Cryptocurrency isn’t fully mainstream yet, but the Dallas Mavericks are looking to ensure its business is ready when it is.
This summer, the Mavericks became the second NBA team to accept bitcoin payments for merchandise and tickets. That came little more than a year after the team partnered with Lympo, a blockchain app to motivate people to exercise.
The Sacramento Kings were well ahead of the rest of the league, accepting the payment form in 2014.
But rather than wait until more people are using cryptocurrency, Mavericks Chief Technology Officer David Herr said the organization is providing those who want to use it an option while it also allows the business to prepare for more wide-scale adoption.
“[Users] are pretty low, I don’t want to say infancy, but it’s a select group of people using it,” Herr said. “We did some research, heard some discussions and conversations and one comment was it’s still complicated to 99% of the population. Until it’s more widely accepted, it’s a cottage industry or a neat way to pay.”
“I don’t have a crystal ball, we’re just building a platform to be flexible and responsive.”
With that in mind, Herr said the team wants to be on the cutting edge as education about the technology increases. The Mavericks also want to give fans as many options to pay as possible.
“It’s more than offering crypto,” he said. “We want to provide cool things for the fans and crypto was in response to some requests we’ve had.”
The Maverick’s partnered with BitPay to process the Bitcoin purchases, which Herr said should help make the process for whoever chooses to use the cryptocurrency to pay seamlessly.
BitPay provides the Mavericks with a platform that acts as an accounting service of sorts and helps streamline crypto payments. That helps soothe some of the issues that come with historic volatility of cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, which was less than a dollar in 2011 and surged to more than $19,000 in 2018 before settling to the current price of approximately $8,700 as of November 13.
Similarly, Herr said the company continues to work on a loyalty system where fans can earn points through blockchain and exchanged for merchandise.
The Lympo partnership is a three-year deal and includes the team’s practice jersey patch and naming rights to its practice facility, which is now called the Lympo Training Facility and Lympo Training Court. The app encourages users to live a healthy lifestyle and exercise, earning tokens for their efforts, which can then be redeemed in an ecosystem built to use the tokens.
“The Dallas Mavericks is a team with a strong vision,” Lympo CEO Ada Jonuse said when the partnership was announced. “Together, we will inspire people around the world to be healthier using groundbreaking blockchain technology.”
Lympo is based in Lithuania, which lines up with Herr’s statement that cryptocurrency currently has a higher adoption rate in Eastern Europe, as well as Asia. Herr said the cryptocurrency program results thus far have lined up fairly geographically with those regions.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been a cryptocurrency skeptic in the past but also has investments in the industry. Like Herr, Cuban said the Mavs endeavors are about providing options in announcements.
Whether Lympo or Bitcoin – or any number of cryptocurrency that have come and gone – Herr said the Mavericks are simply interested in the blockchain possibilities.
“It’s crypto as a whole, that’s where we’re focused, not so much Bitcoin,” Herr said. “We want to make sure we have a platform that can engage with them whatever currency they’re using.
“It’s just seeing where it’s going, there are so many opportunities, it’s the wild west and we still need to see where the dust settles.”