March 2, 2024

Bulgaria’s oldest football club adopts Bitcoin and Lightning, joins Nostr

Football meets finance: Bitcoin payments integration arrives at top-flight Bulgarian club, Botev Plovdiv FC.

Bitcoin (BTC) has netted another adoption goal. Botev Plovdiv FC, Bulgaria’s oldest football club, has adopted Bitcoin and Lightning Network payments, as well as joining decentralized protocol, Nostr.

Plovdiv’s stadium accommodates 18,000 people. Source: Manolov

Effective immediately, fans can utilize Bitcoin for peer-to-peer payments at Botev Plovdiv FC’s fan shops and stands during matches in the top-flight Bulgarian Parva Liga. The club also has plans in the pipeline to extend Bitcoin payments for ticketing and its online store.

Anton Zingarevich, the president of the 111-year-old football club, expressed enthusiasm for the move, highlighting the potential of the Lightning Network. He stated in a press release:

“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.”

The initiative became a reality through a partnership with BTCPayServer, a Bitcoin payment processor known for its open-source architecture, secure infrastructure, and low merchant fees. The hardware for payments was handled by CryptoDesk.bg, in collaboration with Bitcoinize.com, who provided the PoS Devices. 

The Bitcoin NFC enabled point of sale device in the changing room. Source: Manolov 

Nicolas Dorier, founder of BTCPayServer, emphasized the importance of local Bitcoin adoption, stating they are committed to supporting transformative endeavors such as the work at Plovdiv.

George Manolov, Bitcoin Director at Botev Plovdiv FC explained that “Bitcoin offers a universe of technological, social, and financial opportunities.”

“At Botev, we’re thrilled to lead these innovations into sports, harnessing their transformative energy to elevate our club to unprecedented heights. As Bulgaria’s oldest football club, anticipate pioneering products and initiatives from us.”

In addition to embracing Bitcoin, Botev Plovdiv FC has “revamped” its online presence. The club’s official website has been updated; English social media channels have been brought up to speed, and the club has created an account on Nostr, a decentralized protocol that offers social media platforms. Fans can now keep up to date with Plovdiv on Nostr. 

Related: Bitcoin white paper turns 15 as Satoshi Nakamoto’s legacy lives on

The move to embrace Bitcoin and decentralized technologies is similar to that of Real Bedford, a UK football club that was the world’s first football club to adopt Bitcoin. Peter McCormack, chairman of Real Bedford, shared his thoughts on the news from Bulgaria:

“It is so cool to see more football clubs adopt the Bitcoin cheat code. Not only will it bring more success to their club, but it will also widen the net for Bitcoin awareness.”

McCormack has been running Bitcoin at the club since he took over in 2021 and he also spoke with Plovdiv prior to their move to adopt Bitcoin. According to McCormack, the unique characteristics of Bitcoin act as a cheat code for life. He is hosting a conference called “Cheat Code” in Bedford in Spring 2024.

McCormack told Cointelegraph “There is a plague of financial irresponsibility in football, so clubs adopting a low-time preference Bitcoin standard as part of their strategy are building their club with solid foundations.”

“I expect we will continue to see not just other football clubs but all types of sports teams adopt the cheat code.”

Meanwhile, football fans attending Plovdiv’s home game against second in the league Lokomotiv Plovdiv will be able to pay in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Lightning. The team made the announcement on Bitcoin white paper day, to both mark the day and highlight their support for Bitcoin.

Magazine: Peter McCormack’s Real Bedford Football Club puts Bitcoin on the map