12 Athletes Who Get Paid in Bitcoin

12 Athletes Who Get Paid in Bitcoin

Photo Courtesy: Mohamed Hassan / Pixabay

Bitcoin is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies around the globe right now with more than 180 million users worldwide. Roughly 46 million Americans own at least one share of Bitcoin, racking up more than 250,000 confirmed transactions of Bitcoin daily.

Bitcoin was introduced as a virtual currency designed to act as money in 2009 by anonymous developers named Satoshi Nakamoto. With thousands of cryptocurrencies available for trade, Bitcoin remains one of the most widely owned and traded digital payment methods out there.

Because of its future growth potential and near-immediate acceptance into our financial culture, more and more athletes, celebrities, politicians and everyday employees request Bitcoin as all or part of their compensation packages.

Will this trend continue? Only time will tell. Nevertheless, it’s becoming more popular every day. Here’s a look at 12 professional athletes who are currently getting paid with Bitcoin:

Sean Culkin

Sean Culkin led the way for NFL athletes to take their salaries in Bitcoin. After playing college football in Missouri and entering the NFL as a tight-end free agent, he made headlines when he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs and agreed to have his entire $920,000 salary paid in Bitcoin. He was cut soon after and has stepped away from his football career, but he’s still bullish on Bitcoin as he moves forward as an entrepreneur.

Russel Okung

Russel Okung is one of the first pro athletes to accept Bitcoin as half of his $13 million salary. In 2019, he tweeted, “Pay me in Bitcoin,” and got his wish a short time later. He played college football for Oklahoma State University and was twice recognized as an All-American before being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. Okung won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks before being traded to the Carolina Panthers for the 2020 season. He’s also played with the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers and remains a free agent.

Aaron Rogers

While Aaron Rogers might be best known for his top throws for the Green Bay Packers, he also became known for converting part of his salary to Bitcoin in 2021. Rogers signed a four-year, $134 million deal with the Green Bay Packers, which means even a small portion of his salary could be a big investment in Bitcoin. He also gave $1 million in cryptocurrency to his fans in collaboration with Square’s Cash App.

Odell Beckham Jr

Shortly after Rogers announced his Bitcoin salary intent, Odell Beckham Jr took a similar path with his own request. The Los Angeles Rams wide receiver announced on Twitter that he would be taking part of his salary in Bitcoin. The three-time Pro Bowler moved from the Cleveland Browns to a one-year contract with the LA Rams, reportedly comprising a base salary of $750,000 and a total worth of up to $4.25 million. He joined Rogers in partnering up with Square’s Cash App to give away $1 million to fans in cryptocurrency.

Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence was the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, joining the Jacksonville Jaguars as a quarterback. He also joined the ever-growing line of athletes who are taking part of their salaries in Bitcoin. Lawrence announced he would place his entire signing bonus in cryptocurrency and partner with Blockfolio’s investment app. That’s a pretty good chunk of change, considering he earned close to $25 million as the number-one pick.

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley knows his NFL days are numbered, and he is already spreading his financial planning wings by accepting Bitcoin for his endorsement deals. He announced in 2021 that he would take all endorsement deals with companies like Nike, Pepsi and Toyota in Bitcoin as a way to care for his family’s future and be the first to create generational wealth. He believes Bitcoin is the perfect way to do that.

Andre Iguodala

Taking a salary in Bitcoin and partnering with Square’s Cash App to give away a million in Bitcoin isn’t just for NFL superstars. Andre Iguodala joined forces with Cash App, too, as he jumped in with cryptocurrencies. Iguodala made his name with the Golden State Warriors, making five straight NBA Finals and winning three championships. With over 20 years in the NBA, it’s unclear how much of his compensation will be tied up in Bitcoin.

Klay Thompson

Taking a cue from his teammate Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson announced he would be making the same deal: He’ll invest part of his salary in Bitcoin and partner with Cash App for the $1 million giveaway.

Cade Cunningham

When the Detroit Pistons selected Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham as the number one pick of the 2021 Draft, he announced a sponsorship deal with the cryptocurrency firm BlockFi. As a part of his agreement, his entire signing bonus was converted to Bitcoin. He’ll be involved with BlockFi by helping promote cryptocurrency and educating future investors.

Shohei Ohtani

Baseball player Shohei Ohtani is paving the way for other team members to join in cryptocurrency payments. This American League MVP is known for his diverse skills in both pitching and power-hitting, but he’s branching out in his investment strategy, as well. Partnering with cryptocurrency firm FTX Trading as a global ambassador, he’ll be compensated with cryptocurrency as well as gaining an equity stake in the crypto company.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady may be in the news consistently for his marital problems and reaffirming his commitment to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it’s his entry into Bitcoin that has people in cryptocurrencies talking. Brady took an equity stake with cryptocurrency firm FTX Trading, and he’ll be an official ambassador of the company.

Ifunanyachi Achara

Nigerian-born soccer player Ifunanyachi Achara moved to Major League Soccer when he signed with Canadian Toronto FC and announced he would take half his salary in Bitcoin, partnering with Bitwage. His main motivation for the move wasn’t to invest, though, but to transfer funds safely. Nigeria has long been plagued by questionable government practices and severe inflation that affect regular banking practices. The need to help his family, who remain in the country without relying on banks, was his reason for taking his salary in Bitcoin.

Lori is a published author, experienced writer, and seasoned entrepreneur. She’s been in online publishing and content creation since the early 2000s. She loves curling up with a good book, cooking for family and friends, and traveling the world in her free time.