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Russell Okung becomes first NFL star to be paid in bitcoin

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Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Russell Okung has become the first National Football League (NFL) player to have a portion of his contract paid out in bitcoin.

Okung has agreed to divert half of his $13 million salary to mobile payment company Strike to purchase bitcoin investments.

Strike, a product created by the Jack Mallers-founded Bitcoin startup Zap, is expected to take a fee and process bitcoin transactions for Okung.

The two-time Pro Bowler had earlier expressed his desire in May 2019 to be compensated in the form of the popular cryptocurrency. 

Russell Okung on Tuesday confirmed that his wish was granted after a nearly two-year battle.

“Money is more than currency; it’s power. The way money is handled from creation to dissemination is part of that power. Getting paid in bitcoin is the first step of opting out of the corrupt, manipulated economy we all inhabit,” the 32-year-old said in a statement.

Meanwhile, while discussing the league’s stance regarding the arrangement on Wednesday, an NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told CNBC via email, “There wasn’t anything to sign off on. The clubs pay the players in US dollars. What the players or his agents do with the money is up to them.”

Okung was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks with the sixth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and has also played for the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Chargers. He is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason.

Feature image courtesy: Twitter/NFL



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