Russell Okung’s bitcoin salary may trigger more pro athletes to invest


Russell Okung # 76 of Carolina Panthers

Grant Halverson | Getty Images

It is often referred to as the new form of gold, and now Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Russell Okung is placing massive bets on bitcoin.

After nearly two years of fighting, Okung had finally granted his wish and his salary would be changed to buy bitcoin with the help of mobile payment firm Strike. The National Football League and its players’ union approved the deal whereby the Panthers could give Okung a share of Okung’s $ 13 million salary to convert it into bitcoin.

Okung said in a statement, “Mudra is more than currency; it is power.” “The way money is handled from creation to proliferation is part of that power. Getting paid in bitcoin is the first step to get out of the corrupt, manipulated economy that we all get.”

To be clear, the Panthers are not paying Okung directly in bitcoin. Instead, the team would withdraw $ 6.5 million from Okung’s salary to strike, which would then likely charge a fee and process a bitcoin transaction for Okung, a longtime advocate of the currency.

The strike did not respond to a CNBC request to confirm the transaction fees associated with Okung’s agreement.

Bitcoin is trading at over $ 27,000, so Okung will receive around 240 coins at that price. Since his playing days with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2019, Okung lobbied to change his salary with bitcoin.

“He is hoping for the long term that the price of bitcoin is going up,” Chris Matta, co-founder of Crescent Crypto Asset Management, told CNBC on Tuesday. “And the move is a show of their support and the long-term stability for bitcoin is growing even more from here.”

It’s like gold, but it’s not gold

Bitcoin was introduced in 2008 and produced a fortune for some last year when a single bitcoin rose from $ 1,000 to about $ 20,000. New crypto-based funds quickly gained momentum in the market.

Bitcoin has since gained popularity in Kovid-19 economies as investors remain safe during the epidemic. For decades, gold was a normal safety net for investors, but Matka said that bitcoin is now seen as an option.

Matta called on billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones’ comments to invest more in bitcoin, saying “this is a tough asset especially during Kovid-19 and amid all consumer concerns about the global economy and the geopolitical environment.” Has become extremely attractive. “

“New digital gold, as it is called,” Matka added. “It has brought bitcoin to the forefront of the investment portfolio this year, and has resulted in a ton of interest around it.”

Matka said Okung’s bitcoin would likely be placed in an offline digital wallet known as “cold storage”. This move gives Okung more protection from potential hackers who steal the currency from his account. Bitcoin accounts are not protected like bank accounts, which are FDIC-insured.

“Keeping it offline is a more secure way, especially for someone like Su who is vocal about bitcoin,” said Matka. “Anyone who is outspoken in the bitcoin space is a target for cyber-hacking.”

Russell Okung of the Los Angeles Chargers dropped out of the # 76 field after a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 4, 2018 in Seattle, Washington.

Otto Grell Jr. | Getty Images

Risky move?

But like any investment, the 32-year-old Okung is taking considerable risks.

Drew Hawkins, CEO of financial consulting firm Edyoucore, said the continuing fraudulent activity about bitcoin is a concern and said, “A lot of people need to understand what it is and how it works and what it does Is not.

“There is a risk in terms of whether or not this value of bitcoin will go into their hands with a contracted dollar versus a guarantee to take a chance,” Hawkins said.

Although approaching fresh heights, volatility is still causing Bitcoin to have its correct recovery history, which in 2017 dropped the trading price for a coin to $ 3,000.

On Monday, Mark Newton of Newton Advisors told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” that in his estimates the current cycle of bitcoin “is going out in early January.” He said that till then there may be an opportunity to buy bitcoins at low prices.

“Bitcoin has been a highly volatile asset,” said Matka. “But in the long run, it’s probably the best-performing asset in the last 10 years. But if you don’t know what you’re doing and not investing in this thing, there will be long-term volatility.” -in between.”

Added Hawkins: “People have done well and have made a lot of money from it, but you also have similar situations that are not panicking in the end that someone was apprehensive or something ended up in substantial losses. “

Are more athletes going to bitcoin?

According to bitcoin news site CoinDesk, Strike is coordinating more arrangements with Okung with players from the Brooklyn Nets and New York Yankees. The players included in the site were not named.

Matka said Okung’s move would provide greater credibility for bitcoin, and which could trigger even more athletes to invest in digital currencies. Potential investors can also buy bitcoins through other mobile payment apps including PayPal, Cash App and Square.

“Kovid-19 hyper-charged bitcoin’s growth,” Matka said. “I think it would have happened for bitcoin anyway; it may take a few more years to get to this point.”

– Hugh Son of CNBC contributed to this report.

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