Sacramento Kings Will Become 1st Team in Pro Sports to Accept Bitcoin

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2014

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The Sacramento Kings just keep pushing the envelope, although new owner Vivek Ranadive would probably do away with envelopes if he could. 

While the 2013-14 season has seen the emergence of DeMarcus Cousins as basketball's best center, the growth of Isaiah Thomas and the redemption of Rudy Gay, the Kings have still struggled to keep pace in the tough Western Conference.

However, they've made plenty of noise when action isn't occurring, and this is just the latest development. 

Months after setting the all-time record for loudest sound produced at an indoor venue, the Kings have another first. According to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell, they'll become the first professional sports franchise to allow their fans to use Bitcoin as a method of payment. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the virtual currency, here's Rovell with the explanation: 

Bitcoin users buy the digital money and load it onto a virtual wallet. 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. Unlike credit and debit cards, BitPay charges a flat fee instead of a percentage of sale, which will allow the team to net more money on transactions if this becomes a more popular payment system.

Ranadive's overarching plan is to create a futuristic environment in Sleep Train Arena, one in which wallets are no longer necessary. And it's a plan that could happen sooner rather than later, as TechCrunch.com's Ingrid Lunden reports that he only met Tony Gallippi, the co-founder and CEO of BitPay, a week before this decision.  

"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," the first-year owner told Rovell. 

That's exactly what he's doing now, and Bitcoin is only the first step. Eventually, cash and tickets won't be seen at Sacramento games, allowing fans to focus on what's happening around them rather than keeping track of these apparently unnecessary items. 

Now Ranadive just needs to make wins occur with more frequency so that his fans actually want to use Bitcoin.