The Indy 500 will see the debut of the first Bitcoin-sponsored racing car

The one-of-a-kind sponsorship is one of the most recent instances of Bitcoin and professional sports colliding.


The Indy 500 will see the debut of the first Bitcoin-sponsored racing car


On Sunday, Bitcoin will make its official debut at America's most famous automobile race, the Indianapolis 500.


The No. 21 Bitcoin Chevrolet of IndyCar Series team Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) will take the green flag among 32 other cars at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, better known as the Brickyard, which was named after the pavers that bordered the track in its early years. The black-and-orange car with Bitcoin emblems is the first racing car sponsored by bitcoin (BTC, -0.94 percent ) supporters.

“Bringing my own interest and immersion in Bitcoin to our industry is historic,” said team owner Carpenter in a news release announcing the partnership earlier this month. “… I see it as a chance to change the way we do business in the motorsports industry.”


ECR's bitcoin sponsorship is one of the most recent examples of cryptocurrencies and professional sports colliding. The Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball announced in March that they would accept bitcoin as payment for season suites. Vivek Ranadivé, the NBA Sacramento Kings' Chairman and CEO, announced last month in a Clubhouse gathering that he would offer bitcoin payment options to his players and employees.


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Rinus VeeKay, the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year from the Netherlands, will pilot the black-and-orange car with Bitcoin logos on his fire suit and the pit crew's outfits.


Carpenter told AutoWeek on May 13 that he owns bitcoin and sees it as a novel method to compete for coveted sponsorship money with other racing teams — and sports.


“We're a sponsorship-driven industry, and competing in the sector with other race teams, other advertisers, and other sports properties is getting harder,” he told AutoWeek. “I've been getting involved in this, and I think there's a lot of potential to revolutionize how we do business.”


This month, ECR has teamed with the Strike payment app to allow payments and donations. Anyone in the globe can donate via a unique QR code, which ECR touted as "the world's first peer-to-car contribution scheme" in a press release.


The racing team is also the first in IndyCar racing to allow staff to accept bitcoin as a form of payment.


Carpenter chose the number 21 to represent the 21 million bitcoins created by Satoshi Nakamoto when he launched his digital currency.


After averaging over 231 mph in qualifying sessions last week, VeeKay will start from the front row in Sunday's race.


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