Russell Okung is the first NFL player to be paid in Bitcoin (BTC)

  • Russell Okung is the first NFL player to receive his salary in Bitcoin.
  • The payments will be processed by the company Strike and sent via  BTC’s Lightning Network.

In May 2019, NFL professional player Russell Okung demanded via his Twitter account to be paid in Bitcoin. Yesterday, Okung confirmed that his demand has been met. Starting in 2021, half of his annual salary will be converted into the cryptocurrency.

The player earns an estimated $13 million annually and, according to the agreement he has reached with his team, the Carolina Panthers, 50% will be sent in fiat money with a direct deposit to Strike’s product Zap. The company was founded by Jack Mallers and operates with BTC’s second layer solution Lightning Network. Strike will swap the fiat money to BTC and send it to an address controlled by Okung.

Bitcoin (BTC) protects Russell Okung’s salary

Mallers said he is “incredibly proud and humbled” to have helped Okung achieve his goal of receiving part of his salary in BTC. The founder of Strike referred to Okung as a “leader” and believes he has set a precedent that can be followed by other players in the sports industry.

In that sense, Maller said in an interview for CoinDesk that there will be other athletes in the New York professional baseball and basketball league considering joining the initiative. In order to send the payment in BTC to Okung, the approval of the NFL and the association of players of that league was required, as clarified by the founder of Strike.

In addition, Mallers said Okung’s decision is driven by protecting itself from U.S. dollar inflation. In that way, he follows a strategy that is also employed at a corporate level in companies such as MicroStrategy and Square, as Maller said:

Russel risks his body and health every week to provide for his family. With the current asset inflation here in the US, Russel will lose ~50% of his earned wealth over the next 5 years if held in USD. It’s unfair to ask him to put his health on the line in exchange for dollars.

Maller further explained the product to be used by Okung will be available to users in the United States soon. There are plans to expand it and enable its use in other countries. Users will be able to exchange fiat money starting at the minimum amount of $0.1.

We work for Bitcoin. Strike will (very soon) be launching around the world, onboarding merchants, and now a payday product for consumers.

About Author

Reynaldo Marquez has closely followed the growth of Bitcoin and blockchain technology since 2016. He has since worked as a columnist on crypto coins covering advances, falls and rises in the market, bifurcations and developments. He believes that crypto coins and blockchain technology will have a great positive impact on people's lives.

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