If you’re reading this on Techzim, there is a very good chance you are not really into sports. We can all agree that there is some truth in the stereotype that the technologically inclined (geeks and nerds) do not really get why sports are a thing.
If you indeed are one of those indifferent to sports then you better strap in because the FIFA World Cup is just around the corner. You are going to be bombarded with adverts and promotions.
It officially is that silly season when we, football lovers, take it upon ourselves to annoy everyone we possibly can with statements like, ‘what do you think about [some ex-footballer you don’t know]’s view that Iran has a 2.4% chance of clinching the Cup?’
Today however, the news I come bearing as concerns the World Cup will not annoy you.
Hublot Big Bang Referee smartwatch
Hublot is a Swedish luxury watchmaker (think Rolex competitor.) They are the official timekeeping sponsor of the World Cup and have released a special edition watch for the occasion.
It is Hublot’s first ever smartwatch and it runs Wear OS (formerly Android Wear.) The full name is so ridiculous it adds to the watch’s aura, it’s called the ‘Hublot Big Bang Referee 2018 World Cup Russia.’ Only 2018 of the watches will be made and, brace yourself for this one, it will run you $5,200 to get your hands on one.
I know you auto-corrected the above and convinced yourself that it meant $5,200 for the whole lot of 2018 but no, it’s for just one watch. The watch comes with World Cup-themed software so that’s something to make the price easier to swallow.
Out of the box, the watch will notify users 15 minutes before a match starts, when yellow/red cards are issued and when a goal is scored. Users can view match statistics when a match is underway.
There will be even more special editions of the phone which will be used by referees at the tournament. These are not part of the 2018. These ones will be linked with goal-line technology, the tech which helps determine whether a ball crossed the line. This ensures there will be no phantom goals at the tournament.
FIFA, the football governing body, expressed the need for such watches. The Hublot Big Bang Referee was tested at some competitions last year but this was not disclosed at the time.
Ex-footballer Michael Owen launches own cryptocurrency, ‘OWN Coin’
Michael Owen played for Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United. For the proper geek, those are very big football clubs, especially that last one. So he was a big deal in his day. These days he makes a living talking about football, as a pundit. It’s ridiculous, I know. After earning millions for kicking a ball, he now makes some more talking about other men kicking balls.
Owen announced that he is partnering Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX,) ‘ the world’s first cryptocurrency exchange that helps celebrities create, list and trade their own cryptocurrencies, known as Celebrity Tokens.’
Owen will issue his name-backed OWN tokens/coins next quarter.
The coins will allow fans to buy merchandise which includes celebrities’ exclusive content (for example personal training videos and tutorials in Owen’s case) or make donations to charities chosen by Owen himself. Fans can also interact with Owen via live-streaming and OWN will be connected to football centres Owen is developing.
Michael Owen will not be the first sports-person or celebrity to launch a coin on GCOX. Boxer Manny Pacquiao will launch the ‘PAC coin’ before him. Fellow boxer Floyd Mayweather is reported to be endorsing his own coin too, as you would expect him to.
Celebrity tokens as an interview fetching tool
It all sounds ridiculous especially for us Zimbabweans who do not worship celebrities. However, consider the option for a budding entrepreneur to buy a token which gives them a one on one conversation with Elon Musk, Strive Masiyiwa or any other businessman/celebrity. The young entrepreneur can get to pitch an idea directly to the high ranking official or get advice specific to them.
Celebrity tokens as a way to support artists directly
Celebrity tokens give artists the option to sell directly to the public without going through distributors. The artist in doing so would avoid the exorbitant costs associated with engaging the large distribution companies.
Cryptocurrencies like the ‘celebrity tokens’ make international payments much easier and so a Zimdancehall artist for example could receive payment from fans in Senegal without much fuss.
Having said all that, for the masses who still eye cryptocurrencies suspiciously, celebrity tokens will not help. These tokens only make cryptocurrencies seem silly and fraudulent. In some countries indeed such tokens are not legal.
What do you think about celebrity tokens? Let us know in the comments below.
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Strive Masiyiwa (born 1961) is a Zimbabwean born entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the founder and chairman of Econet Wireless International a global telecommunications group. In 2002, Masiyiwa made it to the Time Magazine List of Most Influential People, and in March 2014, he was... Read More About Strive Masiyiwa
Zimdancehall, is a Zimbabwean music genre with roots in the Jamaican tradition of reggae. The genre is known for its hard-hitting lyrics which often encompass social commentary on issues like poverty, unemployment and drug abuse. Read More About Zimdancehall