The USA Luge team went on a Bitcoin-fundraising drive in the build-up to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will be a big talking point for the next two weeks and there’s a team that the wider cryptocurrency community can get behind in South Korea.
Just like Cool Runnings made Jamaica’s first ever bobsled team famous, the latest edition of the Winter Olympics will see the USA luge team become a champion for Bitcoin in what could be a first for cryptocurrency in the sport.
The USA Luge Foundation has been campaigning for donations in Bitcoin on Medium since December 2017. While they can’t wear any sponsor logos at the Olympics, the team has promised to promote the preeminent cryptocurrency in upcoming competitions, depending on how much Bitcoin they raise.
The team claims to be the first US Olympic group to set up its own Bitcoin wallet to accept donations. It’s a move that is synonymous with the spirit of luge, high speed and fraught with danger.
US luge doubles silver medallist and current USA Luge marketing director Gordy Sheer said the endowment fund is a natural fit.
“You know, we hear a lot of jokes about lugers being crazy, and people don’t know why we do it. But luge is something that gets into your blood and transforms your life and the Bitcoiners we’ve met know exactly what it’s like to be all in on something that the world doesn’t appreciate yet. We’ve looked at Bitcoin hard, and it is definitely a risk-reward we understand and are eager to take.”
One of the first donors to the USA Luge fund was former luge Olympian and Wall Street investor Ty Danco – who sees the fund as the perfect investment eyeing the next two Winter Olympic meets over the next eight years.
“It’s such a natural and good fit for the team. The luge team is not thinking short term, but long. By hodling Bitcoin with the express goal of holding on through the 2022 and 2026 Olympic Games, the sport hopes to change from being underfunded to being able to support full teams on the World Cup level at the same time as developing grassroots youth programs to develop athletes. Bitcoin is still in its early days, and hats off to USA Luge for being both brave and prescient to ride this wave.”
The team has also promised to include Bitcoin logos and decals on its kit and equipment in the future – dependent on how much Bitcoin they receive in their fundraising initiative.
Tongue in cheek, the team promised to “Find Satoshi, and get him on a sled” if they raised 21 mln Bitcoin, which of course is the max amount of Bitcoin that can be mined.
While the USA Luge team isn’t exactly the most well-known team competing in the biggest sport, the possibilities of its Bitcoin fundraising/advertising endeavor could well start a trend for the cryptocurrency community.
The space is rife for cryptocurrency advertising and its actually surprising that we haven't seen more ICOs and more established Blockchain and cryptocurrency companies sticking their brands all over sport teams.
There are already a number of cryptocurrency betting platforms aimed at sport punters, allowing people to gamble online with cryptocurrency. Coupled with strong advertising of various virtual currencies, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more of these cryptocurrencies cropping up on team jerseys, motor vehicles and much more.
Given that South Korea has been a booming hub for cryptocurrency trade over the past 12 months, you’d have expected more vendors accepting virtual currency for their wares at the ongoing Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang province.
However, according to Forbes, there is a ski-rental shop near the Olympics village that is accepting Ethereum as a payment method. Given cheap transaction fees, and the ‘universal’ nature of Ethereum, it’s surprising that more vendors aren’t doing the same.
As reported by Forbes, more vendors were expected to take up the payment platform Coinduck, which accepts Ethereum payments and pays the vendors Korean won in turn.
Don’t expect to hear or see any mention of this during the Olympics, but the fact that people are actively using cryptocurrency during massive global events like the Olympics shows the power of the technology.
Those that have taken to cryptocurrency can skip the hassle of paying a visit to a Bureau de Change. Transacting with virtual currencies while traveling could well become a massive use-case in the future.