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  • The Polkadot community settled on American NASCAR driver Conor Daly to be its brand ambassador for the Indianapolis 500, where he finished 10th after leading for 22 laps.
  • It marks the first time a community vote on a blockchain platform has been used to determine the sponsorship of a major athlete globally.

At the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, Conor Daly emerged as the top mover after starting at 29th but finishing at 10th in a competitive field where he led the race for 22 laps. However, Daly made history off the field for being the first athlete whose sponsorship was democratically determined by a blockchain vote.

The Indianapolis 500, or Indy500 to many, is the most prestigious and oldest automobile race, with many describing it as the largest single-day sporting event in the world. While Josef Newgarden retained the title after fighting off tough competition, it was Daly who opened a new chapter for sports sponsorships with Polkadot.

Daly’s on-track heroics have led to widespread recognition globally, including in the Polkdaot ecosystem where Chris Wade, who founded LearnPolkadot, proposed that the community rally behind him and sponsor him for the year’s biggest racing spectacle.

The proposal, OpenGov #514, was an instant hit with the community. In it, Wade requested that the community put up 290,000 DOT, roughly equalling $2.1 million, to sponsor him for the Indy 500 and two other races this year.

The sponsorship request would see Polkadot cater for merchandise for Daly and his team, including fire suits, gloves and shoes. It would also pay for PRs, marketing initiatives, the car unveiling ceremony, staff salaries, commercial licensing and a global social media push.

In return, Daly would be a brand ambassador for Polkadot and don branded merchandise, including driving branded race cars.

Polkadot Makes History at Indy 500

The proposal received massive support, with Daly making history as the first athlete whose sponsorship was decided on the blockchain.

Before the race, he commented:

Really excited about this opportunity and to be a part of this community. I think giving this a chance will do more than you realize. Motorsport is growing every day and I always work as hard as possible to get the best possible result for partners that invest in my career!

Beyond the financial backing, the entire Polkadot community rallied behind Daly, with messages of support and wishes for his success flowing throughout the week. However, Daly missed out on a podium finish but ended up as the biggest mover after finishing 10th—he had started the race at 29th.

Daly believes that the sponsorship is evidence of the power of blockchain. “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 honour and reflective of the power of what a more free and open internet can look like in the future,” he commented.

The sponsorship will continue beyond the Indy 500, with Polkadot sponsoring him for two more races. Daly will continue to be a brand ambassador for the network, including by attending the Consensus 2022 conference that kicks off later this week, where he will be at the Polkadot booth to educate the masses on the power of blockchain.

Meanwhile, DOT trades at $7.74, gaining 1.63% in the past 24 hours for a $11.1 billion market cap, the 13th highest in the market.

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