It is no secret that Bitcoin has reached the stage in which most of us can say for sure that it has an enormous influence on the world and people’s everyday interactions. However, what we often overlook is how influential it has been for the last few years, not just now. Cryptocurrencies and their price swings can have a direct impact on commerce.
That is the experience of the Sacramento Kings, a franchise in the National Basketball Association, or NBA, the world’s most renowned professional basketball league. The team spearheaded payments with crypto and Bitcoin for merchandise since 2014, and through its Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Ryan Montoya, has revealed some of the details.
Montoya offered his remarks to Front Office Sports in the middle of the week. Among other things, he explained that “people from all over the world were buying Kings jerseys, tickets, different Kings gear. They were super excited that this team was accepting Bitcoin […] We even put a Bitcoin ATM in the arena. Then the Bitcoin price went up to $1,200 and they quit spending the Bitcoin.”
Back in 2014
According to the team executive, back when the club launched the BTC payments initiative in 2014, the asset was valued at $800, which is almost ten times less than what it is worth at the time of writing this piece.
Yet, Montoya and the team are filled with optimism regarding the people’s use of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general despite any fluctuations in the price. BTC’s appreciation may make it less enticing to complete purchases with the asset, but despite that, the team remains committed and heavily involved in crypto and blockchain affairs.
For starters, the Sacramento Kings mine Bitcoin in its data center, according to reports. Also, this year they came up with a blockchain reward system, thanks to a strategic alliance with the Blockparty company. Montoya stated that “we have a very tech-savvy ownership group and innovation is a given; it’s part of our DNA.”
People continue to use crypto to pay for important things and services when it comes to the team. For example, those that hold seasonal tickets still use BTC to pay for them, per information provided by Montoya. Also, the Kings want to integrate blockchain across its ecosystem because it believes it has the potential to decrease friction for fan engagement.
Montoya said that the Sacramento Kings mining facility was set up for educational purposes, mostly. In fact, it is part of the MiningForGood community program, promoting the development of the local workforce.
“We utilize that to engage the community and teach the youth about STEM education and the importance of blockchain. Students of Sacramento should not be exposed to it 10 years from now, they should understand now that it’s a cool piece of technology and powering these things in the arena,” were Montoya’s words.
Not only are the Kings heavily engaged with blockchain technology, but they are also deep into crypto. For instance, they joined forces with CryptoKaiju and tested the waters of the crypto-collectibles world, also running interactive scavenger hunts for fans. They can earn Kaiju collectibles that go hand in hand with other benefits, such as courtside seats and VIP tours, for example.
By Andres Chavez