A Bitcoin-branded car took eighth place in the Indianapolis 500 on May 30.
Nor was it a long-shot outsider. Ed Carpenter Racing’s orange and black No. 21 Bitcoin Chevrolet won a front-row position, starting third out of 33 entrants.
The Indy 500 is not only the world’s largest auto race, but also the world’s largest sporting event. This year’s COVID-limited crowd was “only” 135,000 attendees at a track that normally sells out its 250,000-fan capacity.
No. 21 was the first decentralized sponsorship in the NTT IndyCar Series. ECR teamed up with payments app Strike throughout May to raise funds for the team in what they called “the world’s first peer-to-car contribution model.”
Carpenter said in a release earlier this month that he chose No. 21 to honor the hard limit on the number of Bitcoin that can be mined imposed by the first cryptocurrency’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Labor of Love
Carpenter explained that the Bitcoin Chevrolet grew out of his own involvement with the cryptocurrency.
“To bring my personal interest and immersion in Bitcoin to our industry is historic. Just as Bitcoin is revolutionizing our financial system, I see it as an opportunity to transform how we operate within our own motorsport industry.”
Not only did No. 21 carry the bitcoin logo prominently, it will be worn by the driver, NTT IndyCar Series 2020 Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay.
“Ed’s message is simple; he doesn’t want to race for potato chips or soft drinks at the Indy 500,” Strike founder Jack Mallers said in the release. “This year, Ed is racing for human freedom, financial literacy, financial inclusivity, and is using the platform he’s earned throughout his career to promote the most powerful message possible in pushing humanity forward. We’re tremendously.”
Veteran IndyCar driver and Indianapolis favorite son Carpenter himself out raced VeeKay’s No. 21 Bitcoin Chevrolet, placing fifth in the No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet.