ATTENTION!!! SD³ project was directly affected by Russian invasion in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Until further notice, we are forced to put a freeze on all our operations. Stay tuned for updates.

Author MasterSherpa

Harvard research paper on FIFA and the European football industry

Harvard University: “Fix the Money – Fix the Football!”

Sports D³: “Absence of direct mass-participation of football fans in sports economy (incl. the transfer market) perpetuates disparities & inequality between the few elite billionaire-owned clubs and the rest of the industry”.

Click here to download and read the full research paper >>>

About ‘Sports D³’ (‘D-Cubed Ventures OÜ’) | www.

‘Sports D³’ is a trade name used by D-Cubed Ventures OÜ, a financial and sports technology company developing  a regulatory-compliant tokenization platform and digital assets exchange for the global sports industry with mid-2021 as a target completion and official launch date. SD³ platform enables crowd-formation of capital from millions of fan-investors and provides professional sports clubs and athletes with access to alternative sources of debt/equity financing via Security Tokens Offerings (STOs) on a public blockchain. ‘Sports D³’ solution stands at the intersection of the sports industry, financial markets, blockchain technology, and millions of sports fan-investors.

This project is led by a team of seasoned professionals, recent graduates from the world’s top-ranking Executive MBA  program at Kellogg School of Management (USA), and supported by an international panel of advisors. With 15,000 users from 50+ countries pre-registered on the platform, strategic collaboration agreements in place with FC Shakhtar and other European clubs, SD³ strives to instill more democratic practices, as it relates to finances within the global sports industry.

Registered in Estonia #14773533 on July 29, 2019, operating under FIU license #FVT000159, issued on 14-Sept-2020.

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#football #soccer #sports #sportsdemocracy #faninvestors #footballfinance #footballbusiness #fintech #investments #crowdfunding #blockchain #dlt #crypto #digitalassets #tokenization #digitalsecurities #securitytoken #sto #sportsd3 #shakhtar

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Commentary by Gene Swinton, ‘Sports D³’ Founder & CEO on the video published by FIFA’s Emilio Silvero on the subject of Third-Party Ownership (TPO) regulation.


This turned out to be a more elaborate version of Nick’s article in ‘Football Legal’ last year, which I found to be the best piece on TPO so far not just from legal prospective, but commercial too. Thank you for sharing! Many important points were raised indeed, also glad to see the prospects of changes.

However, my main concern about the current status quo remains. The very last comment in the Q&A section about “socialism vs. capitalism” was the closest it got to my area of concern.

The role of regulator in any industry is to ensure purity and fairness of competition, … unless it is a natural monopoly. What I find fundamentally wrong with TPO regulation in it’s current form is that FIFA, as a regulator, is mistakenly treating football industry (specifically flow of capital) as a natural monopoly. As a result FIFA’s manual ”central planning” approach to allocation/redistribution/flow of resources creates distortions (repeatedly) within various layers of the industry.

The solution to existing assymetries/distortions can be found within the economic theory’s Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH), and to a smaller extent in the regulation of the industry. We do need ground rules, but excessive centralization/over-regulation will only create unneccessary burdens both for FIFA and the industry without yielding results.

In my opinion (shared by clubs across continents), EMH can be achieved in football/soccer industry by inviting the OPEN MARKET FORCES into the industry and specifically into the Transfer Market, i.e. adapt regulatory framework to invite BILLIONS OF FOOTBALL FANS to participate economically in this market side-by-side with billionaires and financial conglomerates (who we traditionally tend to focus on in conversations re TPO).

Democratic formation & flow of capital can deliver the purity of competition that we all wish to achieve and eliminate the existing distortions, all w/o violating the integrity of the game or creating external influence on internal policies.

The last person in the video to ask the question just barely touched on the tip of what can be done to DEMOCRATIZE the soccer industry. This subject matter is very complex – anyone interested feel free to message me directly to have a bigger conversation.

#SportsDemocracy #freemarket #FanInvestors #FIFA #UEFA #Sports #Football #soccer #SportsD3 #SD3 #digitalassets #tokenization #DeFi

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Distortion #2: Regulatory restrictions limit club’s choices in search of capital & resources.

This is really amusing, ‘cos it comes only 2 days after my write-up where I draw parallels between football and politics.

“Lavrov noted that a grand football club in Europe had to revoke its request for assistance from a Russian non-governmental organisation that is helping with medical supplies amid the pandemic after being discouraged from receiving Russian help”.


Wouldn’t it be great if that undisclosed ”grand football club in Europe” could just turn to millions of their loyal football fans and crowd-fund the required capital/resources, skipping the entire need to play the game of politics and rather focus on what they do best – playing the game of football?

Football (soccer) is full of economic distortions resulting in consistently unpredictable side-effects.

Very curious to hear more about this story to validate my early assumptions.

#SportsDemocracy #freemarket #FanInvestors #FIFA #UEFA #Sports #Football #soccer #SportsD3 #SD3 #digitalassets #tokenization #DeFi

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Distortion #1: Excess of regulatory participation in the industry puts FIFA in the shoes of a micro-manager.

Do you find football and geo-/politics to have a lot in common? In both cases ‘politicians’ tend to destroy the economic value. Let’s recap key points from today’s article in “Independent”. Mr. O’Neill:

  • complains about the drain of young talent to the Republic from N. Ireland
  • yet, not willing or able to “make an offer they can’t refuse” to keep young talent in N. Ireland
  • admits that “ultimately the choice belongs to the individual”
  • yet, is asking FIFA/UEFA to come in heavy-handed to use regulatory powers to prevent young athletes from choosing the other side.

If FIFA/UEFA follows through intervene and impose, to regulate and micromanage every little aspect, the industry as a whole would resemble China under CCP leadership rather than a free market.

We already have a ‘passport regime’ prescribed by Sec. 7 of RSTP Reg. with ‘visa stamps’ by FIFA to authorize player’s club affiliation. What’s next? … If a player is artificially restricted in his/her choice of economic terms of employment, it’s no freedom – it’s slavery & total control. This practice is even more worrisome since young athletes are involved.

Without relying on open market forces to self-regulate the industry we will continue to witness these distortions in resource allocations. Football is over-regulated already. If anything, it needs more democracy to attract smart capital to the right corners of the industry, to empower best-managed clubs retain their best talent, and unleash the full potential of the industry.

#SportsDemocracy #freemarket #FanInvestors #FIFA #UEFA #Sports #Football #soccer #SportsD3 #SD3 #digitalassets #tokenization #DeFi

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If any company can take a cryptocurrency mainstream, it is Facebook.

More than 2bn people log into its family of apps and increasingly they want to buy things and send each other money.

Facebook’s answer, according to several people familiar with its secretive “Libra” project, will be to try to launch a “stablecoin”, a digital currency pegged to the dollar.

If successful, the Facebook coin could not only allow payments and transfers within the Facebook empire, but could also be stored on digital wallets and spent in shops, or exchanged into traditional currencies.

“Facebook has all the prospects to propel crypto into everyday lives . . . in the next three to five years,” said one well-known payments veteran, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 

But “there are headaches to be worked out,” the executive added, questioning how small businesses that end up with a stockpile of the currency would be able to account for it on their books, for example.

Facebook declined to comment.

Following in footsteps of WeChat

How the digital currency would be backed is as yet unclear, as stablecoins can normally be purchased and redeemed for dollars at a fixed 1:1 ratio. It is also not clear how the coin will be issued, stored or transferred, and what role blockchain technology will play.

Many interpret the move as a bid to follow in the footsteps of so-called “superapps” such as China’s WeChat, that allows users to send money, shop, order taxis and play games without ever having to leave the one platform.

According to an earlier report by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook may encourage transactions by rewarding its users with the currency if they view ads on the platform, in a similar way to the collection of loyalty points.

Experts expect this type of network to encourage Facebook’s vast user base to spend more time and money on the platform. It could address user concerns over Facebook’s advertising business model — but might also allow the company to collect more data on users, such as spending patterns.

Advertising and ecommerce blend together

Mr Zuckerberg has already said that he sees Facebook’s traditional advertising business model blending with e-commerce, with users discovering products from businesses advertising on Facebook and Instagram and then buying them, while using WhatsApp and Messenger to talk to the sellers.

“Between advertising and commerce, it’s really a continuous spectrum,” he said. “As those products that we build help businesses convert better . . . it will be more valuable to them and therefore that’ll translate into higher bids for the advertising.”

Facebook already allows some big brands to sell directly on the platform through a partnership with PayPal, a feature announced earlier this year. At Facebook’s F8 developer conference last month, the company launched a raft of other products and updates designed to facilitate business-to-consumer interaction.

Deutsche Bank estimates the push into ecommerce on Instagram could contribute as much as $10bn in net revenue in 2021.

“My sense is that the pivot to consolidating messaging and driving commerce and in app purchases reduces ad revenue dependence and cools the [negative] rhetoric” around its business model, said Rob Norman, former chief digital officer at GroupM.

Analysts predict the company will create new ad formats, charging a premium. Facebook will be able to pool data and analytics on customer spending habits, helping them to better target advertising in future. This might include mapping out how a user might have found a particular brand in the lead-up to a purchase.

But some advertisers are wary of losing control of data they can access directly.

“If you’re transacting through their website, [Facebook] will retain greater control of the transaction and the data. If you control your website you have greater control,” said Marco Rimini, global chief development officer of Mindshare, a media agency. “They are powerful sales channel, but how much power do we want to cede?”

Other big tech companies are increasingly experimenting with financial products. In March, Apple announced its own credit card in partnership with Goldman Sachs. Last year, Uber launched Uber cash, an app-specific credits system. Some firms have launched their own mobile wallets: Apple pay, Amazon pay and Google pay.

Technology and regulation hurdles

Some industry experts have questioned whether Facebook’s blockchain-based payments network can achieve a competitive scale, and whether it could process payments in line with potential growth. Most blockchain projects have hitherto been small-scale. Visa, one of the world’s largest payments networks, can handle up to 65,000 transaction messages
per second.

“The logistics of it — how many [coins] are going to be in existence, what are the implications of that — from an overall company position, the company must give serious  consideration to what would be more profitable,” said Richard Whittle, economics research fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Others point to the regulatory hurdles, arguing that Facebook is not prepared for the high levels of scrutiny it will face. Payments processors need licensing in most jurisdictions in which they operate, for example, and this can sometimes take years. In the US, securities laws regulators are also paying heightened attention to blockchain projects.

“Each time Facebook or its brethren drift into the regulated realm, they soon depart, because the idea of being regulated and operating to the same rules as banks would make it uneconomical for them,” said Richard Crook, former head of emerging technology at RBS and director of Lab577, a fintech start-up.

The company plans to encrypt user’s financial data where possible, according to someone with knowledge of the project. But they may need to share some aggregated and identifiable data with regulators and law enforcement, the person said.

The team has been making compliance hires: this month it hired Jeff Cartwright, formerly the director of regulatory risk at major US crypto exchange Coinbase.

Project needs partners

There are also broader competition concerns. “How desirable is it for one company to expand horizontally across multiple verticals?” said Daniel Murphy, senior associate at the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets.

Analysts expect Facebook to partner with other payments companies, which could also help provide some of the licences, technology and infrastructure for the project.

There are signs that Facebook are trying to do this. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company has had discussions with Visa, Mastercard and First Data Corp in a bid to raise $1bn in investment for the project, for example.

Any partnerships would also lend the project credibility at a time when Facebook is facing public backlash, fines and investigations into data breaches, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, analysts say.

“If Facebook tries to do this themselves they are probably going to fail. Because the likelihood of them being successful in all facets of payments — managing regulatory Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved. compliance, security, and building consumer trust — is very low on its own,” said Lisa Ellis, payments analyst at research company MoffettNathanson and a blockchain expert.

“If they are really spearheading in a collaborative way . . . I believe that type of initiative has a huge amount of potential,” she said.

Hannah Murphy in San Francisco and Philip Stafford in London

Financial Times | May 23, 2019

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Ukraine’s tech startups attracted a record volume of investment money last year — $323 million, according to the annual investment report “DealBook of Ukraine.”

The report was prepared by local venture firm AVentures and Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA), and published on May 14.

The research indicates that investment in Ukrainian tech increased by 22 percent compared to 2017, when Ukrainian high-tech firms attracted $265 million. This means local startups have attracted $1 billion over the last five years, making Ukraine one of the top funding destinations in Central and Eastern Europe.

However, just three firms attracted the most money this year, receiving 70 percent of the $323 million: GitLab ($120 million), Bitfury ($80 million), and ($30 million). And although all three of them have Ukrainian roots and local offices, they’re not considered chiefly Ukrainian, as they work with foreign clients and investors and have foreign headquarters.

The report includes the list of all the tech startups that attracted money in 2018, specifying the stage of investment and the sum raised.

Roughly 90 percent of the money came from foreign investors, with companies in the United States contributing most of the funding. Goldman Sachs, Y Combinator, and Soros Fund Management are among the biggest U.S. investors in Ukraine’s IT startups. The report authors suggest this is the result of the success Ukrainian tech companies frequently have on the U.S. market.

Yevgen Sysoyev, a co-author of the report, thinks this leaves significant room for the development of local early-stage funds. So far, the report names 10 local firms that make early-stage investments, including Digital Future, WannaBiz, AVentures, Genesis, and TA Ventures.

Ukrainian investment firms like Dragon Capital and Horizon Capital typically invest in more mature startups. “These funds are investing in Series B or the growth stage, at tens of millions in revenue and (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) positive business,” Sysoyev told the Kyiv Post.

Measuring the local tech potential, the report counts 172,000 tech people working in Ukraine, and 23,000 new ones graduating every year. Over 50 percent of Ukrainian tech labor works for software outsourcing companies like EPAM, SoftServe, GlobalLogic, Luxoft, and Ciklum.

Only five percent of techies work for information technology startups.

Sysoyev said: “I think the Ukrainian tech ecosystem went through tremendous changes, positive ones, but the next five years will contain new challenges: for founders, to learn how to build (ten-times) larger businesses and compete on a much larger scale with international competitors. For investors, to return the capital from previous funds and create second funds. For the Ukrainian tech ecosystem, to be more integrated into (the ecosystems of) the U.S. and Europe.”

The Kyiv Post’s technology

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Quote #1:

Representative Warren Davidson acknowledged that the “capital is fleeing the US to jurisdictions with legislative certainty”. He also admitted: “there are lots of securities laws I’d like to change”.

Commentary: What a refreshing, positive, open-minded and promising attitude in contrast to “ban and outlaw” posture of Representative Brad Sherman of California last week.

Quote #2:

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce found it to be “candidly depressing to see that lots of activity moving offshore” due to sluggish steps to define regulatory frameworks for crypto in the US. She is “worried that we will be missing the way to attract innovation”.

Commentary: Great to see this level of self-awareness from SEC as well as their announcement to launch FinHUB as the 1st step in addressing the issue


Quote #3:

Amy Kim, Chief Policy Officer at Chamber of Digital Commerce mentioned a legitimate dilemma as to “how to manage global currency while applying local rules”, announced some changes to Global AML compliance and introduced a new term VASP or “Virtual Asset Service Provider” (

Commentary: I once wrote my opinion in “Crypto-Geopolitics” article in May 2018 (, that in crypto-economy there will be limits to the US ability to export regulatory influence on other jurisdictions. Unfortunately, I still see an effort to shoehorn old fiat practices into a new reality. In my opinion friction and antagonism followed by loss of power to a certain degree is inevitable. Once these limitations are fully understood, a natural urge to “ban and outlaw” follows as a reaction, just as Representative Brad Sherman of California demonstrated last week.



… and a bonus, a good quote from Deloitte Principal Tim Davis:

“If you overly emphasize ‘blockchain’ when marketing your project, chances are high you will face a great deal of skepticism”.

#crypto #cryptoregulations #geopolitics #digitalassets #digitalsecurities #TokenTaxonomyAct #crypto #geopolitics #decentralization #consensus2019 #compliance #kyc #congress#sec #deloitte #tokenization #blockchain #sto #geneswinton #smartsherpas


You can reach me with questions or comments on LinkedIn at

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Dear Representative Brad Sherman,

I have strong reservations about the efficacy of any ban imposed on crypto in the USA, as it won’t alleviate the evolution of money in the rest of the world. “Love cannot be compelled” and it will be up to the US to maintain its geopolitical relevance in this century by staying IN the game (e.g. the State of Wyoming) but without relying on traditional centralized tools and levers of control such as swift, Fedwire, etc.

My article from 1 year ago appears to have even more relevance today

#crypto #geopolitics #decentralization #congress #regulations #wyoming
You can reach me with questions or comments on LinkedIn at

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San Francisco

During a casual conversation with a friend this past weekend, I was asked: “What does blockchain have to do with politics or geopolitics, and how can it improve a society’s self-governance?”. He went on saying, “after all, blockchain is just a technology, just a different version of an excel spreadsheet that sits on a cloud and not worth the hype”.

My opinion on this is very simple. With every century or millennium of evolution, humankind is shifting away from a strictly centralized model, such as a monarchy, to newer formats where the percentage of power concentrated in the hands of a select few is reduced. Each society and each culture is moving at their own pace along the X-axis from left to right on the below image, with the most advanced of them currently being in the stage of democracy, where about 40-50% of power resides in the hands of institutions, which we collectively elected and agreed to place their authority above ourselves to maintain order and guarantee fairness of all kind of transactions or human interactions.

We have politicians, we have judges and arbitrage courts, we have Fed &central banks, we use custody and escrow services, we have real estate agents and government land registries, we have centralized stock exchanges …. we literally have intermediaries in every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, such centralized intermediaries and institutions have a strong tendency of becoming corrupt and rotting over time defeating the original purpose of why they were created. Besides the unnecessary friction, centralized institutions accumulate asymmetrical power and frequently run the risk of betraying the trust that the public put into them.

So, what does it have to do with blockchain? Everything!

One of the biggest advantages that blockchain provides is its “trustless” nature and its huge potential to disintermediate any concentration of power across all aspects of human society. The term “trustless” doesn’t mean the trust is no longer needed between the transacting parties, instead, it means the trust is automatically provided and guaranteed by the DLT technology to eliminate counter-party risk and provide peace of mind. By disintermediating all the processes, we reduce– if not eliminate, unnecessary friction and existing asymmetries in society, including reducing the percentage of direct involvement from government, pushing it along the X-axis one step further to the right and closer to Republic (see above image).

Can we make it happen as a society? Only time will show.

Today people are divided into two camps: those who trash-talk anything that has to do with blockchain or crypto and those who praise it as the holy grail. It shows a split of mentality between:

a) those, who prefer to live their life with some superpower always above their head, who would have the authority to prescribe what is right and what is wrong decision to make.

b) and those who prefer for everyone to be equal, with blockchain and smart contracts technology taking the main load of delivering fairness and trust among members of society.

Today’s technology advancements offer a unique evolutionary opportunity to modern society to transition from previous clumsy centralized societal structures to more robust and dynamic peer-to-peer human transactions and interactions. For the first time in history, we can have billions of human decisions amplified by the swarm wisdom of AI, billions of human interactions accelerated by the speed of 5G and achieve this bypassing any central authority in a truly democratized fashion through the use of distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). And by the way, examples of this already exists if we look at the mother nature: shoaling and schooling fish, flocks of birds, swarms of bees and ants.

It may take another decade for people to fully grasp the benefits of the technology and it may take another century before humans dare to implement structural changes, such as using crypto as the world’s reserve currency, but it appears that the process has started and has surpassed the point of no return –regardless of how the incumbents in power today try to resist this paradigm shift through their lobby groups or regulations.


You can reach me with questions or comments on LinkedIn at

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