Real Bedford Football Club, also known as the Bitcoin (BTC) soccer team, has won the United Kingdom’s South Midlands League for the 2023 season. The team, which has a Bitcoin logo on its strip and crypto sponsors, was bought by Bitcoin podcaster and club chairman Peter McCormack in 2022. McCormack rebranded the team to be Bitcoin-friendly Real Bedford, sharing his vision of one day owning an English Football League side. Real Bedford’s promotion to the next league is a significant milestone for the club, McCormack, and the Bitcoin community.
The win for Real Bedford is a win for Bitcoin, as it puts the club on the Bitcoin world map. Bitcoin advocates worldwide tuned into live streams of the game during the 2023 season, while stories of Bitcoin soccer fans from Slovakia traveling to Legend to paint the town red have become a local legend. The team has given British Bitcoin advocates a headquarters and Bitcoin sports lovers worldwide a team to rally around. The club’s emblem sports a founding block height of 712,003, rather than a founding date of 2021, which is a unique feature.
The last home game of the season for Real Bedford Football Club was attended by 327 fans, many of whom had traveled thousands of miles across the globe to watch a non-national league soccer team in a North London town. The fans and the critics are starting to believe in the team, and McCormack is now one step closer to realizing his soccer league dream. McCormack is reluctant to push Bitcoin the currency onto his local town, as Bedford is a deprived town, and he doesn’t want people to lose their money. He sees Bitcoin as a Trojan football, a meme in the Bitcoin space popularized by Alex Gladstein of the Human Rights Foundation, which explains that Bitcoin adoption delivers freedom as well as wealth.
Each Real Bedford home fixture puts on a pre-game Bitcoin meetup. Locals and traveling Bitcoin enthusiasts ask questions and learn more about the decentralized currency, while Real Bedford merch can be bought using the Lightning Network. A show of hands at the last game of the season demonstrated that, for many people, it was their first real-life interaction with Bitcoin. The goal is to communicate Bitcoin to the country and make people understand and have better regulations towards it. McCormack wants to emulate the success of Bitcoin Beach in El Salvador, but in Bedford.
Despite grassroots efforts from Brits at the Bitcoin Collective and the Bitcoin Policy U.K., government ministers are still trying to understand what Bitcoin is and how to regulate crypto. The Bitcoin party atmosphere over the weekend–champagne showers, dancing with the kit man, and nights out to the wee hours in Bedford–will have to contend with a country committed to adopting CBDCs or central bank digital currencies while a cohort of the U.K. population is unable to afford basic amenities. However, McCormack is undeterred and committed to the long game, saying: “I’m going to be here for the rest of my life here in Bedford at every game I can possibly be at trying to lift up my town.”
Real Bedford’s win is a significant milestone for the club and the Bitcoin community. It has given British Bitcoin advocates a headquarters and Bitcoin sports lovers worldwide a team to rally around. The club’s promotion to the next league is a step closer to McCormack’s soccer league dream, and he sees Bitcoin as a Trojan football to communicate Bitcoin to the country and make people understand and have better regulations towards it. Despite the challenges, McCormack is committed to lifting up his town of Bedford and making it a Bitcoin-friendly place.