Washington Nationals ink partnership with Terra crypto community
The Washington Nationals baseball team on Wednesday announced a partnership with a cryptocurrency community that could allow fans to pay for tickets and concessions with digital tokens as soon as next year.
The D.C.-based MLB team struck a wide-ranging sponsorship deal with Terra, a network of individuals who run a blockchain behind several prominent cryptocurrencies.
The Terra network controls a pool of more than $2.7 billion through a decentralized autonomous organization, a structure popular among cryptocurrency communities that allows members to govern the operations of the entire community. The network runs on technology created by Singapore-based Terraform Labs.
Terra branding will appear behind home plate at Nationals Park, giving the network prime real estate for television coverage, as well as throughout the stadium’s displays. The Nationals will also rename an elite club of indoor suites behind home plate after Terra, release a five-part video series explaining the Terra network and could accept payments in the network’s “UST”— a cryptocurrency tied to the value of the U.S. dollar — as soon as 2023.
While the Nationals did not disclose the value and terms of the arrangement, Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon proposed a five-year $38.2 million sponsorship deal with an undisclosed sports franchise to Terra community members in January. Terra confirmed Wednesday the team referenced in the proposal was the Nationals.
“By approving this sponsorship deal, the community has a new way to engage and educate the public, including the policy makers doing important work in Washington, D.C., about decentralized money and the burgeoning technology that underlies it,” Kwon said in a statement released by the Nationals.
The partnership between the Nationals and Terra is the latest sign of the cryptocurrency industry’s growing presence in both professional sports and Washington policymaking.
The value and prominence of cryptocurrencies skyrocketed throughout 2021, drawing thousands of Americans into the space amid a broader amateur investing boom driven by the pandemic.
The cryptocurrency industry has become a growing force in Washington as lawmakers and regulators scramble to adapt federal laws to digital tokens and technologies. Federal regulators have also taken action against dozens of cryptocurrency offerings and companies who may have violated trading laws — including Terraform Labs.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subpoenaed Kwon and Terraform Labs in November for information about tokens created on the Terra network that mirror the price of securities traded in the U.S. The SEC said it was investigating whether Kwon and Terraform Labs were violating federal law by selling securities in the U.S. without registering with the agency. Kwon and Terraform responded with a suit against the SEC, claiming the agency did not properly issue the subpoenas.