Dogecoin aids Jamaican efforts for Sochi

By Danielle Middleton topicIcon Internet News

Internet helps Jamaica get to Sochi

The creators behind a virtual currency have helped the Jamaican bobsleigh team in their bid to get to the 2014 Winter Olympics.

On Sunday, the two man Jamaican bobsleigh team discovered they had qualified for the Winter Olympics for the first time since 2002, only for the team to reveal that they did not have enough money for travel and equipment.

The sled will be piloted by Winston Watt, and Marvin Dixon acting as the brakeman. Watt stated that following infusions of his own capital into the team's cause, there was only enough to fly the two to Russia. Watt, a Jamaican-American who competed for the country in 2002, launched a PayPal account in an effort to raise the required $40,000 (£24,330) in donations.

The internet to the rescue

The Jamaican bobsleigh team has been a fan favourite since first qualifying for the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta in 1988. Their status as the ultimate 'underdog' tugged on the heartstrings of many, as the team from a tropical climate took part in a winter sport, and their achievement was immortalised in 1993 film, Cool Runnings.

Fans of the film, including Liam Butler who runs the Dogecoin virtual currency foundation along with creators Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus, began a campaign to raise funds for the team on Monday.

The company successfully raised over 26m Dogecoins, increasing the price of the virtual currency, while the Dogecoin to Bitcoin exchange rate rose by 50 per cent in the first 12 hours of the campaign.

Butler stated:

"Myself and Jackson Palmer (the creator of Dogecoin) were at a local pub trivia in Sydney when we noticed the value of Dogecoin had more than doubled since we'd last checked so we raced back to my house to ensure we could get the best price for the donations in a form the team could actually use. As much as we have faith in Dogecoin to become the community currency of the internet, we still understand that the team need to buy their airfares in a fiat currency."

After exchanging the Dogecoin to Bitcoin, the Jamaican team were $25,000 (£15,206) closer to the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014.

Adrian Mursec, head of development at theEword said: "This is another incredible story for virtual currency, placing it ever further into the public eye as a positive step forward for virtual transactions."