In an exciting fusion of sports and finance, Botev Plovdiv FC, a prominent club in Bulgaria’s top-flight football league, has embraced Bitcoin integration. This historic development has led to the adoption of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network, as well as the club’s participation in the decentralized Nostr protocol.
Bitcoin Scores a Goal
With immediate effect, supporters can now leverage BTC for peer-to-peer transactions at Botev Plovdiv FC’s fan shops and concessions during their games in the prestigious Bulgarian Parva Liga. Furthermore, the club has outlined its forthcoming plans to expand the use of Bitcoin payments to cover ticket purchases and its online merchandise store.
Anton Zingarevich, the president of this century-old football institution, expressed his enthusiasm for this pivotal step, underscoring the remarkable potential of the Lightning Network. He conveyed his excitement in a press statement:
“We foresee Bitcoin payments becoming as ubiquitous as the internet in our daily lives. This integration not only aligns with our vision but also offers our fans and stakeholders unparalleled convenience.“
This initiative materialized through a collaboration with BTCPay Server, a renowned Bitcoin payment processor celebrated for its open-source structure, secure infrastructure, and competitive merchant fees. CryptoDesk.bg, in partnership with Bitcoinize.com, managed the payment hardware, including the provision of point-of-sale devices. Nicolas Dorier, the founder of BTCPay Server, emphasized the significance of local BTC adoption, expressing their commitment to supporting transformative projects like the one in Plovdiv. George Manolov, the BTC director at Botev Plovdiv FC, elaborated on the myriad technological, social, and financial opportunities that BTC presents.
Besides embracing BTC, Botev Plovdiv FC has undertaken a digital transformation. The club’s official website received an overhaul, English-language social media channels were updated, and the club established a presence on Nostr, a decentralized protocol offering censorship-resistant social media. This adoption of Bitcoin and decentralized technologies mirrors the earlier move by Real Bedford, a UK-based football club that was the world’s first to embrace BTC. Peter McCormack, chairman of Real Bedford, shared his perspective on the developments in Bulgaria:
McCormack has been integrating Bitcoin into Real Bedford since 2021 and had discussions with Plovdiv before their BTC adoption. According to McCormack, BTC’s unique attributes can be likened to a “cheat code” for life. He is organizing a conference called “Cheat Code” in Bedford in Spring 2024.
Furthermore, during Plovdiv’s home game against the second-ranked team, Lokomotiv Plovdiv, football enthusiasts will have the option to make payments using BTC and the Lightning Network. The team announced this on BTC white paper day, both as a commemoration and to highlight their support for Bitcoin.