Left tackle Russell Okung signed a four-year, $53 million contract with the Carolina Panthers back in the 2017 NFL off-season. Okung was owed $13 million in salary in 2020 but asked the Carolina Panthers to pay half of it in the extremely popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
But why did Okung ask to be paid in Bitcoin?
What is Bitcoin and why did Russell Okung want half his salary in Bitcoin?
According to Investopedia, Bitcoin is a digital currency that was created in January 2009. It offers the promise of lower transaction fees than traditional online payment mechanisms and unlike government-issued currencies, it is operated by a decentralized authority.
Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency and there's no physical coin. They are not backed by any bank or government nor are individual bitcoins valuable as a commodity.
With this being said, why did Russell Okung want to be paid half of his $13 million deal in bitcoin?
Bitcoin did a write-up on how receiving half of his salary in bitcoin has helped Russell Okung. Jamie Redman explained how bitcoin will work in Russell Okung's favor.
"For instance, when BTC hit $44k, the half of his contract that is paid in BTC climbed to $10.59 million, at $56k+ his half turned into more than his entire quoted salary. As far as 2020 NFL salary stats are concerned, Okung has entered the top five position. However, the NFL has recently decideed to cap the league's salaries at $180 million and a ball player's contract could change in 2021. Because the Carolina Panthers' offensive tackle gets half of his salary in BTC, many proponents think of him as the highest-paid player in the NFL and not just ahead of the highest paid offensive tackles."
Russell Okung could start a new trend with him making a ton of money off of Bitcoin. Okung said this about how he continues to accumulate Bitcoin over time.
"I receive a ton of questions about my price entry point into the BTC. I stack stats the price goes up, I stack some more."
He went on to say that his unique demand shouldn't be considered as financial advice as it is a huge gamble.
There's an element of risk in Okung's request as a potential market crash could see Okung lose everything he's earned. It'll be interesting to see if more NFL players follow suit and ask to be paid in Bitcoin in the future.