Panthers, NFL shoot down report that Russell Okung is getting half his $13M salary paid in bitcoins

Chris Cwik
·2-min read

Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Russell Okung believes in bitcoin. In May, Okung tweeted he wanted to be paid in bitcoins. Now, he’s trying to make it happen, though not through any help from the Panthers.

On Tuesday, it was reported that half of Okung’s $13 million salary will be paid in bitcoins, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Okung himself even appeared to confirm the news, tweeting he had been “paid in Bitcoin.” The idea apparently means so much to him that he pinned the tweet to his timeline with the Twitter bio “life, liberty, and #bitcoin.”

The idea of a professional football player getting paid in Bitcoin would be an interesting wrinkle in the rise of cryptocurrency in America. However, it appears to be untrue.

Both the NFL and the Panthers told Sean Hollister of The Verge that Okung is receiving his entire salary in U.S. dollars just like every other player, and that “his people are converting some of the money into bitcoin.” So Okung is being paid in Bitcoin in the same sense that I'm paid in pizza a few times a month.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a virtual currency, known as a cryptocurrency. It can be used to purchase goods and services, though it’s not accepted by every retailer. Some countries have banned Bitcoin, according to the BBC.

That’s the simplest explanation of the currency. A more in-depth explanation includes terms like “blockchain” — which records transactions — and “mining” — which is a way to acquire bitcoins.

Whether Okung sets a trend remains to be seen. Some athletes, like Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie, believe Bitcoin is the future. Many others are perfectly fine just taking traditional money.

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