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SailGP could have team owned by cryptocurrency fans by 2023

AP – SailGP, the global league co-founded by software tycoon Larry Ellison, could have a team owned and operated by cryptocurrency enthusiasts as soon as the start of its fourth season in late 2023.

SailGP announced a multi-year partnership on Thursday with blockchain development platform NEAR that will allow sailing and cryptocurrency fans to engage with their favourite teams and athletes in new ways.

The announcement came ahead of SailGP’s Season 2 finale, the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix, which will culminate with tomorrow’s USD1 million, winner-take-all podium race.

SailGP features most of the world’s top sailors, including America’s Cup winners and Olympic gold medalists, who race aboard wingsailed, 50-foot catamarans that can reach 60mph while skimming above the waves on hydrofoils.

SailGP will expand from eight to 10 national teams for its third season. While the agreement with NEAR is expected to have many benefits for fans, including NFTs, the highlight would be ownership of a sailing team by a community of token-holders known as a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO).

The SailGP DAO would differ from traditional sports team structures in which a single owner or a small group calls the shots, said SailGP co-founder Russell Coutts and NEAR Foundation CEO Marieke Flament. The DAO could involve people from all over the world who vote on everything from the management structure to the length of the skipper’s contract and could even decide whether there should be a woman steering the boat.

“That’s in some ways why this is so exciting,” Coutts said. “This is groundbreaking technology, a groundbreaking initiative. We don’t believe it’s been done before, especially on this scale. And when you think about it, with our events being all over the world, as well, we’re not just in one particular territory. That’s of interest as well.”

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