The Bitcoin standard has many configurations. For some, selling all the property and living off the magic internet money is key; For others, it’s about paying every extra penny to Satoshis. For popular podcaster Peter McCormack – an avid football fan – that meant buying his local club and signing Bitcoin (BTC) on the team sheet.
The Bitcoin defender McCormack acquired the football club in his hometown in December 2021. He renamed the club and rebranded it to Real Bedford, and on the ground, Bitcoin qualifies to pay for T-shirts, drinks and tickets.
But with Bitcoin dropping to $20,000, can the spirit behind the coin’s fall change the football club’s future? More importantly, why has this lower league club attracted the attention of Bitcoin advocates around the world?
Pitchside, Cointelegraph met with McCormack, local fans and Bitcoiners for the first game of the season which was broadcast to hundreds of Bitcoiners around the world.
Since he was a boy, McCormack has dreamed of buying local football club Bedford Town. “Bedford can support a team in the Fobal League,” he told Cointelegraph. He ended up buying the lesser domestic team, Bedford Football Club which plays in the Spartan South Midlands Football League.
In six leagues under the English Football League (EFL), the football ladder for Real Bedford towers high at the top. McCormack jokes that playing in the Premier League is more than liquidating – at least for now. However, while achievement in football is critical to promotion, the biggest challenge the club is currently facing is that “the team’s sponsors are Bitcoin companies.”
The venue for the post-match interview is all-crypto sponsors.
In somewhat surreal scenes, ads for bitcoin-friendly brands including Casa, Gemini and Compass Mining plaster billboards surrounding the stadium, while match-day kits also feature crypto companies. However, with the Bitcoin bear market progressing in full swing, there is a risk that these companies may be in trouble.
“At some point towards the end of the season I need to get back to them, like, look, we gave up, hopefully, hopefully we can enjoy going up, and everything is going well, but I need to come back and say, OK, we need to move on. To the next level. Well, I want you to patronize again.”
Some local fans were stunned by Bitcoin ads for billboards that surrounded the stadium; Others were keen to ask where they get their Bitcoin from. Despite the bitcoin-centric approach, Cointelegraph fans have spoken more about the importance of the manager’s influence than the influence of the club that puts “Bitcoin” at its core. In essence, President McCormack funded the team; Now is the time for the manager to motivate the team and inspire the athletes.
To the team’s credit, the pre-season results are excellent. Real Bedford has tied with the teams of several leagues above and the team is at the top of the league table at the time of writing.
The manager, as well as some key players, moved from local rival Bedford Town FC before the season, although Real Bedford sit in two leagues at the bottom of the English football pyramid. Additionally, McCormack jokes that more people attended the pre-game Bitcoin meetup than last season’s matchdays.
Bitcoin Gandalf of the Braiins Bitcoin miner, who attended the game, summed up the atmosphere:
“The fact that there are people coming from all over the UK and even from Europe to see a lower league team primarily because they are the first club to operate under the Bitcoin standard is a testament to what a paradigm-changing technology in Bitcoin is.”
The Bitcoin Meetup participants varied from veteran runners to newcomers. One of the ladies asked, “Who controls mining?” While some enthusiasts made the first peer-to-peer or Lightning Network transaction. Bitcoin “₿” is hard to miss in the club, while access to the lower tier club is global. Fans in Amsterdam and Minnesota bought merchandise for the lower league club.
Supporters of Real Bedford were seen in the streets of Amsterdam. Source: BTC Magazine Youtube
Meanwhile, at the club, Bitcoin-backed rewards have been rolled out to scorers. Daniel Prince, a fellow Bitcoin podcaster, suggested sharing Bitcoin QR codes intended for gamers in a live stream. It will allow Bitcoin and football fans around the world to “tip” players in real time – for example when a player scores a goal or wins a challenge. “It’s actually proof of work,” Prince explained.
Despite McCormack’s focus on bitcoin first, players are still working on altcoins. The season’s top scorer, Dan Walker, told Cointelegraph that he made good money with “smart DeFi protocols” in 2022. Granted, “Bitcoin is the future,” he explained, but he didn’t have any bitcoin on matchday while his salary was being paid in pounds sterling.
Bitcoin aside, McCormack’s passion for his hometown is contagious. He pours his heart and soul into the team – and the city’s proxy. The football shirt of the team just says