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Formula One NFTs Will Make The Sport Even Bigger
Having finally conquered America, the sexiest motorsport now eyes web3. Can restaurants learn from F1's success?
Today’s post comes to you courtesy of Jeff Blanchette, Senior Software Engineer here at Blackbird Labs, Inc. Jeff will be using the space below to talk about Formula One NFTs and why they represent exciting new territory for the increasingly popular sport. We hope you enjoy it and, as ever, we’d love to hear from you: either in the comments below, on Twitter, or by dropping us a line at email@example.com.
Formula One — the global motor-racing competition that ranks as the ne plus ultra of jet set sports — has finally exploded in the United States. It only took 75 years to do so.
The racing series’ rapid rise in popularity can be credited, in a large part, to Netflix’s Drive to Survive. Now in its fourth season, the 40-episode docudrama lifts the hood on the complex sport’s seemingly endless intricacies in the form of rules, tech, gamesmanship, and major players — from team owners to pit crews to the 20 charismatic drivers who put their lives on the line every time they hit the gas. According to a Morning Consult survey, fandom is up 33 percent in the U.S. over the past two years, with over half those folks attributing their new F1 interest to the Netflix series. Add the Las Vegas Grand Prix debuting in 2023, ESPN inking a massive three-year broadcasting deal, and American driver Logan Sergeant signing with Williams Racing, and it’s a good time to be an American F1 fan.
What excites me most about F1, however, is how ripe the sport is for the NFT marketplace. NFTs represent a way for deeper fan engagement. Current F1 NFTs can get fans into private Discords or IRL meet and greets with drivers; you can own faithful 3D renderings of classic cars (I recommend Nigel Mansell’s iconic Williams Renault) and other historic paraphernalia; you can even customize your own digital chassis and race it across simulators featuring laser traced tracks that replicate every ripple in the tarmac of the real thing, from Monza to Austin. And I am sure, down the line, there will be digital collectibles from the races themselves a la NBA Top Shot (one of the most successful NFT examples, IMO). Imagine owning the clip below? A 90-minute F1 race is fleeting — the smell of gasoline dissipates, the scream of V6 engines fades, the spectators clear the stands — but through creative NFTs we can extend the experience long after the checkered flag is waved.
Some of this might sound a bit far-fetched, but it’s starting to work. Oracle Red Bull Racing’s private, token-gated Discord has over 16,000 active users. Motorsport Multiverse was recently valued at $400,000,000 (and partnered with Motorsport Images, whose websites receive 62 million monthly unique visitors). Even the Delta Time video game debacle, while by no means a success story, was a failure of creators Animoca Brands ability to renew their F1 license rather than any dip in demand (in 2019, their 1-1-1 diamond-encrusted digital race car sold for $110,000).
F1 and restaurants probably feel like two disparate worlds, with zero overlap in a Venn diagram, but turns out there is a stronger connection than one might think. Like attending a Grand Prix, dining at a great restaurant is an inherently ephemeral experience. There is signal for us in the fact that F1 is starting to understand how to use the blockchain to make the ephemeral less so. For years, people collected matchbooks, pens, and even menus from their favorite restaurants. What will they collect next?
Senior Software Engineer
Blackbird Labs, Inc.