Russian crypto-media have asked a meaningful question – why World Cup tickets can’t be bought with cryptocurrency. Credit card payments and bank transfers are currently accepted, but are they an option for every fan who wants to go to the stadium? And, is it really impossible to get a ticket with your bitcoin?
“Dear FIFA, Why?”
Despite the growing popularity of both cryptocurrencies and football, in Russia and around the world, it’s been said that it’s currently impossible to buy a ticket for the Mundial with bitcoin… or is it? Less than two months before the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, crypto/football fans want to know if spending digital coins is something they can do in the host country, the Russian Federation.
Almost 1.7 million tickets have been sold so far, the Organizing Committee announced a couple of weeks ago, after completing the second stage of the ticket sale. Tickets will be available again on April 18, when the last phase of the online sale is scheduled to start. From May 1, the remaining tickets will also be available at designated FIFA Venue Ticketing Centers.
Football fans from dozens of countries will visit Russia for the 21st FIFA World Cup which will take place from June 14 to July 15. They all need to buy a ticket if they want to enjoy the atmosphere on any of the 12 stadiums that will host the matches. Officially tickets can be purchased online with a Visa, the official partner of the World Cup, with other payment cards, and through a bank transfer.
Non-Russian residents can send international wires after they fill out a “ticket application form” that can be downloaded from FIFA.com. Spectators are also required to obtain a special Fan ID to get access to the stadiums. According to the organizers, the document guarantees “comfort and safety” at the football venues and “free public transport” in the Russian cities.
A growing number of people around the world now prefer using cryptocurrencies for payments and cross-border money transfers. In countries with high inflation rates or under international sanctions, using bitcoin or another digital currency has become business as usual. For other nations, dealing with strict government control over bank transactions, international transfers may not be an option at all.
Generally speaking, “why not pay with crypto?” is a good question for mostly practical reasons. That’s why the Russian outlet Bitcrypto News recently asked both the Organizing Committee and FIFA why cryptocurrencies are not among the available payment options for the World Cup tickets. Of course, they never got an answer from the organizers. There is an answer, though, and, here it is…
When There’s a Will, There’s a Way
Rest assured, football fans and bitcoin enthusiasts! Your coins will be accepted in the Russian Federation, one way or another. When there is a will, there is a way, as the saying goes! Tickets, accommodation, exchange – there are plenty of opportunities to spend your cryptos!
If you are looking for a place to stay, a hotel chain in Kaliningrad takes bitcoin. Malina Apartments in the western Russian exclave will be happy to accept your cryptos. Need some Russian cash? No problem – a crypto change is now open in Moscow. Its rates are not what you’d get online, but hey, it’s a crypto exchange in the heart of a capital city. You’ll find the bureau close to one of Moscow’s main railroad stations, “Kursky Vokzal”. Certainly, these are not merely exceptions.
Want to get a football game ticket with bitcoin? Well, there is a solution, although FIFA doesn’t know about it yet. At least two companies are now offering services through cards issued by the leading international payment providers. Both can be used in Russia and on FIFA’s website, actually pretty much anywhere else, too.
If you want to respect FIFA’s choice of sponsors, try Wirex. After a short veto, new Visa debit cards, with multiple currency accounts in GBP, EUR, USD, and of course BTC, are again available in Europe. Plastics have been issued already to customers in select countries, like the UK, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. Virtual cards are available in other markets, for example – Sweden.
“We are going to issue plastic cards in Europe in 4 weeks”, Wirex told one of the applicants a couple of days ago. Check availability on their website, but in any case you should be able to order and receive your prepaid Visa debit card in time for the Mundial.
And if you prefer the competition, check the Epayments website. They offer a Mastercard that you can fill up with your bitcoins. Bitcoin cash (BCH) is also accepted in their wallet, along with litecoin and ethereum. You can also load your card with fiat – dollars, euros, and even rubles are accepted through Yandex money and Qiwi accounts.
Epayments cards are also prepaid. By the way, the company does not hold custody of your cryptos, they are exchanged immediately. There is no service fee, if you spend 300 euros a month. For the World Cup trip, at least, that sounds like nothing. Check out the other fees before you order your card by signing up with your email. You can have it shipped for free. Delivery times for most countries are between 2 and 8 weeks, but there is also an express delivery option.
So, if you want to enjoy football and bitcoin at the same time, there you have it!
Do you think bitcoin needs permissions and approvals to be used as means of payment? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coin Dance.
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