Bianca Bustamante is a 17-year-old Filipina racer who is using NFTs to achieve her dreams and make history. In March, Bustamante secured a coveted spot on W Series’ Academy team where she’ll compete in eight FIA Formula 1 World Championship support races. She will be the first Filipina racer to drive in the all-women championship.
This achievement brings Bustamante even closer to her goal of becoming a Formula 1 driver. However, it also comes with challenges — i.e. affording the costs associated with training and even basic needs.
Enter the Dark Horse NFT project. Bustamante launched the NFT Access Pass to secure funding for her rapidly-progressing motorsports career, as well as provide her fans with an exclusive look at exactly how she’s working towards her F1 dream.
An exclusive look behind the wheel
The Dark Horse project is described as a “new take on the traditional talent agency and early sponsorship functions – reimagined through blockchain technology.”
Anyone interested in supporting the project is promised, as per Dark Horse’s roadmap, access to behind-the-scenes content, community interaction with Bustamante, merch, and much more.
Bustamante is particularly excited about how this project will bring her closer to her community. In a press release, she says, “The Dark Horse is a great opportunity for me to embrace new technology to create a sustainable platform aimed at giving back to those who believe in me. What I’m most excited about are the cool, fun ways in which I can directly interact with my fans. In return for their support, I will work hard to become the best driver in the world and, along with my team, deliver unique content and insights into my life and the motorsport world.”
In the future, NFTs collections like Bustamante’s could serve a similar role on the collector’s market to athlete trading cards — a possibility the NBA has already caught on to. This new revenue stream for budding athletes could also play nicely with a recent ruling that has finally granted NCAA athletes the right to accept sponsorship deals.
A lack of color
As lucrative a career as a professional athlete may seem, sports like professional racing require a significant financial investment on the athlete’s end – on top of a brutal training schedule – before they even get the chance to go pro. A confluence of factors such as this has led to a startling lack of diversity in professional racing, with the Formula One World Championship – the sport’s most prestigious tournament – being emblematic of this unfortunate truth.
Across the event’s 70-plus years of history, it has featured a startingly homogeneous spread of participants: of the 900 drivers that have participated in at least one F1 tournament run, an overwhelming majority of them have been men of Caucasian descent. For instance, only a handful of Asian drivers have competed in the tournament, despite how countries like Japan have fostered multiple generations of motorsports enthusiasts. They invented drifting, for crying out loud!
Other ethnicities have also had extremely limited representation in the tournament. In fact, the tournament didn’t see any black racers until Lewis Hamilton participated in his first F1 tournament in 2007. Women have been an even rarer sight at the highest levels of competitive racing. The last time we saw a woman compete in the tournament was in 1976 when Lella Lombardi made her second – and final – appearance.
Unfortunately, the NFT and crypto space also parallels this lack of diversity. As of 2022, upwards of 70 percent of the world’s cryptocurrency accounts are held by men, with 62 percent of that total being white men, according to a report from Morning Consult. This is one of the reasons that Bustamante’s initiative is just as important to the NFT space as it is to racing. Representation of women and people of color in both communities will only help to further break down barriers to entry ensure everyone has equal opportunities to participate.