For some reason or another, cryptocurrency and sports have long been intersected with one another. Maybe it’s the size of the audience in sports, the money circulating in professional sports circles, or the potential that there is an odd overlap between fans of digital assets and sports.
Whatever the case, it was just revealed that the NBA’s Sacramento Kings team, based in the heart of Silicon Valley, will be leveraging the Ethereum blockchain to bolster the experience of its fans.
Sacramento Kings Continues To Delve Into Blockchain
Per a press release published to the official NBA website on January 15th, the Kings will be launching a new auction platform that will allow fans to buy in-game sports gear (game-worn jerseys , balls, etc.).
The platform was made in collaboration with ConsenSys, an Ethereum-centric blockchain development studio, for it actively uses a solution called Treum, which uses blockchain for supply chain.
As to why this new platform is being used instead of a traditional digital auctioning system, the NBA press release indicated:
By using this platform, every auctioned item will be authenticated, and a transparent audit trail of product history will be established, so fans will be assured that each piece of gear is authentic. Through this partnership, the Kings and ConsenSys are effectively increasing the resale potential for authenticated merchandise on secondary markets.
The release continued by noting that the U.S. sports memorabilia market has been valued at $5.4 billion annually, but further adding that there is no proper system in place that ensures the goods being sold in this multi-billion-dollar market are 100% bona fide.
While this is an Ethereum-based solution, there will be no cryptocurrency component involved for fans. The goods being auctioned can be paid for using a credit card, not Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other top crypto assets.
This is the latest time the Sacramento Kings’ management has opted to use cryptocurrency or blockchain in their business.
In 2014, the NBA team made history when it began to accept Bitcoin as payment in their arena. Late last year, the company announced that it will be offering vinyl collectible figurines powered by Ethereum, with each toy being assigned a non-fungible token that ensures that no two Crypto Kaijus are the same.
Also last year, the company launched a blockchain-based platform that will allow fans to make predictions and forecasts for NBA games for rewards.
Maybe it should come as no surprise, then, that the team has been named the “most innovative company in sports” by Fast Company and “Most Tech-Savvy Team of 2016” by Sport Techie.
Institutions Are All For Ethereum
The Kings’ latest attempt to use Ethereum confirms a trend of an array of institutions using the blockchain for bona fide products.
Early 2019, JP Morgan, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, unveiled “JPM Coin,” revealing that this digital form of money would be based on Quorum, a private version of Ethereum’s stack.
Spanish banking giant Santander continued this trend of banks using the blockchain. The bank issued a $20 million bond all through the Ethereum blockchain’s contracts and ERC-20 tokens, while financial ratings and research company Morningstar began an initiative to migrate some of its services over to the Ethereum blockchain.
Also, Ernst & Young, a “Big Four” professional services and auditing giant, last year announced a solution called Nightfall, giving Ethereum users and developers a chance to start integrating privacy while still keeping transactions on chain.
On the horizon, Fidelity Investments — an American financial services giant that has trillions of dollars worth of assets under management and services thousands of institutional clients —