The National Basketball Association (NBA) ‘s Sacramento Kings recently made headlines when their owner Vivek Ranadive announced that in the near future, anyone in the organization (players, coaches, and staff) who wishes can get a serving (or all) of theirs Bitcoin Salary. Soon, any Kings player who wants to be paid with Bitcoin will be able to do so with ease, despite the difficulties other professional athletes have had in the past getting paid with Bitcoin.
Pay me in Bitcoin!
Enter Russell Okung, an offensive device used by the Carolina Panthers in the National Football League (NFL), which posted the famous “Pay me in Bitcoin” tweet in May 2019. Okung made headlines in Bitcoin in December 2020 as the first professional athlete in a major US sport. Technically, Okung wasn’t paid directly in bitcoin: he converted half of his $ 13 million salary into bitcoin through a company called Zap. The company owns Strike, the exchange product that enables the switch and also allows individuals to easily convert money from fiat to bitcoin. Soon everyone will be able to get paid with Bitcoin like Okung, as Strike announced early access to this paycheck conversion program. When Okung did this, it set a new precedent for other professional athletes to do the same.
When Okung converted $ 7.5 million of his salary into bitcoin on December 29, 2020, the price of bitcoin was $ 27,318.00. Bitcoin’s price has more than doubled since then, which means it has made a big profit. His total salary, including bitcoin winnings, would make Okung one of the highest-paid offensive tackles in the NFL and one of the 25 highest-paid players!
Not paid directly in Bitcoin
To reiterate, Okung’s salary was not paid directly in Bitcoin. In 2019, NFL quarterback Matt Barkley tried to convince his NFL teams (the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals) to pay for his contract with Bitcoin, but he was unsuccessful in his pursuit as well. It’s hard to be the first to do something. My theory as to why these questions were answered with negative responses in the past is based on the need for the teams to keep Bitcoin on their balance sheets themselves. If you don’t have bitcoin on your balance sheet, how can you use it to pay your employees? As recently as four months ago, it was unrealistic for a company to have Bitcoin on its balance sheet, accept revenue in Bitcoin, or pay its employees directly in Bitcoin, but it’s becoming more common over time.
Companies with Bitcoin on their balance sheets
Bitcoin has had a high rate of institutional adoption lately. When Okung switched to Bitcoin in late 2020, only a handful of companies had Bitcoin on their balance sheets (e.g. MicroStrategy, MassMutual, Galaxy Digital Holdings). Since then, MicroStrategy has hosted a Bitcoin for Corporations event in February 2021 designed to educate companies on how to add Bitcoin to their balance sheets. A total of 6,917 companies took part in the conference.
The notion that companies are using Bitcoin and transacting with Bitcoin is becoming mainstream, which in turn accelerates Bitcoin adoption in the corporate world. In 2021, the first S&P 500 company added Bitcoin to its balance sheet (Tesla). Time magazine announced that it will also keep Bitcoin on its balance sheet and pay for a new crypto video series in Bitcoin. 53 publicly traded companies now have Bitcoin on their balance sheets, according to bitcointreasuries.org.
Bitcoin in the sports world
The Sacramento Kings have long claimed to be one of the most Bitcoin-focused teams in professional sports. In 2014, they are the first team to accept Bitcoin. Several other professional sports franchises are beginning to adopt and accept Bitcoin as a medium of exchange. For example, Oakland Athletics, a major league baseball team, announced in mid-March 2021 that they would be accepting Bitcoin for seasonal suites (that can accommodate up to six people). The team administration decided to accept a single bitcoin for the year-round suites, regardless of how much the bitcoin fluctuates in value. “We’ll keep it. We believe in it and we hope it keeps going up. Maybe with some of the proceeds we can sign some great free agents … who knows?” Said Dave Kaval, the team’s president.
The NBA’s Dallas Mavericks began accepting Bitcoin as payment for playing cards and goods through BitPay in 2019. “We want our fans to want to pay with Bitcoin [to have] the opportunity to do so, ”said the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban. As teams start accepting Bitcoin as revenue and adding it to their balance sheets, the direct payment options will be far more accessible to their players.
The Sacramento Kings allow their players, coaches and staff to be paid in Bitcoin
The Sacramento Kings will be the first major sports franchise to offer a Bitcoin payment option to all players and employees. “I will be announcing in the next few days that I will offer everyone in the Kings organization that they can get as much of their salary in Bitcoin as they want, including the players,” said team owner Vivek Ranadive. This means that any Sacramento Kings player who wants to be paid with Bitcoin can do so directly (without conversion).
The kings can do this in large part because they have been accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment for tickets and goods for 7 years. The price of Bitcoin was under $ 1,000.00 in 2014, which is way below today’s price. If other pioneering athletes like Russell Okung and Matt Barkley continue to require being paid with Bitcoin, other teams will have to buy Bitcoin first and keep it on their balance sheets before they can pay their athletes directly with Bitcoin. Imagine the tax exercise the LA Lakers would have to do on their dollar balance sheet if Lebron James made the same “Pay me in Bitcoin” demand. The concept may not be that far-fetched: we’ve seen the impossible (for Okung) lead to adoption (at least for Sacramento Kings players, staff and coaches) in less than 4 months.
“Life goes pretty fast. If you don’t stop every now and then and look around, you might miss it. “- – Ferris turns blue
The four minute mile
Oken’s groundbreaking history of getting paid in Bitcoin and the recent announcement by the Sacramento Kings that its employees will pay in Bitcoin remind me of Roger Bannister and the 4-minute mile run. Most people know the basic story, but in case you don’t, here’s a refresher: Running a mile under 4 minutes was considered impossible before Roger Bannister accomplished the feat on May 6, 1954. But then, 2 months later, John Landy was the second athlete to run a 4-minute mile. The feat was accomplished from impossible to impossible by two different athletes in 2 months!
Impossible to possible
When the impossible becomes possible, that mental barrier that opposes achievement is suddenly gone. This was true for the 4-minute mile and also for athletes who want to be paid with Bitcoin. From Okung, who had to convert his dollars into Bitcoin 4 months ago, to the Sacramento Kings who announced the direct payment of salaries through Bitcoin, we are watching the future in real time right in front of our eyes.
Take a look where Bitcoin was introduced in the past 4 months, let alone the past 4 years. Bitcoin itself has only been around for 13 years and is already the fastest capital to reach a trillion dollar market cap. If the price of bitcoin rose from $ 1.00 per bitcoin in 2011 to $ 60,000 in 2021, imagine where bitcoin will be introduced in another 10 years. The acceptance takes place in real time. Your choice in terms of Bitcoin will determine which side of the story these teams are on.
This is a guest post by Drew MacMartin. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.