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What: Recently-retired Ronaldinho has launched a cryptocurrency, RSC, as part of a broad-based world football business.
Why it matters: RSC and the associated business is the largest-scale effort by a global soccer superstar in the crypto world, and could serve as a model for others to tap into the sport’s estimated 3.5 billion fans.

All-time international superstar Ronaldinho (@10Ronaldinhomay have retired from the pitch after more than two decades on some of the world’s best clubs and nearly 100 appearances and 33 goals for the Brazilian National Team, but he intends on keeping in the game on the business side, recently partnering with Malta-based World Soccer Coin (WSC) for a wide-ranging series of programs.

At the heart is the establishment of Ronaldinho Digital Stadiums, said to be in development in 300 locations, for implementation in the next three years, in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, as well as the Ronaldinho SoccerCoin Project, or RSC. The cryptocurrency, set for pre-sale in August, will be the fulcrum of the business, which will include the Ronaldinho Super League, eSports, a betting forum, “Smile Project” to benefit children and secure payment system.

With soccer fandom worldwide—perhaps 3.5 billion, by some estimates … an international megastar like Ronaldinho is a good test case for sustainability, and could serve as model for others.

The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year isn’t the first soccer star to develop a cryptocurrency; according to Cryptovest.com, the JR10 Token, from Bayern Munich’s James Rodriguez (@jamesdrodriguezof Columbia became available in June (selling out quickly, per media reports). But to use the block-chain technology as the basis of a significantly larger business is a first, at least on this scale. With soccer fandom worldwide—perhaps 3.5 billion, by some estimates—likely outpacing that of the four major U.S. sports combined, with interest in all corners of the globe, an international megastar like Ronaldinho is a good test case for sustainability, and could serve as model for others. (BeckhamBucks? MessiMoolah? RonalDinero?)

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For sure, Ronaldinho is making a run at the business world with the digital and retail service. E-Sports is growing exponentially, and the tide has certainly changed regarding gambling in the U.S., catching up to the rest of the world. But the clout can also be used to fund initiatives like Smile Project, the stated goals to operate a football academy and provide soccer equipment, better facilities and program opportunities to kids all over the world.

“I want to bring a smile to as many people as possible through this project,” writes Ronaldinho in a statement. “I wish as many people as possible will have a dream and hope and become happy. I wish to contribute to the world as much as I can during my short life.”

Reaction in the cryptocurrency world is guarded, with Greg Thomson (@gregthomson88of CryptoCoin.News, for example, noting that the confluence of soccer and crypto may succeed since “[b]oth industries are frantic and passionate and both have followers who see their venture as a matter of life and death,” while at the same time tweeting that he is hopeful it’s not just a PR venture. Some are rooting for the trend to continue, like Coinstaker.com’s Ian Karamanov, who writes, “We can only hope more famous athletes turn towards such initiatives.”

cover image courtesy WSC