Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. is not the best-known football club in the world. Casual fans of the English Premier League may be vaguely familiar with it. However, the Wolves have a great pedigree and may be the most exciting story in the EPL since the 2015/16 season when Leicester City shocked the world by taking the title.
The City of Wolverhampton was founded in 985. However, the local legend extends its history even further back in time to the 7th century. Its population according to the 2011 census is 250,000. The football club was established in 1877 and it was one of the twelve founding teams of the Football League (precursor to the EPL).
1950s was the most successful decade for the Wolves, as they had won the league title three times and finished as runners-up two more times. Steven Morton (Head Of Corporate Sales at Wolves FC) pointed out that the team was “the first to play a European game under the floodlights” (he refers to the 1954 game between Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. and Budapest Honvéd FC). However, in the last couple of decades, it has been a struggle for the Wolves to stay in the top-flight football in England; after the 2011/12 season, it was relegated to the Championship, only to further fall to the League 1 the following season.
Things looked bleak for a while. However, its fortunes changed when Fosun International acquired the team in 2016. (The company is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange with a market capitalization of 113.72 billion HKD). Benefiting from the influx of funds and new management, the club won the Championship in the 2017/18 season and secured a return to the Premier League.
If the history of the Wolves could fill a copious tome, CoinDeal’s history can be recapped in a few sentences. It was founded by the three Poles: Kajetan Mackowiak, Adam Bicz, and Filip Dzierżak in March of 2018. All three had been partners in various blockchain startups previously.
“Kajetan wanted to do something in football. We were considering other teams in the EPL as well some of the teams in the La Liga. However, others were more skeptical about partnering with a crypto startup. We never had such issues with the Wolves. The owners (Fosun) were fine with it”, explains Alex Strzesniewski (Director of Business Development at CoinDeal). “China is one of the key markets for us”, adds Steven Morton. And he confirmed that the club is aware that China has one of the most vibrant crypto communities in the world, made up of affluent millennials, target demographics for the venture.
This summer, the club will participate in the Premier League Asia Trophy in China. As for the reputational risks, “after performing due diligence on CoinDeal, we had a level of comfort, it’s a progressive exchange platform, global, forward-thinking”. The deal was inked in the summer of 2018.
I asked Mr. Morton if the reported amount of around twenty million dollars is accurate. He replied: “Considering everything it’s a bit more”. CoinDeal has “become the first ever shirt sleeve sponsor to feature on a Wolves shirt”. This is not just the first time a crypto startup becomes a sponsor of an EPL team, but it’s also a first for a Polish-found company which attracted a lot of media attention in Poland.
The sponsorship has already paid off handsomely for the exchange. “When we were at the ConsenSys in New York last May, no one believed in our success. But now we have 300,000 registered and verified users. When we are traveling, this Wolves deal has opened a lot of doors for us, companies believe we are legit because of it”, points out Alex.
Crypto Insider: There are hundreds of crypto exchanges, what makes CoinDeal special?
Alex Strzesniewski: We are transparent, our faces are everywhere. We are conducting 5,000 verifications a day, we provide live customer support 24/7. We try to self-regulate as much as possible, but we also embrace regulation, we are fully compliant.
Crypto Insider: I have to ask you this. Lately, everyone has been talking about fake trading volumes; with CoinDeal, can we be assured that what we see is what we get?
Alex Strzesniewski: Yes, definitely. All of our volume is real, and you can see it varies a lot. When you see exchanges whose volume is always the same, you know its fake.
[The latest report by https://thetie.io/ supports it. It implies that CoinDeal’s volume should have been about 10 times higher than the reported volume. For comparison, Bit-Z is inflated 125 times].
Crypto Insider: I am sure you have heard of Quadriga case, how do you handle security?
Alex Strzesniewski: This could never happen with us. Our platform is built on micro-services, only a few people have access to a particular module. We never keep more than 10%, usually no more than 5% in hot wallets. We use multi-signature wallets; any transaction requires three out of five signatures. Three signatures belong to the three founders, the other two I cannot name.
Crypto Insider: Do you list security tokens?
Alex Strzesniewski: Before we list a token, we do quite a bit of research. Many of the tokens that call themselves “securities” aren’t securities. We follow the SEC in this regard. If we believe the token would not be considered security in the U.S., it’s not a security.
Crypto Insider: You probably heard about Binance Launchpad, do you have plans of doing something similar?
Alex Strzesniewski: We have been considering it. Companies have been approaching us, asking to do an IEO on CoinDeal. But unlike Binance, whatever we do we have to be fully compliant. Binance lives on the fringes. If it doesn’t impede our expansion in the U.S., then we’ll do it.
Crypto Insider: You don’t have your own token, do you?
Alex Strzesniewski: No. But we’ll introduce one soon. We have been working on it for the past six months.
Crypto Insider: Is it going to be like all the other exchange tokens, i.e., if you use the token, you pay less in trading fees?
Alex Strzesniewski: Yes. But it’s going to have some other unique features as well, unfortunately, I can’t reveal it yet.
Crypto Insider: Is it going to be an ERC20 token?
Alex Strzesniewski: No.
Crypto Insider: According to SimilarWeb, your number one market is Vietnam, is this correct?
Alex Strzesniewski: No, actually our biggest market is South Korea, about thirty percent come from there, Vietnam is second with eight or nine percent. From the beginning our marketing was global, but we have always emphasized Asia.
Crypto Insider: How does listing work on CoinDeal?
Alex Strzesniewski: There are two ways to get listed. Firstly, a community vote (one verified user – one vote), a token that wins will get listed for a fraction of bitcoin. Secondly, projects can approach us directly. If it passes our due diligence, it will get listed for a few bitcoins; we don’t charge crazy listing fees.
Crypto Insider: What are your biggest goals?
Alex Strzesniewski: Our goal is to be the most trusted exchange in the world. Also, we are actively expanding in the U.S.
Crypto Insider: You are not afraid of competing with Coinbase and such?
Alex Strzesniewski: No, we embrace it. The latest scandal with Neutrino is only going to help us.
Meanwhile, it has been a tremendous season for the Wolves. They are currently in seventh place in the EPL. In the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, they knocked out Manchester United and will play Watford in the semis on April 7. Winning the cup or finishing in the top seven in the Premier League will earn them a spot in the Europa League.
Their fans have demonstrated their support by regularly filling out the 31,700 capacity of the Molineux Stadium. “We have been having internal discussions about accepting cryptocurrency, but it’s still a year or two away”, notices Steven Morton. The deal between CoinDeal and Wolves is for one year and is extendable. “With our recent success, the price tag may increase”.