On May 14th, 2019, the highest-paid player on the Carolina Panthers’ roster – offensive tackle Russell Okung – sent out a tweet that simply read ‘Pay me in Bitcoin.’
Some 18 months later, on December 30th, 2020, Okung confirmed his wish had finally been granted with a follow-up tweet reading ‘Paid in Bitcoin.’
Although the Panthers did not do so directly – going through an intermediary payment service called Strike instead – the results are the same. Okung became the first professional athlete to be paid in cryptocurrency and had half of his 13 million dollar salary converted into Bitcoin. While it would have been better for his bottom-line had his request been fulfilled a year and a half earlier when Bitcoin was trading at between 6 and 8 thousand dollars, Okung was able to capture a substantial chunk of BTC’s recent price surge. The $27,000 to $45,000 movement since his December tweet represents a 66% growth and raised his base salary from its initial 13 million to a current value north of 17.25 million in just over a month!
But if you think Okung is satisfied making a cool four million in the span of one of my winter naps, think again; earlier today, he tweeted about the topic, saying, “Let’s check back in ten years’ before concluding that ‘Tom Brady cannot be the GOAT until he owns Bitcoin.”
Your move, Tom.