Russell Okung of the Panthers becomes the first NFL player to be paid in Bitcoin

Russell Okung of the Panthers becomes the first NFL player to be paid in Bitcoin - russell okung bitcoin 1024x576After first tweeting such a request in May 2019, the dream of receiving his salary in Bitcoin has come true for National Football League player Russell Okung. 20 months later with a 273% price increase, Okung will be the first player in any major US sports league to be paid in bitcoin - find out how to buy here Bitcoin with PayPal.

The agreement made through the startup Zap

The deal was signed through Zap, the bitcoin startup founded by Jack Mallers. Zap's Strike product allows you to convert traditional salaries into BTC. Okung's annual salary is $ 13 million and will be split 50-50 between bitcoin and fiat, Mallers said.

He said other professional athletes, including members of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and the New York Yankees baseball team, have also started participating in the program. He said the NFL had to be involved in order to get the deal approved and the NFL Players Association had to be involved. It is unclear whether such approvals are also required for the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball.

How Strike works

Technically speaking, Okung will continue to be paid in fiat. Behind the scenes, however, is the magic of the Lightning Network: Strike will receive a direct deposit from his team, the Carolina Panthers, and then exchange dollars for bitcoin.

That bitcoin will then be sent to a cold storage wallet held by Okung, Mallers said. (Lightning is a secondary system for sending bitcoins cheaper and faster than using the Bitcoin network itself) Strike, launched in private beta about a year ago, can connect to any bank account via a routing code, explained Mallers.

Square's Cash app worked a similar process thanks to partnering with Lincoln Savings Bank and Sutton Bank before Square received a banking license in March. Okung's announcement is also useful to learn more about Zap.

Strike can now be used as a checking account thanks to a partnership with two as yet unspecified banks, according to Mallers. Strike does not currently receive any payment processing cuts, Mallers said, but may do so when the product is adopted.

“It's a big deal to find a way to allow any individual to receive a percentage of their salary in bitcoin,” Mallers said. 32-year-old Okung said he has long been frustrated by the lack of economic power that professional athletes - especially black athletes - currently hold. Okung sees bitcoin as a means to regain financial independence and has launched a project based on this vision.