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Petition Would Make XRP Official Currency Of 2020 Olympics




One man’s petition to make XRP the official cryptocurrency of the next Olympic games has nearly 12,000 signatures … and zero chance of having an effect.

An online petition, created months ago but recently gaining steam, has gained some attention this week in the crypto-press. The petition, apparently created by Japan resident Ken Takahashi, was originally aimed at getting 7,500 signatures before submission to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). That goal has been surpassed and has now been doubled to 15,000. The petition will likely reach that goal soon – about a thousand new signatories have been added in the last day. 

The substance of the petition is a request that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) declare XRP the official cryptocurrency of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. According to the petition:

"As tourists stream into the country, demand for the local currency skyrockets, causing long lines at currency exchanges, as seen at past events like Beijing 2008 and Rio de Janeiro 2016. Confusing exchange rates and language barriers further complicate the problem.
"We believe that the fast transaction times and security of Ripple Lab's XRP cryptocurrency would be a great contribution towards solving this problem."

It's hard to imagine a more sensible use case for cryptocurrency. As cryptocurrency is borderless, its use at an international event with attendees from every country on Earth seems natural. Additionally, were XRP (or any other cryptocurrency) to become the primary currency accepted at the Olympic games it would be a huge milestone toward mass adoption of cryptocurrency.

If such a thing were to happen, it would be huge. But here's the problem: It's not going to happen.

The IOC has control over licensing of the Olympic logo and name and accepts applications from those companies that wish to create clothes, coins, stamps, and other merchandise. But Ripple Labs has not made any statement that it wishes to be an Olympic sponsor.

While it's uncertain what it would mean for XRP to be the "official cryptocurrency" of the Olympics, it seems that the petition creator's intention goes beyond that of a licensing agreement.   

Based on the language of the petition, it instead seems the intention is that tickets for Olympic events could be paid for using XRP. In that case, it's not even clear the petition is addressed to the correct body. It addresses the IOC, but planning for Olympic games involves multiple bodies. The IOC has a planning division called the Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOG), which coordinates with national Olympic committees and the host city. Some previsions regarding payment and ticketing are included in the host city contracts, but details can be subject to approval by the OCOG.

The Tokyo Olympics are now less than two years away. The city won its bid to host the games in 2013 (and is reportedly already far over budget). The basic agenda of the games was completed in 2014.

Whatever body the authority of declaring an "official cryptocurrency" would actually devolve to (if any group even has that power), it's unlikely it will be exercising that power this late in the game, no matter how many people sign a petition. 

Tim Prentiss

Tim Prentiss has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno. He lives in Reno with his daughter. In his spare time he writes songs and disassembles perfectly good electronic devices.

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