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Bitcoin and the NFL: Have You Heard the One About the Football Star Who Insists on Being Paid in Cryptocurrency?

By now most people on the planet have heard of cryptocurrency and in particular Bitcoin. What is perhaps less known is that an NFL player has requested that his entire salary be converted to Bitcoin. The player’s name is Sean Culkin, a tight-end who is trying to win his place on the Chiefs roster for the 2021 season as a back-up behind Pro Bowler Travis Kelce, however just two weeks ago, was waived by the Chiefs and is seeking a new NFL home.

Culkin’s expected salary for the 2021 season is around $920,000 US, and Culkin spoke to about why this is his wish when it comes to his salary:

“I’ve always had a lot of interest in and a passion for finance and economics from my days at Mizzou,” Culkin said. “Even before that, my dad was big, really bullish on gold. Early on, I was always exposed to his philosophies on what made gold an intractable investment looking at it from a macro perspective. There’s a lot of overlap between gold and Bitcoin. I really spent all of my time in the offseason the past year just hearing about this growing space in crypto. It just seemed like it was getting bigger and bigger.

“Through education and learning and having a level of conviction over the course of time, I just felt like I wanted to be compensated from my services in football in Bitcoin.”

The 27-year-old tight end only joined the Chiefs in February and is currently on a reserve/future contract, despite only playing 19 games so far in his NFL career for the LA Chargers and the Baltimore Ravens. It might seem like a flash in the pan, but Culkin is not the first NFL player to think along the cryptocurrency lines.

Russell Okung, an offensive lineman, stated that he wanted half of his salary from the Carolina Panthers to be converted to Bitcoin. While Trevor Lawrence, the No.1 pick in this year’s draft, currently has an endorsement deal with Blockfolio, an investment app for crypto with his signing bonus said to be converted into cryptocurrency. Culkin was asked why he wanted to go against the grain and convert his salary into crypto:

“I want to do this with the thought it would continue to rise over the long term,” he said. “This for me is a long-term play, a generational play. The more research I did and the more I zoomed out, I didn’t necessarily link volatility to risk. I saw Bitcoin was growing at such an exponential rate.

“It’s going to have some large pullbacks and dips and people are probably going to say I’m crazy, but I’m focusing on the long term. Long term, it’s a stored value. What makes Bitcoin so intractable is its scarcity. Over time, it’s deflationary by nature. If you look at history, it appreciates over time.”

While now it seems a bit of a left-field move, Bitcoin for the moment does not seem to be going anywhere. While players like Culkin and Okung are the first players to express their desire to change their salary, should Bitcoin continue to increase in value as it has over the last few years, then many expect many more players to follow suit. You can check this website to view more on Sean Culkin and his willingness to get into the crypto game.

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Mark Perry, a devoted sports journalist and founder of XFL News Hub, has been a key figure in XFL coverage since its 2018 revival. Launching XFL News Hub soon after the league's return announcement, Mark has established the platform as a primary source for comprehensive XFL updates. Renowned for his in-depth knowledge and commitment to sports journalism, Mark actively engages the XFL community, welcoming interactions at

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