Paris Saint-Germain confirmed a "significant" portion of the "welcome package" in the two-year contract signed by Lionel Messi featured payment in the club's cryptocurrency fan tokens.
Reuters' Simon Evans reported Thursday the deal, which includes an option for a third season and an annual salary estimated between $29-35 million (€25-30 million), was bolstered by the fan tokens, which are a tradeable currency with ever-changing value that have recently been used by clubs to generate additional cash flow.
"We have been able to engage with a new global audience, creating a significant digital revenue stream," Marc Armstrong, PSG's chief partnerships officer, said.
Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain this week after Barcelona, where he'd spent the past two decades beginning at the club's famed La Masia youth academy before transforming into a global superstar, announced it wouldn't be able to re-sign him because of La Liga's "regulations on player registration."
As it became clear PSG was the leading contender to land the 34-year-old Argentine legend, the fan tokens surged in value, climbing over 130 percent in a five-day span to a peak of over $60 (€51), per Evans. They've since faded to a shade over $41 (€35) as of early Thursday, according to CoinMarketCap.
Evans noted Les Parisiens capitalized on the increased value by bringing in "at least €15 million" ($17.6 million) from the token sales.
Messi called his departure from Barca "very tough" during his introductory press conference Wednesday, but he said he's excited to chase a Champions League title with PSG.
"My goal and my dream is to win the Champions League once more. I think that we have the team to do it here," he told reporters. "The squad and coaches here are capable of winning everything, which is my objective. The team here is incredible."
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner will help form the world's most star-studded attacking trio alongside Kylian Mbappe and former Barcelona teammate Neymar at the Parc des Princes.
Paris Saint-Germain kicked off the 2021-22 Ligue 1 term with a 2-1 victory over Troyes last weekend.
The club returns to action Saturday with its first home fixture of the campaign against Strasbourg, but it's unclear when Messi will make his team debut.