The 2020 NFL season has seen a lot of firsts. Not all of them have been good. One is the league has played on every day of the week for the first time. Another one is thanks to Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Russell Okung.
Okung has become the first NFL player to receive a salary in Bitcoin.
The news broke on Monday that Okung will receive half of his salary in Bitcoin.
Don’t forget, folks, BetUS accepts BitCoin.
Bitcoin is a digital currency created in January 2009 following the housing market crash. It offers the promise of lower transaction fees than traditional online payment mechanisms and is operated by a decentralized authority, unlike government-issued currencies. There is a lot of fluctuation in the price of Bitcoin. It has periods of ups and downs. However, over time, it has always kept going up, often in huge spurts. In just the past month, its worth has jumped 50% to reach all-time highs.
At the current price of approximately $26,500, half of one of Okung’s game checks today is worth about 15.5 Bitcoins, or BTC. At the start of the season, with the price of Bitcoin much lower (around $10,300), Okung would have received about 40 BTC for his first game. Those 40 Bitcoins are now worth around $1,065,306. A pretty good investment, as opposed to the other half of that salary, which would still equal ‘just’ $414,000 in cash.
The arrangement comes by way of Zap, the bitcoin startup founded by Jack Mallers. Zap’s Strike product enables traditional paychecks to be converted into BTC. His $13 million yearly salary is being split 50-50 between bitcoin and fiat, Mallers said Monday in a phone interview with CoinDesk.
— CoinDesk (@CoinDesk) December 29, 2020
Learn more about what @Bitcoinis_.
— russ (@RussellOkung) December 29, 2020
Strike receives a direct deposit from his team, the Carolina Panthers, and then swaps dollars for bitcoin. That bitcoin is then sent to a cold storage wallet held by Okung, Mallers said. (To recap, Lightning is a secondary system for sending bitcoin in a cheaper and quicker fashion compared to using the Bitcoin network itself.)
Strike, which launched in private beta about a year ago, can connect to any bank account via a routing number, according to Mallers. Square’s Cash App worked in a similar manner by partnering with Lincoln Savings Bank and Sutton Bank before Square received a banking license in March.
Mallers said other pro athletes, including unnamed members of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and baseball’s New York Yankees, have also begun onboarding to the program. Mallers said the NFL and NFL Players Association had to be involved to get approval. It is unclear if such approvals are also required for the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball.
Pay me in Bitcoin.
— russ (@RussellOkung) May 14, 2019
The world has never needed Bitcoin more.
— russ (@RussellOkung) March 16, 2020
Okung has been a major proponent of Bitcoin for more than a year, at least. He wrote an op-ed for Coindesk in 2019 that extolled the value of it.
Bitcoin is one of the few financial assets that offers sanctuary from a global recession, when it arrives. Financial advisor isn’t recommending bitcoin because they don’t make money by selling it to clients. The mainstream talking heads don’t mention it because it threatens their cushy industry. But we are on the precipice of something truly unique with the invention and success of bitcoin. I’m playing my role in raising awareness, shamelessly encouraging professional athletes to embrace bitcoin, and evangelizing to a mainstream audience about the opportunity we have to capture undeniable economic power.
Bitcoin is like digital gold. No one entity owns it or controls it. It is a scarce asset, which means there will only ever be 21 million bitcoins in existence. It has a proven 11-year track record that is unmatched by any Silicon Valley unicorn. Bitcoin is undermining the status quo of intermediaries: no more banks, no more money managers, no more governments telling you what you can and can’t do with your money. For me, it means sending money to a relative in Nigeria without asking for approval from anyone else. Imagine an economy that doesn’t require you to share all your personal details before making a purchase. Imagine a retirement plan that isn’t built on a foundation that is “too big to fail.”
Don’t forget, folks, BetUS accepts BitCoin.