On Sunday, boxing champion Manny Pacquiao announced the launch of his own cryptocurrency to a crowd of fans in Manila. The coin, called "pac," would allow fans to buy celebrity merchandise such as tickets or signed and collectible products.
The thing is that the value of Pac is backed by the demand of Pacquiao's considerable fan base, the Pac behaves like a normal cryptocurrency, providing a negotiable digital token. In addition, those who make use of it can meet the boxer in person.
Pacquiao is throwing this coin with the help of the GCOX Group, a company in Southeast Asia that has developed a new model for celebrity tokens. "GCOX revolutionizes the way celebrities interact with their fans, giving the public unparalleled access with their celebrities," the company says on its website.
The Pac cryptocurrency is expected to be available through the Singapore Global Crypto Offering Exchange.
Pacquiao will be the first major test of that model, although Jason Derulo and English soccer star Michael Owen also plan to launch their currency with GCOX.
Other athletes and celebrities have tried to mess with cryptocurrencies, often with disastrous results. Steven Seagal was hired as the brand's official ambassador for Bitcoiin [sic], which was attacked in 2018 with an order to cease and withdraw securities regulators in New Jersey.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., a former rival of Pacquiao, was one of the first defenders of CentraCoin, a cryptocurrency project connected to debit systems, which ultimately resulted in SEC actions and fraud charges against the founders.
Still, the Pacquiao scheme is the first one that would use a fan base to directly underpin the value of the currency, potentially a more viable approach.