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NBA team to accept bitcoins

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Friday, January 17, 2014
Posted: 2 pm ET

Lawmakers and banking executives are still unclear of how Bitcoin will impact the future of finance, but one professional sports franchise believes the alternative currency is a member of a winning team. The NBA's Sacramento Kings announced a new partnership with BitPay to process virtual payments for merchandise in the team's online store. By March 1, fans will even be able to buy tickets to games using bitcoins.

“With BitPay, we are able to implement a technology that allows our fans to make Kings-related purchases without physically reaching into their wallets," Vivek Ranadive, the Kings' majority owner, said in a prepared statement.

While it's a forward-thinking move for the franchise, it seems that the Kings have more to worry about than how their fans will pay for tickets. With a 14-23 win-loss record, I'm guessing the team will need to give supporters a reason why they should actually consider attending games. 

Regardless of how many basketball fans actually use bitcoins, it's another win for bitcoin advocates. Earlier this month, Overstock.com announced plans to begin accepting the currency, and popular online gaming company Zynga is testing a bitcoin payment system with a select number of its games. Still a bitcoin skeptic? Wait until you see a bitcoin ATM, which is exactly what startup company Robocoin is working to install around the world. The machines allow customers to convert cash to bitcoins and vice versa with a futuristic palm-identify verification system.

There are plenty of uncertainties that surround the stability of virtual currency, but one thing is clear: Many in the online community are not concerned about those initial fears. As more retailers and organizations announce a willingness to accept and process bitcoin payments, banking regulators will need to continue their research to determine how to effectively manage the cybercurrency.

What do you think of bitcoins? Would you be willing to use virtual money, or are you more comfortable with traditional dollars stored in "old-school" banks?

Follow me on Twitter: @davidmcmillin.

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