NFL Player Okung Reaping Benefits Of Bitcoin
NFL Player Okung: People nowadays look for something that can easily make them money. Well, let us tell you that something that is not hard will not provide you benefit
When thinking about a list of history-making National Football League players, Russell Okung probably isn’t going to be the first name that comes to mind. Or the second. Or the 10th, Or the 100th. Or at all, for that matter. It’s a certainty that none of the best sportsbooks in Vegas would offer odds on Okung’s inclusion on such a list.
|“Russel Okung” by Carolina Panthers is licensed under CC BY 3.0|
Yet Okung is definitely an NFL mover and shaker, setting the stage for perhaps what will one day be considered a trend-setting development in the history of professional sports. During the 2020 NFL season, Okung, an offensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers, requested that half of his salary be paid in Bitcoin. He’s the first player in league history to make such a request.
On the football field, Okung definitely has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments. In college while playing for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, he was a two-time All-Big 12 Conference and All-American selection (2008, 2009) and the 2009 Big 12 Conference Offensive lineman of the Year.In 2009, Okung also won the Jim Parker Trophy as the top offensive lineman in NCAA football. Majoring in marketing at OSU, he graduated with his degree in 2009.
Okung was selected sixth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. During his NFL career, he’s played for the Seahawks (2010-15), Denver Broncos (2016), Los Angeles Chargers (2017-19) and Panthers, the team to which he made his Bitcoin payment request for the final year of a four-year, $53-million contract he originally signed with the Chargers in 2017. He previously had made this request of the Chargers in 2019 and it was turned down by the team. The Chargers traded Okung to Carolina on March 18, 2020.
The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Okung, from Houston, Texas, started for the Seahawks at left tackle in Super Bowl XLVIII as Seattle drubbed the Broncos 43-8. That was the largest margin of victory ever recorded by an underdog in Super Bowl history.
Requesting half his salary in Bitcoin wasn’t a decision that Okung made without thoughtful consideration. In fact, he’s been an advocate for cryptocurrency long before ever making this fateful decision that absolutely created waves of interest across the sporting landscape. Okung even penned a first-person column for the cryptocurrency website Coindesk.com entitled What Bitcoin Means for Athletes Like Me that outlined the reasons behind his choice to invest his future in Bitcoin.
“I’ve recently become the “Bitcoin guy” in the locker room, complete with both ridicule and intrigue,” Okung wrote. “My teammates are understandably curious about why I’m suddenly so into this “magic internet money” called Bitcoin. The truth is, long before I tweeted “Pay Me in Bitcoin,” I’d become increasingly exhausted by constant struggle, endless conflict and the frequent absence of hope.
“These days, I’m more interested in finding a solution that can be immediately implemented without first gaining permission, or proving my abilities (again), or articulating the worthiness of my peers to skeptics. As leaders, we have so much more to offer society than a few hours of weekly entertainment. I am hungry for long term, sustainable solutions that can demonstrate that our economic power is not only real, but vastly undervalued and overlooked.
|“Russel Okung” by Tim Ireland/AP is licensed under CC BY 3.0|
“Professional athletes committed themselves to becoming elite workers in their industry, investing significant human capital to earn their place in society. Bitcoin offers a way to protect that hard-earned capital from the whims of central bankers who keep printing more money to bail out their friends on Wall Street.”
“It is time for us to embrace our economic sovereignty by allocating at least 5% of our wealth into Bitcoin.”
How It Works
In reality, the Panthers aren’t actually paying Okung in Bitcoin. Technically, he’s still being paid all of his salary in fiat currency – the government-issued funds that the world has operated on for centuries. Here’s how the process of turning Okung’s cash is Bitcoin is working:
The Panthers partnered with the Bitcoin platform Zap, the startup founded by Jack Mallers. Zap’s Strike product enables traditional paychecks to be converted into BTC in a matter of seconds. The team deposited half of Okung’s $13 million stipend into Zap’s Strike transfer portal. It was converted into Bitcoins and then the funds were transferred back into a Bitcoin wallet held by Okung.
The Future Of Athlete Contracts?
Mallers indicated in an interview with Coindesk.com that Bitcoin salary payments had already gained the approval of both the NFL and NBA Players Associations. He also allowed that unnamed members of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and MLB’s New York Yankees have also begun onboarding to the Strike program.
Barcelona and Argentina soccer star Lionel Messi, Tampa Bay Lightning hockey forward Nikita Kucherov and multiple world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather are other prominent athletes who are known to have made significant investment in Bitcoin.
Among the advantages for athletes in converting their salaries into Bitcoin is that it gives them more personal control over their wealth. It allows them to cut out intermediaries that were necessary in the past to help with financial matters, such as player agents and business managers. By investing in Bitcoin, it can also permit them to avoid paying as much income tax on their earnings, since the capital gains taxation on Bitcoin is lower than the rate for fiat money in many jurisdictions.
The privacy and security offered by cryptocurrency transactions is another benefit that athletes are bound to find to be attractive. Predatory fraudsters have often sought out athletes in the past to get them to invest in their get-rich quick schemes.
As people who recognize their massive earning power will evaporate the moment that they are unable to perform at an elite level on the playing field, pro athletes are always searching for wise and safe investment opportunities that will grow their earning power and provide a nest egg for when their playing days are done.
Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency look to be a stellar option from them to pursue. It’s one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world of financial technology.
The move appears to be paying off quickly for Okung. At the time of his investment, Bitcoin was trading at around $27,000. It’s currently listed at $38,725.46. That’s a 30.27% increase.
In a matter of months, Okung has turned his $6.5 million into $8.46 million. Even after Bitcoin tumbled from a recent high of $61,000, Okung wasn’t relenting in his belief that cryptocurrency is the future.
“Y’all don’t get it, Okung posted on Twitter. “I am not selling my Bitcoin ever.”