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Why NFL Player Russell Okung Takes Half His Salary In Bitcoin

Chris Katje
·2 min read

For the first time in the four major professional U.S. sports, an athlete will receive a portion of his salary in bitcoin.

What Happened: Carolina Panthers tackle Russell Okung will receive a portion of his salary as bitcoin, according to Coindesk.

The startup Zap, which converts traditional paychecks into Bitcoin, will be used by Okung in the deal.

The $13-million annual salary Okung receives will be split 50% cash and 50% bitcoin. Okung will still be paid in a normal check by the team.

Zap will do the conversion to bitcoin behind the scenes, swapping the fiat currency from the direct deposit into bitcoin that is sent to a cold storage wallet held by Okung.

The deal would be similar to taking half of a paycheck and buying bitcoin through a third party.

Related Link: 8 Stocks To Play Bitcoin's Resurgence

Why It’s Important: Okung tweeted in May 2019 that he wanted to be paid his salary in bitcoin. The price has risen over 270% since that tweet.

While the league will not pay Okung’s salary in citcoin, it is worth pointing out that the NFL and NFL Player’s Association had to sign off on the deal.

This could mark the beginning of wider adoption of cryptocurrency among the major sports leagues.

Unnamed players from the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets have joined the Zap program, according to founder Jack Mallers.

The announcement by Okung also helps Zap tease is partnership with two unnamed banks to convert paychecks into cryptocurrency.

“Money is more than currency; it’s power. Getting paid in bitcoin is the first step to opting out of the corrupt, manipulated economy we all inhibit,” Okung said in a statement.

Bitcoin Price Action: The price of Bitcoin is $26,730 at the time of writing.

MicroStrategy Incorporated (NASDAQ: MSTR), which has used cash and taken out loans to buy bitcoin, has seen shares surge over 150% in 2020 as a bitcoin play.

The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTC: GBTC) is up 270% in 2020.

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