The Sacramento Kings will become the first major pro sports franchise to accept Bitcoin as payment, the team said Thursday.
The NBA team, based in Sacramento, Calif., said in a release that starting March 1 it will accept the digital currency for certain team merchandise and ticket transactions. It will utilize BitPay, a popular Bitcoin processing service, to handle the payments.
BitPay is said to be one of the easier processing services for merchants large and small. When the open-source hardware company Adafruit began accepting Bitcoin in November, company founder Limor Fried told CNET that among the most important features BitPay offers is letting clients stay out of the currency and exchange process. BitPay handles that for its clients, Fried explained.
Bitcoin's value can -- and does -- fluctuate wildly, and many have questioned the fundamental logic behind a purely digital currency having any value in the first place. But through BitPay and other processors, companies like the Kings, or Adafruit, simply get U.S. dollars after customers make purchases with Bitcoin.
In a November interview with CNET, BitPay co-founder and CTO Stephen Pair argued that Bitcoin's value is based on the currency enabling electronic transactions that settle immediately, that it can be accepted in any nation, and that it was designed for use on the Internet. Plus, the value comes from the strong demand for the currency, Pair said.
The currency's value -- Bitcoin is currently priced around $826 per coin -- is at least in part psychological; of course, that value could plummet if confidence in it sags. That could happen for many different reasons, including technical problems, or the intervention of governments like China's. Then again, there's now a way to pay the IRS with Bitcoin, so who knows where this digital currency is going?