In a year of change and adaptation in the professional sports world, 2020 ends with a bit of news that might become the norm in the near future. Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Russell Okung will become the first player in any major U.S. sports league to get part of his salary in Bitcoin. He will be paid $13 million for the 2020 season, and half of it comes in the form of Bitcoin.

Okung has been vocal about his desire to be paid in Bitcoin. In May of 2019, he sent out a tweet that simply said “pay me in bitcoin.” Since then, he’s formed a partnership with Strike, a digital coin app that allows paychecks to be converted into cryptocurrency, and it all came together Tuesday as the story broke of how the Panthers got creative in their finance department to grant Okung’s wishes.

Okung is certainly an advocate of Strike and is encouraging others to follow his lead, tweeting out a message from Strike that says, “Get your paycheck in bitcoin. Put your money to work. Convert any percentage of your paycheck into bitcoin with Strike.”

On the field, Okung has had a less than stellar season, playing in just 42% of the Panther’s offensive snaps. He’s set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and it’s doubtful that Carolina will bring him back. It will be interesting to see if his new team agrees to what Okung hopes is the beginning of a new trend.  

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