The New York Knicks are back in the playoffs for the first time in eight years, with the team already making headlines for the sky-high prices fans are willing to pay to watch their team play postseason basketball.
But even the priciest tickets to this weekend's Knicks-Hawks series opener pale in comparison to the pair of third-row seats that Alex Taub agreed to buy from a friend on Christmas Eve 2013. At the time $550 was below face-value, and the tickets were considered a deal. But there was one big catch: Taub had asked if he could pay with bitcoin.
When Taub bought his tickets with 0.7688 bitcoin, one token was worth about $730. As of Saturday morning, one bitcoin was worth $38,219, making the value of those tickets just shy of $30,000.
Taub, now the CEO of social networking start-up Upstream, says that at the time, getting Christmas Day tickets and not needing to spend any cash made it feel like he was getting into Madison Square Garden for free. On top of that, as an employee of the e-commerce company Dwolla, Taub was early to bitcoin and had bought some when it worth just $4 per token.
It wasn't until years later that it dawned on him how lopsided a trade he had made. In 2017 Taub tweeted that the tickets were "looking like they could become the most overpriced tix of all time" when he realized they were worth $5,000.
The transaction has only gotten worse with age. At bitcoin's all-time high price of $64,829 earlier this year, the bitcoin Taub traded for the seats was worth $49,840.
And to add insult to injury, the Knicks lost the Christmas Day game 123-94, with Kevin Durant dropping 29 points and Russell Westbrook adding 10 assists.
"They got blown out," Taub says, adding that his beloved Knickerbockers "wore their ugliest jerseys."
Talking about it now, Taub can't help but laugh. Though he wouldn't mind having the extra bitcoin in his wallet, he doesn't regret making the trade.
"In hindsight, clearly it would be nice to have the money," he tells CNBC Make It. "But at the same time, if you start to harp on this stuff you're going to be immobilized, you're going to be frozen and not be able to function."
And while Taub lives in Miami now and is considering driving up to Atlanta to catch the Knicks next week, he had a blunt answer when asked if he'll consider paying with crypto again.
"Not happening," he says. "I will not be using speculative currency to buy Knicks tickets again."
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