We talk a lot about blockchain and how the distributed ledger technology can change the world, make society more comfortable, and promote fairness. But cryptocurrencies (although thanks to the most popular of them everybody learned about blockchain) are associated even by crypto enthusiasts primarily with the ambiguous attitude of governments, vulnerabilities, hacker attacks, and the prospects of losing savings. Investors in cryptocurrencies appear to be such risky players of an incomprehensible and semi-legal market. No one dared to expand the narrow scope of digital money to bring it to a new global level. Too early? Not really.
At least that is what Japanese baseball player Ken Takahashi thinks. A few months ago, his online petition to the International Olympic Committee appeared on change.org. The purpose of the petition was to collect 7,500 signatures to make the Ripple cryptocurrency (XRP) the official means of payment for the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo.
Ken Takahashi gives quite reasonable arguments in favor:
Japan is a country with a local, albeit respected, but not globally applicable currency (yen), which fans will have to get in exchange offices, banks, and ATMs;
The experience of Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 was remembered by hundreds of thousands of visitors not only by brilliant sports victories but also by crazy queues at exchange offices;
The language barrier does not interfere with rooting for your favorite team but complicates communication with financial organizations, and you will have to communicate with them, but dollars and euros do not have official circulation in the country.
“We believe that fast transactions and the security of XRP cryptocurrency will be a great contribution to solving this problem,” said Takahashi.
It is difficult to imagine a more reasonable use of cryptocurrencies. It has no boundaries, and its involvement in an international event with the participation of teams from all over the world seems natural.
In addition, if Ripple (or any other digital asset) became the main currency accepted at the Olympic Games, it would be a turning point in the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.
It would be truly mesmerizing if it happened. But this will not happen.
The International Olympic Committee controls the licensing of the official logo of the Olympic Games and everything connected with it: branded clothing, souvenirs, coins, stamps—everything sponsors are so interested in. But Ripple Labs has not yet made any statements about its desire to become an Olympic sponsor.
And although there is absolutely no clarity in the designation of the term “official OI cryptocurrency,” it is obvious that the intentions of the creator of the petition go far beyond the scope of the license agreement.
Based on the wording of the petition, the intention is that tickets to the events of the Summer Games 2020 can be paid for using the Ripple cryptocurrency. And in this case, there is even no certainty that the petition is addressed to the right authority. The author of the petition appeals to the IOC, but several organizations are involved in the planning and conduct of the Olympic Games. The IOC has a responsible department, the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, which coordinates work with the national Olympic committees and the host capital of the Olympics. Some instructions regarding the payment and sale of tickets are included in the contracts of the host city, but only upon full approval by the Organizing Committee.
Less than two years are left before the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The city won the right to hold the event in 2013 and, according to The Washington Post, has already far exceeded the planned budget. The main agenda of the event was approved by the IOC in 2014.
And whatever is the authority that would be ready to agree on the “official cryptocurrency” and having the right to do so, it is unlikely that it will be used before the start of the Olympic Games, regardless of how many people sign the petition.
P.S. At the moment, the petition has already been signed by 12,881 crypto enthusiasts.