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 all about turning every extra penny into a satoshi. For popular podcaster Peter McCormack – an avid football fan – that meant buying his local club and signing Bitcoin (BTC) to the team’s paper.
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 decline change the football club’s future? More importantly, why has this lower league club attracted the attention of Bitcoin advocates around the world?
Pitchside and Cointelegraph met up with McCormack, local fans and Bitcoiners for the first game of the season that 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 Football League,” he told Cointelegraph. He ended up buying the lesser local team, Bedford Football Club which plays in the Spartan South Midlands Football League.
In six leagues under the English Football League, hand football to Real Bedford’s soaring towers. McCormack jokes that playing in the Premier League is more than wrapping up – 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-compliant brands including Casa, Gemini and Compass Mining plaster billboards surrounding the stadium, while matchday groups also feature crypto companies. However, with the Bitcoin bear market in full swing, there is a risk that these companies will be in trouble.
“At some point towards the end of the season I need to get back to them, like, look, we gave up, I hope, I hope we enjoy the promotion, 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 the Bitcoin ads on the billboard that surrounded the stadium; Others were keen to ask where they get their Bitcoin from. Despite the Bitcoin-centric approach, Cointelegraph fans have spoken of the importance of the manager’s influence rather than that of the club that puts “Bitcoin at the heart.” 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 rivals 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 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 exemplary Bitcoin changing technology 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 league 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 to players in a live stream. It will allow football and bitcoin fans around the world to “tip” players in real time – say when a player scores a goal or wins a challenge. “It’s actually proof of work,” Prince explained.
Despite McCormack focusing on bitcoin first, players are still working on altcoins. The season’s top scorer of the season 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. Merrill soccer team shirt