More than 150 million Americans watch sports every year, while the number of sports fans worldwide has to be measured in the billions. Sports figures have a big influence on society, which is why we’re excited to see so many athletes getting involved in crypto.
This article will cover five of the most famous athletes to get involved with blockchain and what they’ve done to move the cryptocurrency industry forward.
Read on to find out which sports stars love crypto!
Russell Okung is an offensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers, and a big fan of Bitcoin. In terms of famous athletes and crypto, in May of 2019 Russell sent one of the most iconic tweets in history: Pay me in Bitcoin. This was followed by another epic tweet in December of 2020, which read: Paid in Bitcoin.
As far as we know, Russell is the first professional athlete to get paid in Bitcoin. Although, to be perfectly honest the full story of his BTC salary isn’t quite as glamorous as it sounds. According to the NFL, Russell isn’t actually getting paid directly in BTC. Rather, he’s receiving his salary in dollars, half of which is automatically turned into Bitcoin via a third-party app.
That’s not quite as cool as getting paid directly in Bitcoin, but maybe true BTC salaries will start happening in the coming years.
In addition to pushing for a Bitcoin salary, Russell also hosted the “Bitcoin Is” conference in 2019. Some of the notable speakers at the conference were Anthony Pompliano, Jimmy Song, Travis Kling, Alex Gladstein and Peter McCormack.
Seven-time Superbowl champion Tom Brady, one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time, also thinks that getting paid in Bitcoin would be pretty damn cool. According to Brady, “Players are going to be paid in cryptocurrency in the future. - I'd love to request to get paid in some crypto and, you know, to get paid in some Bitcoin or Ethereum or Solana tokens.”
Recently Tom Brady, and his wife Gisele Bündchen, signed a partnership deal with the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The deal has Tom Brady serving as a brand ambassador, while Gisele will serve as FTX’s environmental and social-initiatives adviser.
Further signaling his support for Bitcoin, Brady has had a “laser eyes” Twitter profile for months. Apparently, red laser eyes identify Bitcoin supporters, and blue laser eyes are for Ethereum fans.
When most people imagine getting paid in crypto they’re probably thinking about Bitcoin, Ethereum or maybe a dollar stablecoin. Lionel Messi, one of the world’s greatest soccer players, is going down an entirely different road. Lionel has agreed to take a portion of his $130 million dollar salary in PSG fan tokens.
If you’ve been following Real Vision co-founder Raoul Pal in the last six months, you’ll know that he’s incredibly excited about social tokens. Social tokens are created by a DAO, person, company, sports team, restaurant, etc… And are a way for fans and customers to interact with each other and a brand.
Raoul’s favorite example is Disney social tokens, which he claims would help Disney fans to connect with their favorite products, while also giving the Disney company new ways to monetize its brand.
The PSG fan tokens trade on Binance and are a viable currency that also lets fans vote on team decisions, like the message that goes on the captain’s armband.
In addition to receiving a portion of his salary in PSG, Messi has also launched his own NFT collection called “Messiverse.” Lionel Messi is bullish on crypto and it’s awesome that he’s interested in unique ideas like fan tokens and NFTs.
Basketball star Steph Curry is most famous in the crypto community for his support of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. The Bored Apes are a series of 10,000 NFTs, released over the summer, that have become incredibly popular in just a few months. The Apes, which originally sold for less than $1,000, are now trading in the six digits on the NFT marketplace OpenSea:
Steph Curry’s Ape is bright blue with a tweed suit and zombie eyes, and Curry reportedly paid $180,000 for the NFT. Although Steph Curry hasn’t yet asked to be paid in crypto, he has also signed on to become an ambassador for the FTX exchange.
Serena Williams, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, recently announced an investment in the Bitcoin rewards app Lolli. Serena’s husband, Alexis Ohanian, also participated in the $5 million investment round.
Lolli is unique since it allows users to earn Bitcoin on purchases, rather than traditional rewards like gift certificates or airline miles. The app supports more than 1,000 large retailers, including Best Buy, Nike and Microsoft.
In addition to Lolli, Williams also invested in Coinbase in 2019, although she appears to have dropped that investment in 2020.
In Serena’s case, it’s exciting to see an athlete get involved on the VC side, rather than investing only in the coins themselves. The more investments in the ecosystem, the faster crypto can grow and expand its reach across the globe.
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This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.