Ed Carpenter Racing announced Wednesday that Bitcoin will be the primary paint scheme on Rinus VeeKay’s number 21 Chevrolet for the Indy 500 as the race returns to its traditional Memorial Day weekend date.
ECR will also be 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 the first of its kind in the IndyCar series.
Cryptocurrency’s integration into mainstream sports has steadily increased over the last few years, as teams like the Dallas Mavericks and the Oakland A’s now accept Bitcoin as a payment option. Many athletes have also expressed their interest in crypto, which has also helped fuel some of the fervor behind the current NFT collectibles craze.
“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.
With deep connections to Indianapolis, Carpenter and his team are often branded as hometown heroes. With this in mind, there will also be a creating a crowdfunding option for the team, powered by the third-party online payment app Strike. A unique QR code enables the world’s first peer-to-car contribution model, allowing anyone in the world to donate.
“This year, Ed is racing for human freedom, financial literacy, financial inclusivity,” said Jack Mallers, founder of Strike. “He is using the platform he’s earned throughout his career to promote the most powerful message possible in pushing humanity forward. We’re tremendously proud to support his efforts.”
After racing in August last year for the first time in its 110-year history, the Indy 500 returns to its traditional Memorial Day spot in 2021, with attendance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway capped at 40% capacity, or 135,000 fans. Practice begins on Tuesday, May 18, with the main event set to air on NBC on Sunday, May 30.