Russell Okung will be the first NFL player in history to be paid in bitcoin.
This was revealed by Yahoo Finance, pointing out that this is not only the first player in American football’s top league to have his salary paid in BTC, but actually the first in any major US sports league.
In fact, his annual salary of $13 million will be split in half, with 50% normally paid in dollars, and the other 50% in BTC.
It will all be made possible through Strike, a service from the startup Zap founded by Jack Mallers that allows salaries to be paid in bitcoin.
Mallers revealed that authorization from the NFL and the NFL Players Association was needed to confirm the deal, and said that other professional athletes from the NBA (basketball) and MLB (baseball) have also begun participating in the Zap program.
The Carolina Panthers team, for whom Okung plays, will pay Strike’s salary in dollars, and the company will be responsible for exchanging half of it for BTC and sending all the funds to the player.
Incidentally, Okung has chosen to receive the BTC in his own cold wallet, revealing a clear intention to keep them, rather than spend them.
Russell Okung the first player to be paid in Bitcoin
In 2019, the player tweeted:
Pay me in Bitcoin.
— russ (@RussellOkung) May 14, 2019
Now his request has become a reality, so much so that yesterday Okung tweeted:
Paid in Bitcoin. https://t.co/Ey6oOcmLjA
— russ (@RussellOkung) December 29, 2020
Okung has actually been a bitcoiner for quite some time, and he may be paving the way for a new use of BTC.
In fact, there are some professionals, like athletes, who have rich but short professional careers.
That is, in relatively few years they cash in most of their lifetime earnings, thus having to worry about how to preserve them for the future.
At a time when concerns about inflation of fiat currencies are very high, those who need to store large amounts for many decades look for alternative solutions to fiat currencies so as to reduce losses due to inflation. In such a scenario bitcoin may be a better store of value given its deflationary nature.
Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that other professionals might follow in Okung’s footsteps.