Wozniacki launches her own crypto token in partnership with GCOX

The tennis star, who is in town for the WTA Finals, becomes the fourth celebrity to do so

Singapore

SHE'S already one of the most famous and successful tennis players today, but Caroline Wozniacki now also wants to make a name for herself in the world of cryptocurrency.

The 28-year-old Dane - currently in town for the season-ending Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Finals that begins on Sunday at the Indoor Stadium - became the latest celebrity to partner Singapore-based Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX) and launch her own "celebrity token".

She joins three others who have already done so via the GCOX platform: Filipino boxing star Manny Pacquiao, former Manchester United and Liverpool footballer Michael Owen, and American singer-songwriter Jason Derulo.

These tokens are a form of digital currency, and they are fully owned by the individual celebrities.

GCOX facilitates the creation, listing and trading of the tokens on its blockchain called Acclaim (ACM). To buy tokens, a person needs to first obtain ACM tokens, which can be bought using traditional currencies.

The celebrity tokens can be used in a number of ways, be it to participate in meet-and-greet sessions with that particular celebrity, buy special merchandise, or connect directly with him or her through the GCOX platform.

In Wozniacki's case, she said fans who own her token - to be launched some time in early-2019 - can have the opportunity to get courtside tickets to her matches at major tennis tournaments, or even receive a personalised greeting from her for occasions such as birthdays.

"As an athlete, I do what I do best, which is to play tennis. But I'm always looking out for ways to get into the business world, and I think the blockchain and cryptocurrency business are the way forward," said Wozniacki at a signing ceremony held at Asia Square in Marina View.

GCOX co-founder and chief executive officer Jeffrey Lin told The Business Times his company's tokens stand out from other forms of cryptocurrencies because they are fully owned by the celebrities themselves.

"We are just providing the platform for people like Caroline to manage and promote their tokens. This isn't a speculative product," said Mr Lin.

"The tokens are like a stored-value card, if you like - they contain a certain value, to be used to pay for a future programme that the celebrity will launch."

On its official website, GCOX says its aim is to establish "the world's first authoritative popularity index", through the valuation of celebrity tokens by market forces.

The company also lists a number of "notable private investors", including Heliconia Capital Management chairman and former Neptune Orient Lines group deputy CEO Lim How Teck.

Some other backers are Tommie Goh, the founder of contract electronics manufacturer JIT Holdings; and Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the founder of Dubai's Bin Zayed Group.

While she continues to keep one eye on her business partnerships, Wozniacki insists she is fully focused on her task in Singapore - to defend the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global trophy that she won in style a year ago.

Since then, she's added the Australian Open title to her growing list of accolades. Earlier this month, she was crowned the China Open champion in Beijing.

"It's been an amazing season, probably my best one yet. I won my first Grand Slam, which has been a goal for a long time, and I regained my world No 1 ranking," she told BT.

"I'm happy to be back in Singapore as one of the top-eight players. It was a target that I set at the beginning of the year, and now that I'm here, I'm going to give it my all."

Earlier on Thursday, it was announced that the current world No 1 player Simona Halep had withdrawn from the WTA Finals due to a persistent back injury.

Replacing the Romanian in the singles line-up is Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands. The other six players competing at the US$7 million tournament are Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova.