Cryptocurrencies have been the new trend ever since Satoshi created Bitcoins – the biggest and most valuable digital currency in the world. Over time, multiple digital currencies have been created, with a few gaining global recognition and value while others are still struggling to find their footing. Sports (athletes and organizations) have played a huge role in helping cryptocurrency gain recognition, and in doing so, they have also become crypto holders and have amassed a lot of wealth along the way.
Call it saving for the rainy day or just plain old wealth gathering, these pro athletes have in some way or the other put their resources into the acquisition of these digital currencies while some have even preferred that their wages and endorsement deals be paid in crypto. In no particular order, we would be listing a few current and former athletes who have invested in cryptocurrency and others who have opted to collect their wages and/or endorsement deals in digital money.
Why Sports People Are Drawn To Cryptocurrency As Investments
Pro-athletes who receive huge payments for their work are constantly looking for avenues through which they can make investments and secure their life after sports. Tech, among other areas, provides this avenue. As they already have a lot of capital lying around, they are not worried to invest the same in investments that they believe will skyrocket in the future.
From purchasing cryptocurrencies as investments to supporting companies and start-ups innovating on tech like Blockchain, athletes are always there to be found around such ideas and have become some of the world’s most prolific tech investors. Below is a list of 5 top pro-athletes who are crypto investors.
1. Serena Williams
Serena Williams needs no prologue. Having conquered everything from Arthur Ashe in Australia to the Roland Garros in France, the tennis star is one of the most prosperous players in the history of the sport. She is also one of the initial investors in Coinbase, a leading Cryptocurrency Exchange. She puts together all her investments through her Serena Ventures Fund.
2. Floyd Mayweather
Not only has Floyd Mayweather dominated boxing to become one of the highest-earning sportsmen ever, but he has also dominated record investments into cryptocurrency and related projects. Not scared of displaying his wealth online, Mayweather has been productive in backing the Stox Platform. Mayweather is also involved with the Centra Tech Project. Mayweather has also publicly spoken in favor of crypto many times.
3. Lionel Messi
Viewed as one of the greatest to have ever played the game, Leo Messi is an out-and-out star. What numerous people do not know is that the maestro is as timely on his investments as he is around defenders. Sirin Labs, a leading company working with Blockchain to enhance smartphone security and process payments, saw Messi lead investments. It is estimated that Messi also has involvement in other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
4. Matt Barkley
One of the biggest quarterbacks currently in the NFL, Matt Barkley has made quite a reputation for himself both on and off the pitch. The Buffalo Bills Quarterback created quite an uproar when he asked his club to pay his wages in Bitcoin. The club readily offered him the wages in Bitcoins. This triggered many other NFL players to start asking for the same from their clubs. The trend of trading online is gradually but surely thriving in the NFL.
5. Nikita Kucherov
Nikita Kucherov is a leading star of the National Hockey League or NHL. Kucherov is also the brand ambassador for the sports token platform, TokenStars. He plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is seriously into cryptocurrencies and is reckoned to own quite a handful of Bitcoins among other cryptocurrencies. He is also one of the earliest adopters of crypto in the sports fraternity.
Apart from the five major names cited in this article, others like Manny Pacquiao, Luis Suarez, Spencer Dinwiddie, etc. are also believers of cryptocurrencies. Virtually all of them have acquired, financed, or supported companies committing and researching new technologies like Crypto and Blockchain. The fast-paced nature of growth is something that they relate to their performances on sporting fields.
Athletes Paid in Crypto
Below are a couple of people in sports who have in one way had their wages paid to them in one form of cryptocurrency or another.
1. Russell Okung
On December 29, 2020, Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Russell Okung became the very first professional athlete to accept any part of his salary in cryptocurrency. Okung agreed with the Panthers to receive half of his $13 million contract in Bitcoin. Since then, we have seen a collection of other athletes follow suit.
2. Cade Cunningham
Rookie NBA guard Cade Cunningham was number 1 in the all-around pick in the 2021 draft. Although he didn’t take any of his salary in crypto, he did on the endorsement side of stuff. After penning his multi-year sponsorship deal with BlockFi, he decided to take the revealed bonus in cryptos (Bitcoin).
3. Aaron Rodgers
The star quarterback for the Green Bay Packers declared on November 1, 2021, that he would receive some of his salary in Bitcoin. “I believe in Bitcoin & the future is bright. That’s why I’m teaming up with Cash App to take a portion of my salary in bitcoin today. To make Bitcoin more accessible to my fans I’m giving out a total of $1M in BTC now too.”
The deal was brokered by Square, which also owns Cash App.
4. Saquon Barkley
Giant’s RB Saquon Barkley made a lot of rounds in the news when he said on the Best Business Show that all of his future endorsement deals would be paid in Bitcoin. It was noted that Saquon Barkley will be accepting $10 million worth of endorsement money via Bitcoin in the short term.
5. Sean Culkin
Kansas Chiefs Tight End Sean Culkin made history when he came to be the first professional athlete to have his entire salary paid in Bitcoin. His $950,000 salary correlated to about 17 Bitcoin when he said this.
6. Trevor Lawrence
We guess there is something about being a number 1 overall draft pick and accepting Crypto as a payment. Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence partnered with Blockfolio and announced he would be placing most of his rookie contract signing bonus into crypto.
7. Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell is one of the latest NFL stars to announce that he is involved in crypto. The athlete revealed that he is in a partnership with Cash App which will allow him to take his entire salary in Bitcoin.
Currently, 1 NBA and 6 NFL players are receiving crypto as a payment – Bitcoin. We expect that to shift rapidly rather than later, particularly for high-net-worth individuals. Various pro teams comprising the Dallas Mavericks and Oakland Athletics are already accepting ticket payments in Bitcoin; however, let’s see how quickly other sports stadiums would embrace this development.