Hibs move to reassure fans over HIB$ fan token amid uncertainty and opposition
Described by the club as a “valued VIP fandom membership in the form of cryptocurrency” the club has likened the HIB$ fan token to a digital pass that will provide holders with enhanced access to the club and could – in theory – serve as a form of 21st-century memorabilia.
But some sections of the club’s fanbase have voiced concerns that the arrangement amounts to little more than a pyramid scheme, while the number of so-called “bot” accounts that flood the replies any time the club’s official social media channels publicise the partnership has also left some supporters suspicious of the legitimacy of the deal.
Hibs have moved to allay any fears surrounding the tie-up, insisting that it is merely an additional method of boosting supporter engagement.
The statement reads: “We are aware of supporters’ thoughts surrounding the HIB$ fan token, however, we wanted to assure you all that this partnership is an extra way to engage with supporters.
“Our premium partnership with Sportemon GO (SGO) will contribute a six-figure sum each season to our club and the HIB$ fan token that has been released is issued by Sportemon GO for Hibs.
“Our club is the major beneficiary of any funds raised, which means that as our supporters, you will get the most benefit. These benefits include new and exciting opportunities, priority access, digital memorabilia, and collectible products.
The Easter Road side announced the partnership with Sportemon GO (SGO) last month in an “exclusive and official” arrangement that would see “the creation of a Hibernian Fan Token and digital Non-Fungible Token (NFT) collectibles.”
Announcing the partnership an accompanying statement said: “This is the first partnership of its kind in Scotland, with SGO investing a significant six-figure sum each season, on an initial three-year term.
"With a purpose to revolutionize the NFT collectible industry, Sportemon GO will enable its users to hunt, collect and trade NFTs of their favourite Hibs heroes in both the real world and in real time. Creating the perfect synergy between our current world and the metaverse, participants will be able to interact with the club like never before.”
NFTs are non-fungible tokens – that is, digital assets used to represent a finite number of items including collector editions of stickers, trading cards, medals, stamps, photos, videos and other types of digital files.
In a series of FAQs surrounding the partnership and NFTs, Hibs state that the link with Sportemon GO is not aimed at monetising supporter engagement, adding: “The club’s fan engagement team will continue to deliver their highly regarded campaigns and activities across the season with the wider fanbase, separate from this partnership.
"However, the fan experiences and opportunities created by this partnership come from the rights Sportemon GO have acquired as a partner of Hibernian FC.
"They have chosen to tailor their access to player appearances, match tickets and other elements of their partnership inventory to create new fan experiences, that would otherwise have not been possible.
"Hibs and Sportemon GO will be working with fans, fan groups and HIB$ Fan Token holders to help shape the money-can’t-buy fan experiences on offer.”