Crypto trading platform Voyager Digital has inked a deal with the Dallas Mavericks basketball team aiming to make crypto more accessible through fan engagement and other educational programs.
In an Oct. 27 announcement, Voyager Digital said it would become the Mavs first cryptocurrency brokerage and international partner in a five-year deal. The trading platform will also have naming rights over the franchise’s Mavs Gaming Hub in Dallas, a venue for the Mavs NBA 2K League team.
“This partnership gives us the opportunity to educate people all over the world on ways to use crypto in their everyday lives,” said Voyager Digital co-founder and CEO Steve Ehrlich. “We want to help people learn alternate ways to grow their wealth to achieve true financial freedom and build intergenerational wealth through crypto. We found a great partner to do this with in the Mavs and their owner, Mark Cuban, who is already deeply involved in the space.”
Under owner Mark Cuban, the basketball franchise was one of the first in the NBA to accept crypto payments for tickets and merchandise. The Mavs first started accepting Bitcoin (BTC) in 2019, and this year — perhaps due to Cuban being a major Dogecoin (DOGE) proponent — expanded to include the meme-based token.
Related:Coinbase announces multiyear partnership with NBA and WNBA
Many crypto companies and platforms have formed partnerships with sports organizations across the globe as the space expands and seemingly becomes more profitable as a sponsor. Crypto derivatives exchange FTX announced it had become the official sponsor of Major League Baseball in June and previously struck a deal to name the Miami Heat’s home stadium the FTX Arena until 2040.
The announcement comes following the Mavs kicking off the 2021–2022 season on Oct. 6.
Following JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s recent comments that Bitcoin is worthless, two well known billionaires have leapt to its defense — although both of them say Ether has some even more desirable properties.
During an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box on Oct. 13, Barry Sternlicht, the co-founder of Starwood Capital Group said that gold was actually “worthless” and he is hodling Bitcoin (BTC) because every government in the “western hemisphere” is printing endless amounts of money.
Sternlicht is estimated to have a net worth of around $4.4 billion and is known for his investments in the real estate market via Starwood Capital Group. The investment firm was founded in 1991 and reportedly has around $95 billion worth of assets under management (AUM).
Sternlicht was asked for his take on Jamie Dimon’s reiterated skepticism over BTC being “worthless.”
“Gold is kind of worthless too, and so is silver, I mean they have some industrial uses but they are minor. The reason I own Bitcoin is because the U.S. government and every government in the western hemisphere is printing money now to the end of time,” he said.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has a net worth of $4.3B, echoed similar sentiments when he spoke to CNBC Make IT on Wednesday. Cuban said that BTC is “better than gold,” before going on to say that he thinks Ethereum has the “most upside” as an investment.
Despite favoring BTC over gold, Sternlicht also went on to qualify his support for Bitcoin with praise for Ethereum.
“Bitcoin is a dumb coin, it has no real purpose other than a store of value, and it’s crazily volatile. So Ether, I own some of that, it’s a programmable Bitcoin and there are tons of other coins that are built on that system.”
“I’ve become very interested in blockchain technology as a whole, and the digital ledger which is going to change everything, we’re probably in inning one,” he added.
Related:Billionaire Bill Miller advocates for Bitcoin, but doubtful on altcoins
Not every billionaire is on board the crypto train however. Larry Fink the chairman of the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock ($9.4 trillion AUM) stated that he’s “probably more on the Jamie Dimon camp.”
“I’m not a student of Bitcoin and where it’s going to go so I can’t tell you whether it’s going to $80K or $0. But I do believe there is a huge role for a digitized currency,” he said.
Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban’s NBA franchise, started a cashback rewards program to incentivize merchandise and ticket payments in Dogecoin (DOGE).
The rewards program is dubbed “Mavs Cryptomania,” and customers who spend more than $150 worth of Dogecoin in one transaction will receive a $25 e-gift card that they can use for online purchases in the Dallas Mavs shop.
The program is slated to finish on September 30. At the time of writing, users will need to outlay 505 Doge in order to receive the e-gift card.
The Mavs started accepting DOGE for payments back in March and were also one of the first NBA franchises to accept Bitcoin (BTC) payments for tickets and merchandise back in 2019.
Cuban is a major Dogecoin proponent and stated in April that while the coin started as a joke, it is “becoming a digital currency” due to its increasing adoption rate.
The billionaire investor stated in May that Dogecoin had outperformed other crypto assets in terms of merchandise purchases, as he noted that “we sell more Mavs merchandise for DOGE on a typical day […] than we did in a year with BTC or ETH.”
Cuban has become a prominent figure in crypto and blockchain tech in 2021 and has backed various crypto and blockchain projects such as Ethereum-based scaling solution Polygon, NFT protocol Alethea AI and NFT marketplace providers Genius, to name a few.
The Mavs owner recently fired back in response to Donald Trump’s latest FUD in which he suggested that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies were a “disaster waiting to happen.”
Related:Doge meme hits $220M valuation, as Sotheby’s Bored Apes auction is tipped to fetch $18M
Dallas Mavericks fans now have a new crypto option to purchase team merchandise with.
Supporters of the professional basketball organization can now use Litecoin (LTC) for online store purchases, according to Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the franchise.
Cuban is an outspoken supporter of multiple crypto projects, and his team has been an early adopter of digital assets. By March of this year, the Mavs were already supporting payments made with Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), USD Coin (USDC), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), Paxos Standard (PAX), Binance USD (BUSD) and Dogecoin (DOGE).
Cuban has been particularly bullish on DOGE, telling CNBC earlier this month that the asset was carving out a niche that gives it an edge over other cryptocurrencies. Last week, he tweeted that the Mavericks were launching a summer merch sale with “special pricing” for customers paying in Dogecoin.
Coming soon to https://t.co/VUydpLFzGh a summer merch sale with special pricing for those who pay with @dogecoin !!! 🚀🚀🚀
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) August 13, 2021
This week, Litecoin’s official Twitter account posted a suggestion for Cuban, implying the Mavericks owner could get extra business using LTC.
Cuban, who was tagged in Litecoin’s post, responded within a few hours.
You can buy all the @dallasmavs merch you want at @dallasmavsshop with Litecoin. Just pick Litecoin when you check out ! Tell your friends !
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) August 17, 2021
Cuban implied on Twitter last week that some of his companies allow payments “in any crypto.” He didn’t clarify whether or not this flexibility applied to the Mavericks organization.
“I don’t shill Doge. I shill the products and services of my companies. Where we allow people to pay in ANY crypto,95% of the sales are in DOGE.”
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Crypto.com Capital has made a strategic investment into a multichain NFT marketplace aiming to be the eBay for NFTs, dubbed “Hodooi.com.”
The platform is a new startup from Travala Founder Matt Luczynski and will officially launch on Binance Smart Chain (BSC) in Q3 2021, and integrate with Ethereum in the same quarter.
The Crypto.org Chain recently upgraded the mainnet to offer NFT support and HoDooi.com intends to integrate it on the platform to “expand the options for creators and collectors alike.”
The amount of investment wasn’t disclosed by Crypto.com. Bobby Bao of Crypto.com Capital said:
“We were impressed by Matt’s track record at Travala, and jumped at the opportunity to support him in his latest venture.”
Hodooi has already partnered with Gold Star Promotions and Plogix Art Group to provide licensed NFT sales depicting professional sporting athletes and will host star boxer Tyson Fury’s NFT drop on July 12th.
The platform intends to add additional sales channels on top of the regular NFT marketplace structure, with users also being able to use the platform to buy and sell eBooks, coupons, tickets, games, and other collectibles in the future.
Cuban: NFT maverick
Billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban plans to launch NFTs linked to tickets for basketball games. Speaking on Gary Vaynerchuck’s podcast, Cuban noted the plan was to launch them for the next NBA Season.
“We will start doing it this coming season, where we’ll issue an NFT after you’ve chosen your ticket on Ticketmaster or whatever,” Cuban said.
The billionaire emphasized that “there is no limit to the value we can add” to the tickets, as tying them to NFTs would essentially make them verifiable collectibles or memorabilia, which fans will be able to resell online.
Cuban recently backed a $4 million seed funding round fo start-up NFT Genius, which plans to build a diverse NFT marketplace on the Flow blockchain.
Details on the marketplace dubbed “Gaia” are sparse, but it will reportedly be music-focused, with further plans to expand into gaming, sports, and comedy in the future.
Hot Wheels NFTS
Beloved toy car maker Mattel Creations is set to enter the NFT market with nonfungible tokens depicting Hot Wheels cars.
The company will auction three one-of-one NFTs in a collection dubbed “The First Editions,” with the iconic models “Twin Mill, Deora II, and Bone Shaker” tokenized.
The auction starts from June 22 and will run for seven days. Mattel will be taking bids and payments in Ethereum.
Related:Digital land in Decentraland sells for $913K… to a virtual property developer
Cosmetics firm “e.l.f” is dropping a set of tokenized beauty products that are surprisingly cheap.
The firm will release a set of three limited edition NFTs depicting the Poreless Putty Primer, 16HR Camo Concealer and Ride or Die Lip Balm all priced to match the physical products they depict (between $5 and $9).
The firm notes that “no crypto kitties were harmed” in minting the NFTs as it chose carbon-negative NFT platform Bitski to host the sale, which goes live today at 11 am PDT.
Cointelegraph reported on June 17 that CNN is launching its own NFTs collectibles depicting historic news moments. Fox announced a $100 million creative fund to support the development of its NFT marketplaces dedicated to its animated tv shows.
Joe Exotic, the star of cult-favorite documentary Tiger King and convicted, is set to drop NFTs from behind bars.
After only three days accepting Dogecoin (DOGE) as a form of payment, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is predicting the price of the token will eventually hit $1.
In a Saturday tweet, Cuban said customers had used more than 20,000 Dogecoin — roughly $1,018 at the time of publication — in transactions for the Dallas Mavericks, claiming the franchise was now “the largest Dogecoin merchant in the world.” The billionaire predicted that if basketball fans were to purchase 6,556,000,000 DOGE worth of Mavericks merchandise, the price of the token would “definitely hit $1.”
The @dallasmavs have done more than 20,000 #Dogecoin in transactions, making us the LARGEST #DOGECOIN MERCHANT IN THE WORLD ! We thank all of you and can only say that if we sell another 6,556,000,000 #DOGECOIN worth of Mavs merch, #dogecoin will DEFINITELY HIT $1 !!!
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) March 6, 2021
The Mavericks were one of the first NBA franchises to recognize crypto as a form of payment for tickets and merchandise, having started accepting Bitcoin (BTC) through wallet company BitPay two years ago. Mavericks fans can also pay for gear and souvenirs with Bitcoin Cash (BCH), USD Coin (USDC), Gemini dollar (GUSD), Paxos Standard (PAX) and Binance USD (BUSD).
Despite being created as a joke, DOGE has surged in the last few months as billionaires including Cuban and Tesla CEO Elon Musk have mentioned the token on social media. Musk’s tweets have likely contributed to the price of the token rising from $0.01 in January to an all-time high of $0.078. At the time of publication, the DOGE price is $0.0509, meaning the token would need to surge 1,864% to reach $1.
The Dallas Mavericks owner previously described DOGE as an “economics teaching tool,” saying the token was the “best entertainment bang for your buck available” on the crypto market. Even with the surge in DOGE payments for the basketball franchise, Cuban said he was still “having fun” and hasn’t changed his opinions about the token.
Dogecoin (DOGE) will continue gaining traction, and it will soon be entering the NBA thanks to seasoned investor and owner of Dallas Mavericks – Mark Cuban.
Dallas Mavericks will be accepting Dogecoin payments for tickets and merchandise purchased online. The NBA team and BitPay – one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency payment services – will partner up to enable Dogecoin payments by fans.
The hype Tesla founder Elon Musk has created for Dogecoin seems to have carried on and snowballed, as the meme-based cryptocurrency has entered mainstream adoption. The Mavs are not the only ones who have embraced Dogecoin as a form of payment. Earlier this week, Coinflip ATM provider announced that the Shiba-Inu token will be made available for purchase across 45 states in the U.S., on 1,800 machines.
Before DOGE, the Dallas Mavericks have been accepting Bitcoin as payment for almost two years. Although the NBA franchise has been very forward-thinking with cryptocurrencies, it is not the first in the league to accept cryptocurrencies – In 2014, the Sacramento Kings announced it will accept Bitcoin payments for tickets and merchandise.
Mark Cuban embraces crypto and NFT wave
Mavs owner Mark Cuban previously disclosed that he himself had bought DOGE initially so that his son could teach him about crypto. He said:
“For those of you who would like to learn more about Dogecoin, we strongly encourage you to talk to your teenagers who are on TikTok and ask them about it. They will be able to explain it all to you.”
Mark Cuban, the owner of NBA Dallas Mavericks and a billionaire investor, has been among the market bulls embracing the cryptocurrency wave. Cuban appears to favour Ethereum over Bitcoin, however, having only warmed up to the “digital gold” asset recently.
The Dallas Mavericks’ Dogecoin announcement comes as Cuban revealed that he recently invested in Mintable, an NFT platform. The NFT company took to Twitter to announce that the seasoned investor has backed its services, saying:
“It’s official! Mark Cuban has invested in Mintable & we are now proud to be one of the Mark Cuban Companies!”
Cuban said that in his opinion, NFTs were potentially going to replace physical collectables at some point. He himself has gotten ahead of the game by launching his very own NFT-based “Mark Cuban mini-series.”
What are NFTs?
NFTs are non-fungible tokens that have been all the rage as of lately. They are tokens that are used in several applications, where you can find digital items such as crypto art, digital collectables, and online gaming accessories. NFTs are one of their kind and are what StadiumTalk dubs “the Mona Lisa of baseball cards,” as each token is unique and irreplaceable.
Most NFTs run on the Ethereum blockchain, and they represent physical assets that have been tokenized. Currently, the hype around NFTs has led to an explosion of digital art being sold leveraging the technology.
Recently, a Banksy art piece worth $95,000 was bought by a blockchain company. The Banksy painting was digitized by Injective protocol. The process involved burning the painting to then create a digital representation of the art using blockchain technology.
Mark Cuban is best known as the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, a staple on Shark Tank, and – in some circles – an occasional commentator on bitcoin.
“Watching the cryptos trade, it’s EXACTLY like the internet stock bubble. EXACTLY,” Cuban tweeted in January, on the heels of BTC’s jump above $40k. Many saw the thread as bearish on bitcoin, or even bitcoin-hostile.
“As during the dot-com bubble ‘the experts’ try to justify whatever the pricing of the day is. Crypto, much like gold, is a supply and demand driven. All the narratives about debasement, fiat, etc are just sales pitches. The biggest sales pitch is scarcity vs demand.”
Renowned bitcoin skeptic (and goldbug) Peter Schiff poured gasoline on the fire, replying, “The difference is that some of those early internet stocks actually had real value. So they survived and ultimately thrived. None of the cryptos have any real value so there will be no winners. They will all lose.”
Mark Cuban’s actual take on bitcoin? It can be tough to pinpoint and for many, Cuban’s take matters. It has weight. When people like Cuban give BTC an endorsement or a swipe, this adds or subtracts legitimacy in the eyes of the. non-crypto-twitter crowd.
And that’s why Cuban’s Wednesday tweet, in the midst of GameStop mania, raised eyebrows.
Whatever the billionaire’s misgivings about the bitcoin market, he’s all-in on NFTs and other blockchain-based ideas for his Dallas Mavericks. “You can sell anything digital using NFT,” he tells CoinDesk, hinting at plans to sell an array of digital goods soon.
We know that Cuban has bought bitcoin and still owns bitcoin, but we also know that he once said, “I’d rather have bananas than bitcoin,” as he “could eat bananas – bitcoin, not so much.”
Then again, his take is more nuanced. Even in his ranty “EXACTLY like the internet stock bubble” thread, he took the time to reply to Schiff, offering a quasi-defense of crypto: “What value does any collectible have other than in the eye of the buyer? Why would a digital collectible be any different?”
Cuban has always had a nose and gift for provocation. This is, after all, the same Mark Cuban who once got into a fake fight with a fake referee as an April Fool’s Joke, was slapped with a $500,000 fine for an on-court tirade, and did his own stunts on the set of Sharknado 3, where he played the President of the United States, because of course.
These taunts seem to continue with bitcoin. Could we have a … President Mark Cuban? In early January, he tweeted that he’ll run for president if the price of bitcoin cracks $1 million. Specifically, “I’ll run if BTC gets to $1m AND we can get commitments to donate 350 BTC to the Treasury each of the 4 yrs so that we can give 1 satoshi to every citizen each yr, that they must hold for 10 years. How’s that sound :)”
So what’s actually going on here?
Is Cuban a bitcoin skeptic or bull?
Is he serious about running for president?
To clarify his thoughts on bitcoin and the overall blockchain space, I exchanged a few emails with the billionaire entrepreneur. He shares some advice on what to when HODLing, reveals that the Mavericks have plans for NFTs, says he sees potential in DeFi, and for those of you hoping for a Cabinet position in the Cuban Administration – sorry – he admits he was mostly “screwing around.”
Oh, and as for the overall blockchain space? Cuban thinks “the upside is truly unlimited.”
CoinDesk: My understanding is that you bought bitcoin way back in the early days of Coinbase, and still haven’t sold. (Congrats, btw.) Is this accurate?
Mark Cuban: I actually was given some back then. I bought some along the way.
How have your thoughts on bitcoin evolved since then?
Cuban: Hasn’t changed a bit. I never thought it was anything more than a store of value.
You’ve tweeted that “Along the way MANY fortunes will be made and LOST and we find out who has the stomach to HODL and who doesn’t. My advice? Learn how to hedge.” Can you unpack what you mean, exactly, by learning how to hedge?
Cuban: Most people can’t handle volatility whether it’s stocks or crypto. But more importantly as the price of BTC goes up there is an increasing pressure. It’s hard to spend $35k on a single BTC and not get nervous.
What do you mean by pressure?
Cuban: The same pressure that comes with any investment. What will I do if it goes down. And the “oh fuck, this shit just dropped 10k dollars in 5 hours, WTF!” “My wife is going to kill me,” or “That’s more than I made in 3 months.” That kind of pressure.
Now imagine you just borrowed $100k against your house, because your friend told you BTC could go to $100k by the end of the year. You borrow, you buy let’s say 3 BTC on Coinbase. But what you didn’t tell your friend is that you can’t afford the payments on that BTC loan. [You think] it only goes up. So you plan to sell a little bit of the BTC every month to pay it off. You get the confirmation. You are all excited because the last week it’s been going up $3k a day or more! Then boom. Shit craters to $28k, and you just lost $15k in 15 hours. You are still having to make that loan payment. And you are freaked out.
Totally freaked out.
Cuban: Now some people would say they should have known better. But it’s not that it’s different than the stock market; the same thing can happen [with equities]. But this is why I said it’s like the internet stock boom.
People were rushing in, thinking it could only go up. That the internet stocks would not go down. Until they did and people got crushed. One minute you are a millionaire on paper, the next minute your loan on your house gets called.
And the same happens to professional investors as well. They margin because the trend is their friend, and then it’s not. It blows up on them. HODLers don’t care. They have their stash already. But to everyone else getting involved, the volatility is high stress.
If you are going to play the game you have to know how to use options, even though they aren’t that liquid. Even if it’s just selling some of the volatility with calls as a way to cover some of your downside.
Interesting. Have you done this?
Cuban: This isn’t something I have done yet, but it’s something I certainly have explored.
You also said in the same twitter thread that “the biggest sales pitch is scarcity vs demand.”… That BTC, by its design, is scarce, and people want it, so when more people want it, the price goes up. But is that a bad thing? Isn’t that a feature, not a bug? In other words, how is gold any different?
Cuban: It’s exactly the same. No one really needs gold jewelry. Nor does anyone really need BTC.
Do you think bitcoin will ever be used for anything outside of an investment vehicle?
Cuban: Sure. If DeFi and BTC can evolve together in a manner that allows BTC to effectively be a bank account without the bank. That creates utility for BTC. But right now there are so many products being created, it’s going to be the wild west for a while
How about ETH? It seems like there are many potential use cases, no?
Cuban: I like ETH. Obviously it’s a primary foundation for DeFi, and we will see what happens with ETH 2.
The Carolina Panthers’ Russell Okung is now being paid in bitcoin. Have any Dallas Mavericks expressed interest in being compensated in bitcoin? Do you think that’s something more athletes will pursue in the future? If so, would you be open to it?
Cuban: He isn’t really getting paid in crypto. He converts his cash. It’s a non-event but a fun story.
You’ve famously (and hilariously) said that you would run for president if BTC hits $1 million. [Note: Cuban added some additional stipulation, that “we can get commitments to donate 350 BTC to the Treasury each of the 4 yrs so that we can give 1 satoshi to every citizen each yr, that they must hold for 10 years.”] Were you just screwing around, or are you serious?
Cuban: Screwing around, but I do think every American citizen should have a digital account that can hold money, stocks, and any digital currency / crypto.
On that note, what do you think are the chances that BTC gets to $1 mil? More broadly, what do you think is the most likely fate of bitcoin?
Cuban: Depends on how many people and institutions replace gold with BTC, and whether DeFi becomes a real bank alternative that anyone can use. The problem is that the whales control the game. There are not enough big owners of bitcoin. Too much is in too few hands. That creates market liquidity and market-maker challenges.
You’ve said that bitcoin isnota hedge against doomsday scenarios. Can you elaborate on why?
Cuban: Why is it? Just because the narrative is it’s a hedge doesn’t make it so, any more than gold is a hedge against inflation.
Thoughts on the DeFi boom?
Cuban: It has a shot. We have to get through the wild west period, but there is so little friction in transactions vs traditional banking. If they can get away from fear of KYC and other regulations, and let the products leverage their advantages, it really could change banking, dramatically.
But I’m not sure that BTC is the beneficiary. It’s too volatile. It’s hard to make a deposit of $200 dollars and then in three hours it’s worth $175.
Which, in turn, goes back to the efficiently of the markets and exchanges.
If they can get away from fear of KYC and other regulations, and let the products leverage their advantages, it really could change banking, dramatically.
Cuban: I wanted to see how many people wanted to use it as a currency. Next to nobody did.
Do you see any future for blockchain in the NBA, or sports in general? Tokenization projects? A MAVS coin?
Cuban: Digital goods for sure.
Can you give a few potential examples?
Cuban: You can sell anything digital using NFT. We can sell virtual Mavs gear, sneakers, art, pictures, videos, experiences, anything our imagination can come up with we can sell. We are looking at adding virtual jewelry, accessories and clothing that we create to real pictures in social media. So you can add cool Mavs virtual sneakers, that look as real as the ones on your feet, to your posts.
The challenge is creating the market. It’s starting to build up some with sneakers, art and special event pictures, but it can and should be so much more. I just don’t know when it becomes a real business. But this is an area I’m looking to invest in.
Anything you learned about the blockchain space from your experience backing the ICO launch of Unkoin Gold?
Cuban: I wasn’t active in that at all.
What’s your hope for bitcoin and the blockchain space?
Cuban: The upside is truly unlimited. It is a platform for any number of amazing applications that outperform their traditional finance counterparts.