Chicago Sun-Times to Let Readers Buy Jay-Z, Beyonce Tickets With Bitcoin

Stan Higgins
May 19, 2014 at 23:00 UTC
Updated Sep 1, 2014 at 17:31 UTC

The Chicago Sun-Times is launching a new type of advertisement that will allow its readers to buy products with bitcoin directly from printed material.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the Sun-Times will run product ads featuring QR codes. Readers will then be able to scan the codes and conduct transactions in bitcoin to make a purchase.

The first deployment of bitcoin QR code-enhanced ads is coming soon and will let readers buy tickets to an upcoming concert featuring Jay-Z and Beyonce at Chicago’s Soldier Field via a local ticket exchange.

According to Josh Metnick, chief technology officer for the Sun-Times’ parent company, Wrapports, the initiative will reshape the way that advertisers and consumers interact within a media setting.

He told the WSJ:

“It will allow newspapers or any printed media, for the first time we are aware of, the ability to transact directly with customers, to allow newspaper advertisers the ability to sell directly to consumers reading the paper.”

The news is the latest in what has become a broader bitcoin experiment for the newspaper, and has notable similarities to an initiative unveiled by mobile app provider Pounce and Lord & Taylor this March.

Pushing media support

The Sun-Times adopted bitcoin payments in April, at the time citing the move as a way to “stay digitally focused“.

The decision to accept bitcoin as a form of payment for subscriptions paid off, the company said later. During the week following the launch, the newspaper reported that roughly 11% of new subscriptions were paid for with BTC.

The media outlet’s decision to partner with Coinbase followed its 24-hour micropayments trial with BitWall. That partnership found the newspaper collecting more than 700 donations for non-profit group the Taproot Foundation, and was one of the first major tests for BitWall, the California-based bitcoin micropayments provider.

Experimenting with altcoins

The Sun-Times is also planning to accept altcoin payments, according to Metnick. He remarked that the newspaper would accept litecoin, dogecoin and peer coin, adding:

“We are not stopping at bitcoin.”

Additionally, the newspaper is launching an initiative that would allow readers to tip writers and editors in dogecoin. This concept is one of the dogecoin community’s most well-known characteristics.

However, Metnick told the Journal that the dogecoin tipping initiative is not quite ready for launch.

He cited ethical considerations as a potential roadblock, but stated that the idea of dogecoin tipping is “the new like”, and that it could reshape how newspapers run as businesses and generate revenue.

Image credit: landmarkmedia / Shutterstock.com