Yesterday there was quite a ruckus started over the story that NFL player Russell Okung would be the first person to be paid in cryptocurrency. The Carolina Panthers offensive tackle sent out a tweet that suggested he might be paid half his $13 million salary in Bitcoin by the league, and many outlets ran with the breaking news, spreading it like wildfire.
Paid in Bitcoin. https://t.co/Ey6oOcmLjA
— russ (@RussellOkung) December 29, 2020
But now that a full day has since passed, there’s been a twist to the tune being sung, and we have greater clarity as to. According to the NFL, there is zero intention of paying players in digital assets any time soon. In fact, a league spokesperson spoke directly with The Verge and clarified those reports as “not accurate” and said that what’s happened is that “[Okung’s] people are converting some of the money into bitcoin.”
Instead, it appears that Okung partnered with startup company Zap to promote their new product, Strike. Built on Bitcoin architecture, Strike converts the money accordingly. According to an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, receiving funds in crypto allows him to take back “power that is rightly ours.”
This event might start a larger movement among professional athletes, including members of the New York Yankees and NBA players like the Brooklyn Nets‘ Spencer Dinwiddie. This “cold storage” is being pushed as a safer, less volatile alternative to standard fiat money. Strike founder Jack Mallers says he’s even been in talks with some Top 500 Billboard artists to have their money received in Bitcoin now. Let’s see what new big names jump on the wave and how Strike and Okung’s partnership turns out.