Offensive lineman Russell Okung of the Carolina Panthers is set to make a piece of history off the field. He became the first NFL player to compensate part of his deal in the Bitcoin digital currency.
The Panthers offensive tackle will get half of his $13 million gross compensation credited in Bitcoin, according to Yahoo Finance.
A Long-Awaited Request Fulfilled
Okung tweeted his wish to be compensated in Bitcoin back in May of 2019.
Pay me in Bitcoin.
— russ (@RussellOkung) May 14, 2019
On Tuesday, he replied to the older tweet.
Paid in Bitcoin. https://t.co/Ey6oOcmLjA
— russ (@RussellOkung) December 29, 2020
Okung will receive a direct deposit from his team, the Carolina Panthers. Then, the dollar sum for Bitcoin will be adjusted and Okung will be issued Bitcoin in turn.
Okung is definitely not the first professional athlete to reach the cryptocurrency community. According to Yahoo, Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and unidentified representatives of the New York Yankees got their pay in Bitcoin.
Okung’s History with Bitcoin
According to a press release from Strike, a firm that lets consumers turn conventional cash to crypto, Okung earned half of his $13 million base salary in Bitcoin for the 2020 season.
Okung lobbied both the Panthers and his former squad, the Los Angeles Chargers, to compensate him in Bitcoin before seeking a compromise, according to the press release. Ultimately, in conventional cash, the Panthers paid the 32-year-old tackle but then moved it by Hit, which transformed it to bitcoin.
Okung, an 11-year veteran, and two-time Pro Bowl honoree have long been a bitcoin enthusiast, a form of digital currency developed about a decade ago.
Okung called Bitcoin “digital gold” in a 2019 op-ed for Coindesk, a news portal that focuses on digital currencies.
“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.”
Professional athletes committed themselves to becoming elite workers in their industry, investing significant human capital to earn their place in society.
Bitcoin offers a way to protect that hard earned capital from the whims of central bankers who keep printing more money to bail out their friends on Wall Street.
It is time for us to embrace our economic sovereignty by allocating at least 5% of our wealth into bitcoin. I’m personally much more invested in the asset, but my goal here is to simply get you off of zero. Of course, I want to see the price go up, but I gain nothing else by trying to make you a believer.
I just think it is important to let you know now, so you don’t blame me down the line when the price skyrockets and the global recession is no longer deniable.”