Brady joins Okung and Culkin as the latest NFL star to get paid in Bitcoin.
NFL players are increasingly investing in cryptocurrencies to hedge against inflation and grow their wealth.
Legendary quarterback Tom Brady — who is already worth an eye-watering $250 million
— is the latest football megastar to publicly support Bitcoin.
Brady initially showed his support for cryptocurrencies in May this year when he uploaded
a laser-eyed picture to his Twitter profile — an insider joke in the Crypto Twitterverse. He joined the likes of Elon Musk, Paris Hilton and the Winklevoss twins by publicly supporting Bitcoin in this very niche way.
During an interview with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, Brady revealed
he’s a “big believer” in cryptocurrencies. He continued, “I don’t think it’s going anywhere…It’s definitely something I’m going to be in for a long time.”
Brady expanded on his views during a more recent interview with CoinDesk
, saying that “the world is changing, we all just have to understand it’s constant change and you can either be ahead of the curve or behind it and I’m choosing to be ahead of it.”
Continuing his foray into crypto, Brady recently expressed
the desire for a percentage of his $50 million salary to be paid in Bitcoin over the coming two seasons. On the SiriusXM podcast
, he stated, “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.”
The revered Buccaneers quarterback isn’t limiting himself to directly investing in crypto. Alongside tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Richard Rosenblatt, Brady co-chairs the NFT platform Autograph
The Autograph platform displays and sells sports-related NFTs from a number of the world’s most accomplished sporting personalities. Examples include golfing legend Tiger Woods
, tennis superstar Naomi Osaka
, as well as the world’s most accomplished gymnast, Simone Biles
. Even the semi-retired skateboarding icon Tony Hawk
is in on the action. Of course, Brady
himself also has several NFTs available.
In yet another crypto venture, Brady starred
in an advert
for the crypto derivatives exchange FTX
, alongside his wife — the model, activist and businesswoman Gisele Bündchen. The pair will receive equity stakes in FTX in exchange for promoting the platform as brand ambassadors. Steph Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, is also an ambassador for FTX with an equity stake.
Brady’s fellow Buccaneer Ron Gronkowski (Gronk) recently launched an NFT card collection
, bringing in more than $1.6 million in revenue. The NFT collection included four distinctive cards linked to Gronk’s Super Bowl wins, each digitally signed by the man himself.
Brady and Gronkowski aren’t the only NFL players to grab headlines by venturing into crypto. Russell Okung, who made the 2014 Super Bowl winning offensive tackle, is among the NFL’s most vocal Bitcoin supporters.
After being traded to the Panthers, Okung requested 50% of his $13 million salary
be paid in Bitcoin, which he announced on Twitter
. In late 2020, Okung confirmed
the Panthers had agreed to his terms, and he became the first football player in NFL history to have a portion of his contract in Bitcoin.
Okung’s investment received a great deal of support on social media. Writer and entrepreneur Jason Williams tweeted
, “while y’all playing football @russellokung
is playing chess.”
Explaining his thought process, Okung said
, “money is more than currency; it’s power… The way money is handled from creation to dissemination is part of that power. Getting paid in bitcoin is the first step of opting out of the corrupt, manipulated economy we all inhabit.”
Since his release from the Panthers, Okung has played a key role in a growing movement of sports personalities supporting a global move away from fiat currencies. In Okung's own words
, “when we are all paid in bitcoin, no one can tell us what to do with the value we create … In a post-fiat world, you won’t have to worry about your labor and time being stolen.”
Sean Culkin, who has played for the Chiefs, the Ravens, and the Chargers, announced in April this year that he wanted to convert 100% of his annual salary into Bitcoin.
, “I fully believe Bitcoin is the future of finance and I wanted to prove that I have real skin in the game – not just trying to make a quick buck. I will be converting my entire 2021 NFL salary to #Bitcoin.”
Sadly, Culkin was dropped
from the Chief’s first team less than a month after signing a reserve/ future contract before earning a penny. Had he been offered a full contract, Culkin would have become the first NFL player to convert his entire salary into Bitcoin.
A few NFL players have converted their supplementary income into Bitcoin rather than risking their principal salaries like Okung and Culkin. In July 2021, the New York Giant’s running back Saquon Barkley disclosed
his plans to convert his marketing and endorsement income into Bitcoin using Strike
, the payments app.
During an appearance on The Best Business Show
, Barkley stated, “we’re seeing inflation and we’re learning you can’t save wealth. That’s why I am going to be taking my marketing money in bitcoin.” Barkley has marketing deals and endorsements with Nike, Toyota and Pepsi worth an estimated $10 million.
Commentators guessed Barkley’s interest in Bitcoin might have peaked after an ACL tear caused him to miss most of the 2020 season. When queried, Barkley responded
, “when you sit out of football for a whole year, you realize that this game could be taken away from you.”
Younger NFL players are also exploring cryptocurrencies as an avenue to grow their wealth. The prodigal Jaguars NFL quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was first picked in the 2021 NFL Draft, recently signed a multi-year deal with Blockfolio
, a global crypto investment app.
The Jaguars will pay a significant chunk of Lawrence’s signing bonus, made up of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Solana, directly into his Blockfolio account.
Most media coverage of the NFL and cryptocurrencies has involved individual players investing their salary, bonuses or supplementary income to grow their wealth. But national sports franchises, like the New York Giants
, are starting to explore large scale crypto solutions.
In May this year, the Giants announced
a sponsorship deal with Grayscale Investments, the world’s largest cryptocurrency asset manager. Explaining the partnership, the Giants chief commercial officer Pete Guelli said Greyscale will “guide us in navigating the cryptocurrency ecosystem.”
In addition to sponsoring the team’s training camps and home games, Grayscale will also be the team’s official cryptocurrency asset management partner and host crypto seminars for the Giants staff every year.
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