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Controversy as Nigerian-American Russell Okung first NFL player reported to be paid in digital currency

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The US papers reported, “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.

Russell Okung kitted up for Carolina Panthers

However, an NFL spokesperson is reported as saying that the reports are “Not accurate,” adding that “his people are converting some of the money into bitcoin” after he gets paid in US dollars, just like every other NFL player.

This means Okung first receives his pay in US dollars before part of it is converted to digital currency according to his agreed arrangement.


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.

Bitcoin is a decentralized, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency system designed to allow online users to process transactions through digital units of exchange called bitcoins (BTC).


Started in 2009 by a mysterious entity named Satoshi Nakamoto, the Bitcoin network has come to dominate and even define the cryptocurrency space, spawning a legion of altcoin followers and representing for many users an alternative to government flat currencies like the U.S. dollar or the euro or pure commodity currencies like gold or silver coins.

Russell Okung is the son of Dorothy Akpabio and Victor Okung, who hail from Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Okung, who graduated in 2009, was a marketing major at Oklahoma State University.


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