Polkadot Races Into Indianapolis 500 With Crypto-Branded Car

Polkadot Races Into Indianapolis 500 With Crypto-Branded Car


Polkadot is coming to the Indianapolis 500 after community members voted to select IndyCar racing star Conor Daly as a brand ambassador. The year-long collaboration, announced by Daly’s company during a press conference on Tuesday, will begin at the preeminent race set to take place in May.

A proposal to sponsor Daly passed with 95.8% approval in a community vote on the Polk Assembly website. The plan, which was up for review from February 19 to March 14, requested 290,000 DOT, worth around $2.1 million, to cover the $1.7 million commercial sponsorship fee for a race team plus other expenses.

“The Indy 500 is iconic and is the greatest spectacle in racing—ask any race car driver and it is the one race they would want to win,” Polkadot community contributor Chris Wade, who led the initiative, told Decrypt.

“Plus, Polkadot’s sponsorship of Conor includes a NASCAR truck and Nitro Cross Race, and Conor’s experience straddles them all,” Wade added.

Daly has driven in the Indy 500 and Daytona 500 in the same year and Formula 2 series in Europe.

“He’s fast, powerful, and adaptive—just like Polkadot,” Wade said.

Launched in 2020 by Ethereum Co-Founder Gavin Wood, Polkadot is a “multi-chain network” that aims to connect different specialized blockchains into a single unified network. Currently, the 15th largest blockchain by market capitalization according to CoinGecko, Polkadot (DOT) is up 3.2% for the week and trading at $8.84.

“The fact that thousands of individuals in the Polkadot community—not a corporate marketing team—used their voices to vote and select me as their ambassador is an incredible honor and reflective of the power of what a more free and open internet can look like in the future,” Daly said in a statement.

Polkadot IndyCar
Image: Polkadot/Conor Daly

The sponsorship deal with Daly, executed through Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Cusick Motorsports, is the latest partnership between the racing and crypto industries.

In 2021, McLaren Racing tapped Tezos to launch a collection of Formula 1 NFTs. In February 2022, Red Bull Racing signed a $150 million sponsorship deal with the cryptocurrency exchange Bybit. The Red Bull Racing deal was followed by another in June 2023 with Sui blockchain creator Mysten Labs.

In January, Grammy Award-winning rapper Drake announced a two-year naming sponsorship deal between Sauber Formula 1 and the crypto gambling site Stake.

“The fact that I’m racing not just for a brand name or logo, but representing developers, investors and regular people that are building tomorrow’s web, is thrilling and overwhelming,” Daly added. “We’re bringing power back to people, while making sports history.”

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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