A Danish hockey team has reached a sponsorship agreement to rename its home Bitcoin Arena and offer to pay players in the digital currency. Bitcoin Suisse, a cryptocurrency financial services company, announced the partnership Thursday with Rungsted Seier Capital, which plays in Denmark’s top league.
The news was first reported by Danish outlet Berlingske Business.
One player, Nikolaj Rosenthal, has already agreed to receive his compensation in Bitcoin, which apparently makes him the first professional athlete ever to be paid in digital currency:
Top Rungsted player Nikolaj Rosenthal will pioneer the switch from traditional salary payments in Danish Kroner to become the first professional sports athlete to be paid fully and exclusively in Bitcoin, paving the way for others in- and outside of the world of professional sports to do the same.
At the start of the year, a single Bitcoin was worth less than $800. As of Thursday morning, one bitcoin was trading at over $16,000, according to CNBC. Part of Rosenthal’s deal reportedly protects him in case of a massive dive in the currency’s value, but it’s still a major leap on his part.
The deal, which will go into effect starting Dec. 27, will last for three years. As part of it, Saxo Bank Arena will be renamed and players will have the opportunity to receive their salaries in Bitcoin instead of traditional currency. The team will also hold a competition to celebrate the partnership where fans can win Bitcoin prizes.
Cryptocurrencies are complicated business, but this is the first time we’ve seen a professional sports team embrace one of them. There’s apparently nothing illegal about offering to pay players with digital currency, so there’s a non-zero chance this starts a trend of sorts. You can read more about what Bitcoin is, and how it works, with Vox’s explainer.
(Hat tip to r/hockey)