Bitcoin Explodes. But You Can’t Know By Watching Formula 1 Races

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Eight of the 10 teams participating in the international high-level series have a crypto-related sponsor. F1 has seen a huge increase in viewership over the past few years, thanks in part to the popular television reality show “Drive to Survive.” netflix (NFLX).

One of the major exchanges, Crypto.com, has reached a multi-year naming rights deal for the F1 race held in Miami earlier this month. Crypto.com is also a partner of the Aston Martin F1 team.

Red Bull and Ferrari, the two best teams in F1 so far this season, have announced new crypto sponsorship deals over the past few months. Ferrari (RACE) Red Bull has a deal with cryptocurrency exchange Bybit, while it is working with blockchain company Velas.

Other top F1 teams are also making the crypto leap. McLaren has a long-term deal with OKX, making the crypto exchange the main sponsorship partner of the team.

Formula 1 stock converges higher in emerging American fandom

“We don’t just put our logo on McLaren vehicles. We help McLaren with NFTs and the metaverse,” OKX Global Marketing Director Haider Rafique said in an interview with CNN Business.

OKX is the only crypto company to be the main sponsor of an F1 team. This means its logo is more prominently displayed on the cars and racing suits of McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

“Cryptography is a huge industry. “It’s definitely here to stay and it’s a big part of the economic future,” said Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing. “Crypto fans are savvy, tech-driven consumers.”

Young riders and fans are big supporters of crypto

Brown said McLaren’s partnership with OKX is a good fit because many of the new, young F1 fans who have embraced the sport after watching “Drive to Survive” are also interested in crypto.

Netflix’s F1 rise has clearly caught the attention of other crypto companies.

“The interest in sports has grown exponentially. I’m an adopter of Netflix F1, so joining a team for us was a simple decision,” said Lou Frangela, Vice President of Partnerships, FTX US. FTX, a leading crypto broker currently valued at $32 billion, signed a deal with Mercedes last year. .

Frangela said that FTX, which also has a stadium sponsorship agreement with the NBA’s Miami Heat, wants to make a name with young consumers.

In connection with the Miami F1 race, FTX has auctioned off NFT artwork found in the cars of the drivers of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. FTX also created limited edition NFT ticket stubs for the race designed by NFT artist Mad Dog Jones. Jones had previously designed a helmet for seven-time F1 champion Hamilton.

“We try to make partnerships fun and engaging,” said Frangela.

Concerns over overspending and crypto’s environmental impact

Yet the crypto sponsorship spree could end badly, as did many now-defunct dot-coms that aggressively spent money on Super Bowl commercials and stadium naming rights deals in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

OKX’s Rafique said that recent volatility in cryptocurrencies is expected given the novelty of the asset class relative to stocks, bonds and commodities. He also noted that stocks have not been a safe haven this year.

“Equities are also being hit hard. We take a long-term view,” he said, noting that McLaren has not expressed any concerns about falling crypto prices since announcing their partnership.

McLaren’s Brown added that he is “highly enthralled and excited about crypto” and has personally invested in a diverse portfolio of cryptocurrencies. Brown said drivers Norris and Ricciardo are also crypto advocates.

The environmental impact of crypto mining, which is extremely energy intensive, remains a cause for concern. Some drivers are already openly questioning the planetary impact of flying around the world to drive gas-fired race cars. Four-time F1 champion Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel recently voiced his reservations over climate change concerns.

FTX’s Frangela acknowledged that there are legitimate questions about crypto mining, racing and the environment. F1 has previously said it hopes to become a carbon-neutral sport by 2030.

“Sustainability is important to us and we are all looking for improvements,” Frangella said. “We are very aware of this from a crypto perspective and are having these discussions with the Mercedes team. We hope people will be pleased with the improvements in the years to come.”

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