POSTED: Jan 16, 2014 1:58 PM ET
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Kings are set to become the first major professional sports franchise to accept Bitcoin virtual currency for ticket and merchandise purchases.
The Kings announced Thursday that fans will be able to buy gear from the official team store and pay for tickets with the digital money beginning March 1. Purchases will be processed through BitPay, which accepts the digital dollars and pays the Kings in cash.
Bitcoin users buy digital money and load it onto a virtual wallet. Unlike government-issued money, the value of Bitcoin fluctuates rapidly. At one point Thursday, the value of one Bitcoin was worth nearly $850.
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said the new payment method is part of his model for "NBA 3.0, which focuses on investments in technology, globalization and deep community partnerships."