Fans of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao have reason to celebrate this week. The star is launching his PAC token on the Sparkle IEO platform of the GCOX exchange. Pacquiao, who is currently the reigning world welterweight champion, announced he would be launching his own token back in September. The IEO is running over three days starting November 12, after which the token will be listed for trading on GCOX.
PAC is the first such “celebrity token” and the latest entrepreneurial effort from the multi-talented Manny Pacquiao. Alongside his stellar boxing career, he’s also an elected Senator in his home country of the Philippines, and has made successful forays into basketball, music recording, and acting.
Now, he also has his own digital currency. The PAC token will enable fans to interact with the Pacquiao brand, including buying merchandise, requesting mentions on social media, and even attending exclusive events. It’s the first time a celebrity has launched a cryptocurrency like this, effectively tokenizing their brand.
Pacquiao is partnering with Singaporean exchange GCOX, which is planning to become the exchange of choice for “celebrity tokens.” Other stars will no doubt be following the progress of the PAC launch very closely.
Former England and Real Madrid striker Michael Owen, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, and R&B singer Jason Derulo are all reportedly already invested in the idea of launching their own tokens on GCOX. A member of the Abu Dhabi royal family is also involved.
GCOX CEO, Sir Dr. Jeffrey Lin, GCOX CEO, said that this kind of IEO might be the first of many: “The PAC token is the first asset to combine blockchain technology with fan culture and given the devotion of Manny’s supporters – not just in Asia but throughout the world – we are confident that the newly-issued tokens will be a success.”
A Ripe Market
Does this mean we’re headed for a celebrity token revolution? Well, the success of the PAC token remains to be seen, but it seems inevitable that Pacquiao’s legions of fans will be interested in owning a token that gives them privileged access to their hero. And if the PAC token is successful, others will surely follow.
Social media has already created a culture where fans can get closer to their favorite celebrities than ever before. Plenty of big names use social media to interact with their supporters, including megastars such as Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and Chrissy Teigen.
Many celebrities these days achieved their status using nothing more than social media itself, such as YouTube stars like Zoella or PewDiePie. The global Instagram influencer market is expected to net in a cool $1.7 billion this year alone, rising another $600 million next year. If there’s an opportunity to cash in further using digital tokens, it seems inevitable that both celebrities and brands will take it.
The Next New Category of Crypto?
For the cryptocurrency space, it could be that celebrity tokens are the next big token category. If we look at specific categories of coins, it’s clear that in several cases, the early pioneers saw an opportunity.
Tether was the first stablecoin, and now we have TrueUSD, USD Coin, Paxos Standard, along with their decentralized cousins like DAI. Exchange coins are another example, pioneered by Binance with the BNB coin. Since then, Huobi token, KuCoin Shares, and Bitfinex’s LEO token have all followed suit.
Even more intriguing is the possibility that celebrity tokens could be the catalyst for crypto to break into the mainstream. There has been much talk of Facebook’s Libra this year, putting cryptocurrency on the front page of international news outlets. However, so far, Libra hasn’t launched, meaning all the headlines haven’t necessarily translated into increased adoption of digital currency.
If big names do start following in the footsteps of Manny Pacquiao by launching their own token, it will spur people who’ve never previously considered owning crypto to open an exchange or wallet account. After all, it’s the same rationale that brands use when partnering with celebrities and influencers.
Given that Paquiao is one of the most successful sportsmen of his generation with a worldwide fan base, it seems unlikely that his token will fail. It remains to be seen though, whether other celebrities will follow his lead. If they do, and the celebrity token becomes the hot new token category of 2020 – then remember, you read it here first.