AntPool, the world’s second-largest bitcoin mining operation, owned by Bitmain Technologies, has announced it is to be an official partner of the Houston Rockets for the 2018/19 NBA season. Revealed on September 21st, the partnership comes shortly after Bitmain announced Houston as its choice for a base in the US.

Partnership Specifics

Making the announcement on its Facebook page, AntPool revealed that the partnership will include an AntPool exhibition inside the Rockets’ Toyota Center home starting on January 19, 2019. According to AntPool Overseas Operations Manager, Haijiao Li, the choice to partner with the Rockets was down to the popularity of the team in Bitmain’s native China.

He said:

As far as professional sports teams go, the Houston Rockets are legendary across the globe and what better way to continue the momentum of our U.S. expansion than partnering with the prolific Houston Rockets basketball club, the No. 1 team in China. As the cryptocurrency industry around the globe continues to evolve and develop, it is going to be more and more important for companies like AntPool to lead the conversation and conversion of consumers to adopt and understand digital currencies.

Rockets Vice President of Corporate Development John Croley also commented:

We’re excited to work with AntPool as a conduit in the U.S. for their ever-growing business,” said . “The Rockets are always looking to stay ahead of the curve with technology both on and off the court and AntPool’s prowess with cryptocurrency makes for a great partnership.

Bitmain’s Texas Dalliance

Earlier in September, AntPool announced Houston as its base of US expansion as it sought to solidify its market position and promote awareness and interest in mining technology. According to the statement, the choice of Houston was down to the city’s strong population growth and strong economy, coupled with a business-friendly regulatory environment promoted by the state of Texas.

Earlier in September, CryptoGlobe reported that Houston Rockets owner Tilman Feritta announced that his luxury Post Oaks Motor Cars company will now accept payments in bitcoin (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH).

In August, Bitmain also revealed that its new $500 million investment would also go to the state of Texas, starting with a mining facility in the town of Rockdale, Milam County.

With an estimated 15 percent of all bitcoin blocks, AntPool is the world’s second largest bitcoin miner and it makes up a key part of its parent company’s revenues.

At a time when Bitmain has come under fire for allegedly inflating its valuation and hiding flatlining sales of its Antminer ASIC mining rigs, AntPool’s revenues have now taken on even more importance ahead of the upcoming IPO.