Panthers’ Okung to be first player paid in digital currency

Russell Okung
Russell Okung.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

More than a year and a half after expressing his desire to be paid in Bitcoin, Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Russell Okung is getting his wish.

Okung posted the news Monday on Twitter while quote-tweeting his prior tweet from May 14, 2019.

Strike, a product created by the Jack Mallers-founded Bitcoin startup Zap, announced in a press release that Okung will receive half of his $13 million 2020 base salary in Bitcoin. Strike helps users convert regular money into the cryptocurrency Okung coveted.

Strike said Okung, 32, will become the first NFL player to ever receive part of his salary in a digital currency. Bitcoin has increased in price 273 percent since Okung sent his initial tweet, according to coindesk.com.

Okung, a first-round pick in 2010, is an 11-year NFL veteran and two-time Pro Bowl selection. He is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason.

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