Two-thousand fourteen is only 15-and-a-half days old, and it’s already been a big year for bitcoin firsts: The first online retailer to accept the cryptocurrency. The first politician to solicit campaign contributions in intangible money. Maybe the first inaptly-named bitcoin ATMs outside of Vancouver in Asia and New York?
A now, the first professional sports franchise accepting payment in bits: Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the Sacramento Kings, most recently seen almost moving to Seattle, but now owned by a man who made enough money to buy a basketball team writing software for Wall Street. You can start buying Sleep Train Arena (not kidding)
tickets and Isaiah Thomas (the younger and unrelated) jerseys with digital ducats on March 1, ensuring that the Kings beat any low-rent minor-league baseball teams with big ideas to the punch.
“When I sold the NBA on keeping the team in Sacramento, my pitch included using the sports franchise as a social network to push the technology envelope,” Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive told ESPN.com. “This is an example of that.”
Ranadive said that the acceptance of Bitcoin is one step closer to allowing fans to keep their wallets at home, thanks to what will eventually be a ticketless and cashless environment at the arena.
“My kids would go to games and ask why we didn’t accept Bitcoin,” Ranadive said….
While there’s risk to Bitcoin owners, because digital cash can be erased, there’s no risk to the Kings. The team will be using Bitcoin processor Bitpay, which accepts the digital dollars and pays the Kings in actual cash.