SailGP — compiled the the sailing world’s equivalent of Formula 1—navigates the Web3 space.
SailGP aims to have a professional sailing team owned and operated by a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, that complies with the US Securities Act, Russell Coutts said in an interview in Singapore on the sidelines of the Global CEO Conference Forbes Advisors. Coutts, a five-time America’s Cup winner, founded SailGP with billionaire Oracle chairman and CTO Larry Ellison in 2018.
Their plan for a DAO, which will be run by its members and based on the NEAR blockchain platform, is to issue both security tokens and fan tokens. The security tokens represent ownership in the sailing team and will be made available to 2,000 accredited investors, while people who buy the fan tokens will have the right to vote on the team’s decisions.
The DAO that meets SailGP’s entry requirements is expected to be established as early as this month, Coutts said. The community-led organization will have to decide whether to establish a new team or buy an existing one from the current nine national teams.
“We believe this will be the first group fully operated by the DAO under the US securities framework,” said Coutts, CEO of SailGP. The team could only join the league in June 2023, when the fourth season begins.
SailGP races use identical 50-foot catamarans that can fly over the water at a top speed of 60 mph and come down to a winner-take-all prize of $1 million.
Ellison and Coutts led SailGP to be commercially viable with a zero carbon footprint. Their goal is to power its entire fleet with renewable energy by 2025.
Coutts believes the DAO-powered sailing team is the “ultimate implementation of a fan loyalty program”. He said there are many opportunities for DAO members to engage with the sport, including attending a team briefing and meeting star players.
“Fans will no longer just sit on the sidelines,” Coutts said. “Web3 has the potential to allow fans to fully immerse themselves in the sport they love, including having a say in team decisions and accessing experiences previously reserved only for those in the owners’ suite.”
SailGP first jumped on the crypto bandwagon in March, announcing its multi-year partnership with the NEAR blockchain to explore selling a new pool to a DAO. The announcement comes at a time when sports teams worldwide are increasingly using crypto and blockchain technologies to take fan engagement to a higher level. Earlier this year, Kiat Lim, son of Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim, said he had joined hands with former Manchester United players to launch a DAO to allow professional soccer ownership to fans.
SailGP also partnered with Oracle to launch an online fan engagement platform using blockchain assets aimed at those unfamiliar with crypto and blockchain technologies. “The initial experience will be a mix of Web2 and Web3 because we want to make it as easy as possible to access and get that fan engagement experience,” Coutts said.
SailGP also recently announced that it is hosting its first Asian Grand Prix in Singapore in January 2023. The move is set to expand its race circuit which already covers Australia, France, Spain, the UK and the USA, among others .