The USA Luge team is making history but not in winning Olympic medals. They are the first US Olympic team to accept Bitcoin donations.
The 2018 Winter Olympics is almost here. Beginning on February 9th, 2018, hopeful athletes from all over the world will descend upon PyeongChang, South Korea, dreaming of Olympic glory. One such group of athletes is the USA Luge team, who are already making history, but not in the way you think. The Luge team is the first US Olympic team to accept Bitcoin as a donation.
Going for the Gold with a Little Help from Bitcoin
The 2018 USA Luge team is composed of ten individuals: seven men and three women. Historically, luge has not been one of the more popular Olympic sports for American viewers. That crown currently belongs to figure skating, with hockey a distant second.
This means that the USA Luge team is often in need of funds. While the team does have some sponsors, every little bit counts quite a bit. Which is why the team is turning to Bitcoin for help.
Gordy Sheer, the USA Luge marketing director and silver medalist in the 1998 Olympic doubles, sees some parallels between crypto users and lugers. He says:
You know, we hear a lot of jokes about lugers being crazy, and people don’t know why we do it. But luge is something that gets into your blood and transforms your life…and the bitcoiners we’ve met know exactly what it’s like to be all in on something that the world doesn’t appreciate yet. We’ve looked at bitcoin hard, and it is definitely a risk-reward we understand and are eager to take.
Bitcoin Donations Have Tax Benefits
Cryptocurrency has been used to help fund an Olympic team in the past. The most notable example is the Jamaican bobsled team in 2014 who received some Dogecoin. However, this is an official act by the USA Luge team, who are thinking long-term investment for future funding by accepting Bitcoin now.
Ty Danco, a former member of the USA Luge team and current worker on Wall Street, was one of the first to donate some bitcoins. Danco says:
It’s such a natural and good fit for the team. The luge team is not thinking short term, but long. By hodling bitcoin with the express goal of holding on through the 2022 and 2026 Olympic Games, the sport hopes to change from being underfunded to being able to support full teams on the World Cup level at the same time as developing grassroots youth programs to develop athletes. Bitcoin is still in its early days, and hats off to USA Luge for being both brave and prescient to ride this wave.
There are some current tax benefits for donating Bitcoin to Team USA. Donors will not have to pay the taxes on any appreciation gained, which will help keep the IRS off their backs. Also, donations made this year will fall under the current tax code. Overall, it’s great for a financially-strapped team to look to independent donation sources, and cryptocurrency is just the thing.
Will Bitcoin help lead the USA Luge team to Olympic glory? Will other Olympic teams turn to cryptocurrency for fundraising? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, US DOD, and Bitcoinist archives.