Neither the author, Tim Fries, nor this website, The Tokenist, provide financial advice. Please consult our website policy prior to making financial decisions.
With Bitcoin breaking record after record, week after week, you can expect to see more public figures tapping into digital gold. Top athletes may have too much on their minds to be concerned with financial minutia, but their support teams are certainly savvy enough to recognize investment opportunities.
NFL Player and Bitcoin Explained
You may have seen the news circulating around social media that NFL Player, Russell Okung of the Carolina Panthers, finally got paid in Bitcoin. While he did ask to be paid in Bitcoin over a year ago, as his tweet shows…
“Pay me in Bitcoin.”
…it is, nonetheless, technically untrue. As you would expect, the technicality lies in the eagerness to simplify things. One should not expect for an NFL athlete to be paid in cryptocurrency, but one should expect that Russel’s managers are converting some of his yearly $13 million dollar contract into a Bitcoin investment. And that is exactly what happened.
Interestingly, at the time of that tweet when he requested Bitcoin, on May 14, 2019, Bitcoin’s price was at $8,186.00, less than two months away from the year’s peak at nearly $13k.
It’s almost as if Russel got a wind of Bitcoin’s mini-bull run from social media. However, it appears the timing was more mundane, or possibly commercial, in nature.
NFL Player Using Strike App for Bitcoin
A company called Zap Solutions may have gotten in touch with Russel’s team to promote its frictionless onboarding Strike payment app. The CEO of Zap, Jack Mallers, certainly seems to be on friendly terms with Russel:
“I’m proud to be able to call @RussellOkung my friend. He will be looked back in history favorably for so many reasons. A true leader who has no fear of standing for what he believes in. A deserving role model to so many around the world.”
For that matter, if Russel’s managers are handling the conversion of half of his USD salary into BTC, who is to say they are also not handling his Twitter account? More to the point, with $6.5 million going into BTC, this could make Russel akin to a mini institutional investor, while certainly adding to the current hype surrounding Bitcoin.
After all, that hefty sum is not that far away from one of the most recent institutional investors. Just a week ago, Anthony Scaramucci, who was briefly entangled with Trump’s White House, has invested $25 million in BTC via his SkyBridge hedge fund.
Moreover, there are far more high-paying pro-athletes than there are hedge managers. If Russel sets an example here, just like many institutional investors have done for their sphere of influence, he may have just set a new round of Bitcoin investments. That would mean a faster BTC growth, once again exceeding all expectations.
Nobody is immune to influence. What types of influencers pulled you into the Bitcoin world? Let us know in the comments below.
Tim Fries is the cofounder of The Tokenist. He has a B. Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Tim served as a Senior Associate on the investment team at RW Baird's US Private Equity division, and is also the co-founder of Protective Technologies Capital, an investment firms specializing in sensing, protection and control solutions.