Messi received "a large number" of fan tokens but PSG did not specify what percentage of the deal comprised the tokens. The club also did not reveal the overall financial package.

NFTs have seen a massive surge in interest since last year. Arsenal Football Club joined the foray just last month partnering with sports and entertainment industry blockchain provider, Chiliz, to launch the club’s $AFC Fan Token on the latter’s Socios.com mobile app. Socios.com will become a digital meeting place for Arsenal’s international fanbase, with the partnership reflecting the club’s drive to create a more engaging fan experience for its global following. Meanwhile several other major brands - Warner Bros, Coca-Cola and Budweiser - have also launched NFTs this year. 

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