Startups are not the only ones using cryptocurrency for fundraising these days. The United States luge team to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea has been accepting donations in bitcoin. These donations have been geared towards raising the necessary funds for a traditionally underfunded team in order to support their Winter Olympics ambitions. The Winter Olympics like the Summer Olympics is held every four years.
Lugers Steered into Bitcoin
Commenting on the development, Ty Danco, a former luger turned angel investor, said that luge and bitcoin make quite a match. According to the Olympian, the behavior of bitcoin bears a number of striking similarities to the luge sport.
He drew parallels to the inherent risk involved in bitcoin investment, the speed of growth, the frequent crashes, as well as the need to hold on for dear life sometimes as being characteristic of the sport as well. He admitted that funds to support lugers has always been scarce, and that was part of the reason why he encouraged the team to adopt fundraising via bitcoin to expand the reach of the fundraising activities. He also made the first bitcoin donation to the team. Ty Danco is a veteran of the 1980 Winter Olympics.
The U.S. Winter Olympics luge team has been accepting bitcoin donations since December 2017 in preparation for the winter games. Even though luge athletes have individual sponsors, teams generally lack the necessary funds to prosecute events like the Winter Olympics. This is something that Ty Danco knows all too well.
Speaking with Bloomberg, he reiterated the need for the team to pursue as many avenues as possible to raise funds needed to cement their participation in tournaments. With the popularity of bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market in general, it is a good bet that bitcoin donations can become a viable means of raising funds for cash-strapped sports teams.
A Small Boost to Donations, but Hopeful for the Future
Between December 2017 when the team began accepting bitcoin donations to February 9, 2018, 0.673 BTC had been collected. At the time, it was worth a little under $5,500. By February 20, 2018, the pot stood at $7,300.
There was a slight boost to the total donations received in the aftermath of Chris Mazdzer’s silver medal-winning heroics at the Winter Games. This is the first ever medal that the United States has won in the men’s singles luge event at the Winter Olympics. Within a few hours, no less than three bitcoin donations were received which totalled about $25. The team still has high hopes that more donations will come in and they have expressed the desire to “hodl” on for now.
The team is particularly thrilled with the prospects of holding a considerable number of bitcoin. Comments posted on the team’s website focused on the tax benefits of accepting donations in bitcoin. According to Ty Danco, the team wants to keep the cryptocurrency donations for a few years, in the hope that it will appreciate substantially.
Bitcoin donations for the American luge team is not the first collision between cryptocurrency and the Winter Olympics. Back in 2014, donations in the form of Dogecoin helped the Jamaican bobsleigh team participate in the Winter Olympics; $30,000 was raised through the altcoin’s community effort alone.