It’s difficult for an altcoin to get the right kind of attention. It takes something special to attract a user, investor or miner. It could be the logo, could be the name, could be a random reddit post that draws someone in. The Vertcoin Athlete campaign was started to generate exactly this kind of intangible likeability by appealing to sports and fitness fans. I sat down with Brandon Kurtz, the muscle behind the operation to learn more.
Q : Athletics is not the first thing that pops into my head when I think of electronic currency. Walk us through how you came up with Vertcoin Athlete.
A: At the time of Vertcoin Athlete’s creation, I was into two things: digital currency and running. A lot of my days were spent researching cryptocurrency, learning how to mine, or simply posting on the forums. I love to run, and I love Vertcoin, so I decided to merge the two! At first, it was just going to be a way for me to promote Vertcoin at the Berlin Marathon. Very soon after the campaign went up, I decided to open the doors for anyone that wanted to participate. I’m using sports and athletics to bring awareness to Vertcoin, but really it’s more geared towards getting the conversation about alternative currencies started.
Q : What initially attracted you to Vertcoin?
A: The technical aspects of the coin and the community. The development team is great and Vertans are passionate. We all want to see the coin succeed!
Q : Getting more people talking about alternative currencies is key, how are you doing that with Vertcoin Athlete?
A: Raising awareness will drive widespread adoption. With Vertcoin Athlete, anyone can spend a few Vertcoin or Bitcoin (for those that may not be able to exchange directly to Vertcoin yet) on a t-shirt and become an ambassador for the digital currency movement. Vertcoin Athlete is designed to be grassroots. Everyone can take part, and the sponsorships we can offer are generally for local teams/athletes looking for a little assistance. For now, everything is done at the local level. If a person in a small town wears a Vertcoin Athlete shirt and talks about digital currency with their friends and family, I believe that’s a good starter.
Q : So people see you running in your Vertcoin Athlete t-shirt, what have the conversations been like?
A: No one really stops and asks me while I’m out running, but they are exposed to the Vertcoin logo. In a year or two, they may say to themselves, “I remember that guy out running with that logo on his shirt.” There are a lot of running groups here, all of which generally meet at a bar afterwards, and that’s when the conversations happen. If they take an interest in the technical aspects of alternative currency, then I’ll discuss that with them. If they are more interested in what Vertcoin Athlete is doing in terms of sports and athletics, then we’ll talk about that. I have yet to find a good elevator pitch, so I go as in-depth as they feel comfortable.
Q : So any talk about sports and promotion leads to a discussion of sponsorships. Bitcoin and Dodgecoin are doing. Will we see Vertcoin on the side of a NASCAR car?
A: While I love what Bitcoin and Dogecoin have been able to achieve in terms of sponsorship on that level, it has never been the main focus of Vertcoin Athlete to do the same. Vertcoin Athlete serves more as an athletic branding than it does as a single advertisement for the currency. Before NASCAR, MMA, and College football bowl games, the Vertcoin community sponsored an amateur-ish runner from Colorado. It is my hope that I can do the same for others. Of course, I support all of these coin sponsored athletes and athletic events. Josh Wise is definitely my favorite NASCAR driver and I dig what he does for the community! As the Vertcoin community grows, we will definitely look into doing things like that as well.