LISBON — Portuguese champions Benfica are the first major European football team to accept cryptocurrency.

Fans can now use crypto to purchase tickets and merchandise directly from the club.

“We recognize that many of our supporters are now digital users first, so we want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting novel technologies,” said Benfica CEO Domingos Soares de Oliveira.

Benfica’s payment partner is Swiss based UTRUST, whose system provides instant crypto to fiat conversions. Benfica will be able to settle payments directly to its bank in fiat on the same day received.

UTRUST also says the deal will give Benfica the increased security and convenience of cryptocurrency payments, while protecting the club from currency volatility.  It will also significantly reduce processing fees, credit-card chargebacks and fraudulent payments. Users can pay using the UTRUST token (UTK) in addition to popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The official Benfica online store has already begun accepting cryptocurrency through Benfica’s app. Benfica claims more than 14 million backers worldwide and a digital fan base that exceeds 7 million followers across social media platforms. The team are the current Primeira Liga champions and with 37, are the most successful club in terms of titles won.