- The NFL and the Carolina Panthers denied stories that part of Russell Okung’s salary was paid in Bitcoin.
- Okung tweeted “Paid in Bitcoin” on Tuesday, fueling rumors of the $6.5M Bitcoin payment made by the Panthers.
- Okung is in the final year of a four-year $53M deal which he signed in 2017 and will be a free agent in 2021.
The news spread like wildfire.
An NFL first: #Panthers OT Russell Okung will receive half of his $13M in salary in Bitcoin. As part of a partnership with @in_strike and thanks to creative payroll solutions from the #Panthers, @russellokung will fulfill the goal he set when he tweeted “Pay me in Bitcoin!”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 29, 2020
After the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reported that the Carolina Panthers paid Russell Okung’s salary in bitcoin, it was all over the headlines and the internet.
But while it could be true that Okung is finally getting his hands on bitcoin, he isn’t getting the cryptocurrency directly from the Panthers, or the NFL for that matter.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a virtual currency which is known as cryptocurrency. It was created in 2009 after the housing market crash by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. It is operated by a decentralized authority, unlike government-issued currencies. Despite not being legal tender, it charts high on popularity and is accepted as mode of payment for goods and services. Bitcoin is even accepted at the top online betting sites for online wagering.
As for Russell Okung, he stated in 2019 about his desire to get paid in the form of the popular cryptocurrency:
Pay me in Bitcoin.
— russ (@RussellOkung) May 14, 2019
Since then, he hasn’t been shy about his fondness for Bitcoin:
Some are in Bitcoin to be another version of Wall Street, I’m in it for radical sovereignty.
— russ (@RussellOkung) September 25, 2020
So many purchase Bitcoin to become cash rich, I bought it to be free from cash.
— russ (@RussellOkung) December 28, 2020
But after tweeting that he got paid in cryptocurrency on Tuesday, he set the internet on fire:
Paid in Bitcoin. https://t.co/Ey6oOcmLjA
— russ (@RussellOkung) December 29, 2020
Apparently, Okung did not mean it literally. Or maybe he was just trying to advertise Zap’s Strike product which is capable of converting traditional paychecks to Bitcoin. According to a report from Coindesk, Zap founder Jack Mallers (who calls Okung a friend), 50% of Okung’s salary will be converted to Bitcoin using the latter’s Lightning Network.
Technically speaking, Okung will be paid in US Dollars. But according to the Coindesk report, the Panthers will deposit $6.5M of his salary to Strike, which can be accessed by banks via a routing number. Strike in turn, will convert the received amount to bitcoin, which will be sent to a cold wallet storage owned by Okung.
Okung has tweeted about bitcoin at least 14 times on Tuesday and it appears to be that he’s just repping up cryptocurrency and Strike online, using his platform. As for the Carolina Panthers and the NFL, there’s no truth to the rumor that the world’s top American Football league is into those transactions. What sure though is that the Panthers foiled the Washington Football Team’s first chance to clinch the NFC East and a playoff spot.
One Final December Lesson
“As we build this house, and make it a home, we’re going to be one to reckon with.”https://t.co/B1lEbhK5YI
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) December 28, 2020
The 5-10 Carolina Panthers had nothing to play for in the recent weeks and they have nothing to play for when they take on the New Orleans Saints in their season finale. But just like last week against Washington, the Panthers look to play the spoilers role as they try to deny the Saints’ bid for the top spot in the NFC playoffs. But more than just being spoilers, head coach Matt Rhule wants them to be at their best for one final December lesson.
This has been a disappointing season for Carolina who signed Terry Bridgewater to a 3-year $63M deal after going 5-0 as starter for the New Orleans Saints when Drew Brees got hurt. It didn’t help that Christian McCaffrey who missed six games early in the season due to a high ankle sprain and went out in Week 9 with an AC shoulder joint separation. With the playoffs out of the issue, the goal is to win games and build for the future. And for Matt Rhule, that means closing out the season on a high note.
The Panthers head to their final regular season game as +6.5 point underdogs to the Saints at BetOnline.ag. They are also +245 betting underdogs at the moneyline odds. No question that the Saints will be at their best trying to clinch the first round bye. But just as we’ve seen in recent weeks with the Jets,Bengals, and even the 49ers if you want to include them, upsets aren’t unusual in 2020. Wanna bet? If you have, you can try betting with bitcoin.