Panthers Russell Okung becomes first NFL player to be paid in bitcoin

Part of Okung’s traditional paychecks will be converted into bitcoin

Panthers Russell Okung becomes first NFL player to be paid in bitcoin
Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Russell Okung (76) works against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) (Source: John Bazemore)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS Sports) - Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Russell Okung is set to make a bit of history off the field. He has become the first NFL player to have part of his contract paid in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

Okung’s setup comes via Zap, which is a bitcoin app that was founded by Jack Mallers. Zap’s Strike product is going to take Okung’s paychecks and convert them into bitcoin. According to Yahoo Finance, the Panthers offensive tackle will have half of his $13 million yearly salary paid in bitcoin.

This choice does not come out of nowhere for Okung. Back in May of 2019, Okung tweeted his desire to be paid in bitcoin. He updated that older tweet on Tuesday.

“Money is more than currency; it’s power,” Okung said in a statement. “The way money is handled from creation to dissemination is part of that power. Getting paid in Bitcoin is the 1st step of opting out of the corrupt, manipulated economy we all inhabit.”

How this all works is that The Strike product will get a direct deposit from the Panthers. They then will change out the dollar amount for bitcoin and give it it Okung.

Okung certainly isn’t the first professional athlete to dabble into the world of crpytocurrency. Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and unnamed members of the New York Yankees have received their salaries in bitcoin, according to Yahoo.

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