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NFL’s Russell Okung to Get 50% of His $13 Million Salary in Bitcoin

Brandon Kochkodin
·1 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Russell Okung, a Pro Bowl tackle for the Carolina Panthers, tweeted back in May 2019 that he wanted to be paid in Bitcoin.

More than a year later, Okung let the world know that he’s become the first National Football League player to collect a portion of his check in the cryptocurrency.

Here’s how it works: The Panthers will continue to pay the tackle in dollars, but Okung will convert 50% of his $13 million salary to Bitcoin using Zap’s Strike product, according to a report from CoinDesk, a crypto and blockchain news site. Strike facilitates payments that are translated into Bitcoin from ordinary currency.

“NFL players are paid in U.S. dollars,” a league spokesman said. “He is then converting that to Bitcoin.”

Okung has long been a proponent of the cryptocurrency. His Twitter bio reads “life, liberty and #bitcoin,” and he’s written about his talks with teammates about its virtues.

The largest cryptocurrency is on track for its longest monthly winning streak and is setting all-time highs during a rally that has seen it gain more than 270% this year.

(Updates with NFL statement in fourth paragraph.)

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