Neymar (10) of Brazil in action against Antonio Valencia (Rear) of Ecuador during a 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia qualifying match.
Leonardo Benassatto—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
By Kevin Kelleher
June 15, 2018

What do you get when you cross a group of world soccer stars, legendary hacker Kevin Mitnick, and a blockchain-powered social network? Apparently, something called Olyseum.

Olyseum was conceived in 2016 as a kind of digital “Coliseum” where sports idols could connect with their fans. Its founders include current and retired Spanish soccer players like Andrés Iniesta, Carles Puyol, and Iván de la Peña. Also listed as a founder is Kevin Mitnick, a computer security expert notorious for being one of the first high-profile hackers arrested back in the 1990s. Mitnick is also serving as a security advisor for Olyesum.

The app is designed to let a player set up a social feed and interact with fans. To encourage participation on both sides, Olyseum announced an upgraded, blockchain-powered app that will launch later this year and be tested by some soccer fans starting this week.

The announcement was timed to coincide with the 2018 World Cup, hoping to tap into both soccer enthusiasm and the sustained interest in all things crypto. But it’s not clear exactly how blockchain technology will give the social network an edge. Here’s how the company described the new app:

“We intend that every idol has their own community to have personalized interaction, exchange products and services, and rewards for their fanbase,” the company’s site says. Those communities will soon have a perk for stars and fans alike: a “reward system, which is is disintermediated and decentralized on the blockchain.”

Hardly a revolutionary idea, but at the very least the combo of World Cup and blockchain could help draw attention to the company amid the din of World Cup mania this month.

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