While Fed Chairman Jerome Powell isn't bullish on cryptocurrency and bitcoin, in particular, saying that its volatility lowers its value, businesses and industries are embracing the digital currency as a form of payment.
The Oakland Athletics baseball team has become the latest organization to accept bitcoin. Right now, fans can purchase season-long access to suites at RingCentral Coliseum for a single bitcoin, which was worth about $55,000 as of Monday afternoon. Fans paying in U.S. dollars would shell out $64,800.
"I think we want to offer different options for our fans to transact, and we've been hearing from people on Twitter and through social media [and] emailing us that they wanted to transact with bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies," David Kaval, Oakland Athletics president, told Cheddar.
Thus far, the A's have not completed a crypto transaction, but Kaval said that there are three or four potential sales that the team expects to close on by Opening Day on April 1. Depending on the success of the program, the team may also begin to allow fans to use bitcoin to purchase items from concession stands and gift shops.
Kaval noted the stadium's proximity to the San Francisco Bay area, home to Silicon Valley where many of the world's biggest tech companies are headquartered.
For the A's, the team that pioneered the concept of "Moneyball" in Major League Baseball is confident in the trajectory of bitcoin and would likely hold onto the digital currency rather than converting it to cash.
"We think that there's obviously the chance that it continues to rise. Maybe it's an opportunity for [Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations] Billy Beane and [General Manager] David Forst, our baseball side, to go out and get some more players. We think it's a good way to diversify some of the things we're doing as a business and could give us a leg up on other businesses," Kaval noted.
If you're an A's fan and not absolutely crazy about spending tens of thousands of dollars to watch your team play from a suite, the stadium will be open at 20 percent capacity on Opening Day, allowing 11,000 spectators into the venue, and, depending on vaccination efforts, the number could be expanded by summer.
"It was encouraging to hear from Dr. Fauci that he thought by Fourth of July you could have maybe a return to more normalcy, and so obviously that's a big day for baseball with fireworks," Kaval said. "And having a full house around that time I think would be an incredible moment and way to celebrate getting through the pandemic and moving on into the new normal."