A crowdfunding effort to see United States-based cryptocurrency Dogecoin sponsor Erebus Motorsport at July’s Townsville 500 is moving closer to reality.
Members of global news sharing community Reddit.com, which reportedly attracts over 100 million unique visitors every month, are rallying to raise the funding for Erebus’ Lee Holdsworth-driven Mercedes-AMG to carry the branding at the event.
The move follows similar Dogecoin public funding pushes in a number of fields including NASCAR, where the previously unheralded Josh Wise raced his Phil Parsons Racing Ford in the company’s colours at Talladega early last month.
The power of the online community was subsequently underlined to the motorsport fraternity two weeks ago when Wise beat Danica Patrick to the fan vote for entry into NASCAR’s All-Star race.
Recent days have seen sales of Dogecoin NASCAR team merchandise raise enough money for Dogecoin to again back Wise’s Ford for the year’s second Talladega race in October.
Erebus, which has been campaigning its two V8 Supercars without primary commercial sponsors during the season to date, contacted a Melbourne-based Dogecoin representative following the debut of the NASCAR program at Talladega.
The idea of bringing the backing to the V8 Supercars team was soon promoted through Reddit, aiming to source US$50,000 worth of the currency in order to run a full Dogecoin livery on Holdsworth’s entry in Townsville.
Fundraising officially started last week, with fans donating annonymously either in Dogecoins or traditional cash currencies.
CLICK HERE to visit the Dogeraiser page
Like other cryptocurrencies, Dogecoins are purchased or earned online by members of the public, whose computers can be used to process Dogecoin transactions in exchange for more of the coins in a system called ‘mining’.
The coins are then able to be utilised in a variety of online environments, including tipping content creators via social media and supporting larger causes, such as sporting teams.
As cryptocurrencies involve peer-to-peer dealings, they do not incur transaction fees in the same way that bank-held currencies do and are therefore well suited to projects that require a high volume of donations.
Dogecoin is a relatively new player in the cryptocurrency market but is quickly gaining awareness through the public-driven sponsorships.
The growing popularity of Dogecoin has undoubtedly also been assisted by its distinctive branding, which features a Shiba Inu dog named Doge from a widely circulated internet meme.
Erebus Motorsport commercial manager Jeff Reibel told Speedcafe.com that the pledged donations have already reached that necessary to ensure minor branding on the #4 E63 AMG in Townsville.
“There’s no hiding the fact that the market we’re working in is throwing up a big challenge, not just for our team or our sport, but for all sports,” he said of the decision to pursue the somewhat left-field Dogecoin idea.
“As a way to throw the net a bit wider, this is something that we’re running with and so far, we’re comfortable with the way it’s progressing.
“If the pledges that have come through turn into the US dollars that we’re dealing with, we’ll break new ground with having Dogecoin appear on the rear-quarters of Lee’s car in Townsville.
“From there there are other levels of funding that go onto the bonnet and other major inventory on the car that can be achieved (through more donations), all the way up to the major branding package (the full livery).
“The key point for us is that this is in the public market and it needs to hit our inventory values to work for both parties,” he added.
“We need to make sure we protect our current investors and are charging at the market rate. That’s something we’ve been very insistent on from day one.”
The fundraiser officially has 20 days remaining, with Erebus needing a firm understanding of the Dogecoin signage requirements in advance of the July 4-6 Townsville event.
Erebus is hopeful that a successful debut with the team in Townsville would then see the association continue into the future, as it has done with Wise.
“Townsville is what we’re calling their toe-in-the-water and if we can get that right, it gives us the opportunity to expand on the deal,” said Reibel.
Having attracted many new fans to NASCAR, Reibel believes the connection of Dogecoin and Reddit to V8 Supercars can be a major boost for the Australian category as a whole.
“This is an opportunity to engage a whole new fan base online,” he said.
“We saw what happened with Josh Wise, who is a guy that doesn’t race full-time, beating Danica Patrick in the All-Star vote.
“More eyeballs to our sport and more interest in our sport can only lead to better outcomes for everyone.”
Exposure for V8 Supercars through the US-based Dogecoin and Reddit networks comes at a time when series organisers are continuing to negotiate the championship’s return to the country in 2015.