Unless you have absolutely zero interest in football whatsoever, it can’t have escaped your notice that the eyes of the soccer world will be on Russia for the next few weeks. The BBC is ramping up enthusiasm with a combination of Frankie Boyle doing his unique bit for international relations, and the molasses-rich voice of veteran Wagnerian bass Sir John Tomlinson singing Russian folk song ‘Ochi Chernye’ (Dark Eyes).  However controversial this sporting event might end up being for events on the field, that’s likely to pale by comparison with events off.

Big sporting events are also catalysts for innovation; 2018 has already seen a thawing of relations between North and South Korea, partly as a result of the Winter Olympic Games, and the World Cup is likely to be a focus not only for significant tourist and merchandising revenue in Russia, but also in how we pay for it.

So what does Bitcoin have to do with this?

How do you fancy paying for your flights to Moscow? Or your hotel? Or even having a flutter on the outcome of the tournament? Or even settling your bar bill?

Any retailer with an eye to the international market, and making payment as cost-effective for overseas customers as possible will be looking to add cryptocurrency to their payment options.

  • On the move – plenty of travel agencies are getting on board with digital payment options, so paying for your travel and accommodation is a major outlay that might be a sensible use of some of that Bitcoin profit you’re sitting on. If you haven’t heard of a particular agency, or you can’t find online reviews, check with ABTA that your agency actually exists. Unfortunately, big sporting events bring the fraudsters out of the woodwork.
  • Come on, England! – let’s all cross our fingers for England getting out of the Group stages. Or if you’re inclined to do more than cross your fingers, fire up your computer and find one of the increasing number of online betting platforms which accept cryptocurrencies when placing a bet. Again, watch your step with which platform you’re using; a good rule of thumb is to look for an established name accepting fiat as well as digital currency, as they’re likely to have undergone significant checks and balances.
  • Drink up! – out on the town in Russia to watch the match at a sports bar? Popular chain Killfish will let you pay for your beer (or better still, your vodka!) in Bitcoin.

Even if your team crashes out at the first hurdle, there’s nothing like a major sporting event to give everyone a major talking point – even if that’s just commiserating each other on yet another tournament with no silverware. Whatever happens, it’s likely to be a major opportunity for cryptocurrencies to make further inroads into the mainstream in terms of how we pay for our leisure time.