This NASCAR driver is the first to get paid in crypto
Through a sponsorship with digital asset trading platform Voyager Digital, NASCAR driver Landon Cassill is the first to be paid entirely in cryptocurrencies.
This weekend, Cassill raced—and crashed—a Chevrolet Camaro at the Nashville Superspeedway in his first race since the new sponsorship.
While Dogecoin has made appearances on various vehicles in recent years—and Doge enthusiasts on Reddit raised money to sponsor a driver in a 2014 race—Voyager’s 19-race sponsorship for the Xfinity Series is an industry first. It’s also a signal of the trust that some have placed on digital currencies, despite their volatility.
“I’ve gotten great personal returns out of crypto, and I’m comfortable with it,” Cassill said, noting that he started investing in it a few years ago and is experienced in the market.
Cassill is being paid via a portfolio of Litecoin, Bitcoin, and some of Voyager’s own currency, Voyager token. While Litecoin leads the portfolio, it’s relatively evenly distributed between the combination of the three, Cassill and Voyager CEO Steve Ehrlich, tell Fortune.
The crypto payments will be based on U.S. dollar value and may fluctuate based on volatility during allotted payment schedule times, Cassill said. Ehrlich declined to comment further on the arrangement.
Cassill acknowledged that he will convert some of the digital assets to U.S. dollars to pay bills and stock car racing team JD Motorsports, but said he does intend to keep funds in crypto.
“It just comes down to what that [investment] strategy ends up being,” he said, adding that historically “it takes an awful lot for me to want to sell it.”
Bitcoin has experienced sharp sell-offs in recent days and Jim Cramer recently said he’s sold almost all of his holdings. The broader cryptocurrency market is prone to sometimes drastic market swings.
Particularly because of this market volatility, most individuals prefer to be paid in a more stable currency, according to Jake Brukhman, CEO of CoinFund, an investment firm that backs blockchain sector companies.
“There are certainly people who are willing to take the risks,” Brukhman said, noting that it makes sense for a NASCAR driver to want to do so, although “it’s not for everybody.”
Indeed, Voyager’s Ehrlich said that none of his employees are paid in cryptocurrency, although he said many would prefer it.
“Right now there is no great payroll mechanism system out there in the marketplace we’ve seen that integrates with the rest of our employee benefits and payroll systems,” Ehrlich said.
Cassill and Ehrlich met in Las Vegas about two years ago. Cassill said he bumped into some of the trading app’s employees while in line to buy a smoothie at the Litecoin conference.
This weekend was Ehrlich’s first NASCAR race, he says. Voyager hosted a box above pit row at the race in Nashville for employees and customers.
Cassill crashed during the race this weekend, as did driver Stefan Parsons, who was in a Dogecoin-themed race car sponsored by automotive suspension company Springrates.
“The car was wrecked pretty bad,” Cassill said of his own accident, noting that he is fine, albeit a little sore. Thankfully, he said, there are several more cars in the fleet.
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