With the rapid growth of cryptocurrency, it was only a matter of time before these crypto-based companies dipped their toes in the fastest and riskiest discipline of sports.
When we say the word “Motorsport”, we unconsciously include all the thousands of different forms of motorsport, and each of them has its own unique and rich history of how it began and became a global sport.
Motor racing, on the whole, started way back during the late 19th century, tying in with the invention of petrol internal combustion engines. And soon, the first motor race was held in France, which was an 80-kilometre-long race from Paris to a nearby town called Rouen. The race, however, was used as a reliability test to ensure the automobiles used were fit for purpose, with the winning driver recording an average speed of 24 km/h.
Today, Formula One cars break the 300 km/h barrier in almost every racing track. Moreover, other disciplines, too, are getting quicker by the day as the fusion of engineering and technological advancement brings new innovations.
Thus, with the rapid growth of cryptocurrency, it was never a matter of if, but when these crypto-based companies would dip their toes in the fastest and riskiest discipline of sports.
So, with further ado, let’s take a look at some of the crypto deals happening in the world of motorsports.
(Note: My colleague Aditya wrote a separate piece in which he talks about all the crypto sponsorship deals happening in the world of Formula One at great length. Thus, I’ve not included any of those F1 deals here in this piece. For crypto deals in Formula One please click here.)
Landon Cassill and Voyager Digital
NASCAR driver Landon Cassill is set to be paid entirely in cryptocurrency as per a new sponsorship deal with Voyager Digital, a publicly traded brokerage.
The 19-race deal is to be “paid fully” in a portfolio of cryptocurrency led by Litecoin (LTC) and the voyager token (VGX).
This deal didn’t happen overnight: Cassill met Voyager Digital’s CEO, Steve Ehrlich, a couple of years ago and the two became close friends. It is this friendship that eventually led to their partnership.
“It just seems like the space has gotten bigger and bigger and more and more active,” Cassill said. “And it’s matured to a point where companies are ready for something like a mainstream sponsorship of a sports team or a race.”
“The timing is perfect for it.”
Drone Racing League and Algorand
A New York-based startup — focused on drone racing — scored a multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency platform Algorand, a move that shines more light on both the tech-centric sports league and the crypto industry’s growing role in sports marketing.
The deal, announced earlier this September, is worth around US$100 million over the next five years. As a part of the deal, the league will release tickets to racing events, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other fan collectibles on Algorand, with Algorand having the naming rights to the Drone Racing League’s championship series.
Alianza Motorsports and Nikola Tesla Unite
Nikola Tesla Unite (NTU) was new to the cryptocurrency market, but cryptocurrency wasn’t new in the minds of its founders. With NTU working for many years to bring the concept and idea to market, NIKO Coin was set to be one of the major players as not only a digital currency but also in business-to-business programs through NTU’s partnership with Alianza Motorsports.
The five-year agreement signed in 2018 sees NTU and its NIKO currency as the primary sponsor on the Alianza Motorsports #74 in collaboration with Forty7 Motorsports while also opening doors for a magnitude of business-to-business transactions as the cryptocurrency market continues to gain momentum.
Bitcoin car in Indy500
Back in May, Ed Carpenter Racing announced that Bitcoin would be the primary paint scheme on Rinus Veekay’s #21 Chevrolet as the Indy500 race returned to its traditional Memorial Day weekend date.
Cryptocurrency’s integration into mainstream sports has steadily increased over the last few years, as teams like the Dallas Mavericks and the Oakland Athletics now accept Bitcoin as a payment option. Ed Carpenter Racing became the first team in the circuit’s history to integrate Bitcoin as a payment option for all of its employees, while the deal itself is a first-of-its-kind in the IndyCar Series.
“Just as Bitcoin is revolutionizing our financial system, I see it as an opportunity to transform how we operate within our own motorsport industry,” team owner, driver and namesake Ed Carpenter said in a statement.
Bitci.com and MotoGP
Earlier this month, Dorna Sports announced Bitci.com as the official sponsor of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship. The new three-year deal begins this season along with the title sponsorship of the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix, as well as trackside presence at different circuits throughout the 2021, 2022 and 2023 seasons.
“We are very happy to implement the first agreement of its kind with a motorsport World Championship. Now we are strengthening our presence here with MotoGP. This will also be the first fan token project to be developed under the umbrella of an organization in the world of motorsports,” Onur Altan Tan, Bitci Technology CEO, said.
Meanwhile, Chief Commercial Officer at Dorna Sports, Manel Arroyo, said, “We are delighted to welcome Bitci as an official sponsor of MotoGP. It’s always exciting to begin such an important partnership, and in the new world of cryptocurrency which is full of huge potential. I look forward to this new endeavour together with Bitci, and to giving our fans a new way to engage with the sport, as well as creating a fantastic new way to enlarge the MotoGP community.”