It’s now clear what it takes for a former NBA Commissioner to emerge from retirement. David Stern, who was at the helm of the league for three decades starting in the 1980s, has now thrown his weight and capital behind blockchain-fueled streaming sports startup SportsCastr, which is behind a new cryptocurrency dubbed FanChain.
FanChain is a cryptocurrency specifically created for the sports industry. The Company is backed by NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern, NFL Tight End Vernon Davis, Syracuse Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim, NBA All-Star Steve Smith and more. SportsCastr’s FanChain will create a decentralized sports entertainment ecosystem to connect a fragmented landscape, aligning the interests of fans, athletes, teams, leagues, and media entities.
The news was announced online by Forbes. In a statement to Forbes, Stern claims he initially thought bitcoin and blockchain were “a modern day version of the tulip frenzy that would come to nothing and fizzle out”. Stern was referring to the Dutch tulip crisis of the 1600s, widely reported as the first “bubble” of the modern financial market era.
Despite his initial skepticism, however, Stern told Forbes,
“I then came to understand that blockchain technology had much to offer with respect to a range of transactions in many different industries, like the sports sector,”
Stern’s interest in cryptocurrencies isn’t shocking considering his tech savviness. He is a proponent for legal sports betting and has touted the capabilities such as mobile-fueled sports gambling ushered into the industry by his peers. He wasn’t always on board with sports betting, but as with cryptocurrencies, his position evolved over time.
When Stern left the court in 2014, he was credited for the success of the NBA and its multi-billion dollar annual profits. Under his tenure, not only did the value of the league balloon but so did player salaries and franchise price tags, leading to multi-year television deals and NBA fever among fans across the globe. If Stern is able to influence investors and participants for FanChain in the way he was able to do for the league, the blockchain startup is in for a wild ride.
FanChain is launching a private token sale shortly followed by a public crowdsale planned for this summer, according to Forbes. Given the regulatory climate, US investors are banned from participating.