Sacramento Kings Crowned First Pro Sports Team to Accept Bitcoin
(Updated by Endah)
- By Cade Metz
- 11:18 AM
The Sacramento Kings say they’ve become the first team in professional sports to accept bitcoin, the digital currency that’s rapidly moving into mainstream commerce.
According to the NBA franchise, it’s now accepting bitcoin payments inside a team retail store in Sacramento, California, and on March 1, it will let fans use the digital currency to purchase both tickets and merchandise on its website.
The move comes just a week after Overstock.com became the first major online retailer to embrace bitcoin. Though many who hold bitcoin today see it primarily as an investment — the value keeps going up along with its popularity — more and more businesses, both online and off, are beginning to accept the digital currency, and at least a portion of the still small bitcoin community is spending its virtual money on the most common of goods and services, from patio furniture to burritos.
Overstock tells us that during its first 26 hours accepting bitcoin payments, customers spent about $126,000 worth of the digital currency. “It’s a concept that could take off, and should take off, for a lot of reasons,” 32-year-old computer programmer Jason Steele told us after buying a phone case with bitcoin. “I want wider adoption. I want more businesses to use it.”
The Kings will accept bitcoins through an online service provided by Atlanta, Georgia-based startup BitPay. A BitPay spokesperson tells us that the service is now used by about 20,000 merchants, with about 1,000 signing up each week. In addition to the Kings, this includes the online blogging service WordPress and internet gaming outfit Zynga.
But as this Kings show, digital isn’t merely a means of buying stuff in the online world. By holding your phone up to internet-connected tablets in various stores and restaurants, you can also make purchases here in the real world. A Subway sandwich shop in Allentown, Pennsylvania is accepting bitcoins, as it is a Cal-Mex joint in Tokyo.