Two American football players have become the most recent professional athletes who want to have their contracts paid in Bitcoin.
Crypto Twitter lit up when Morgan Creek Digital co-founder Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano revealed that NFL quarterback Matt Barkley had asked two of his previous teams to pay his contract in Bitcoin.
Both teams – the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals – declined his requests.
NFL Quarterback @MattBarkley tried to get the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals to each pay his contracts in Bitcoin.
Neither would do it.
Matt is just one of many Bitcoiners that are playing in the NFL on Sundays ????????
— Pomp ???? (@APompliano) May 14, 2019
There is no word on whether his current team, the Buffalo Bills, has honored his request.
Fellow NFL player Russell Okung has also joined Barkley on the Bitcoin bandwagon.
Okung, an offensive tackle for the Los Angeles Chargers, made his payment preference crystal clear when he tweeted “Pay me in Bitcoin” just a few days ago.
Pay me in Bitcoin.
— Russell Okung ???????? (@RussellOkung) May 14, 2019
A search through both men’s Twitter feeds reveals a history of pro-crypto commentary.
Plenty of interest from athletes
Barkley and Okung are not alone in their embrace of cryptocurrency as a number of athletes have jumped into the crypto ecosystem over the last couple of years.
Future Hall of Famer and current cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers Richard Sherman is also into cryptocurrency.
Sherman accepted cryptocurrency payments for merchandise on his website and is also the spokesman for crypto exchange COBINHOOD.
Canadian speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen signed a sponsorship deal last year with ONG Social and CEEK VR that was payable in both cash and cryptocurrency.
Bloemen won gold in the Men’s 10000m and silver in the Men’s 5000m at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The deal marked the first-ever cryptocurrency sponsorship of an athlete.
James Rodríguez, a midfielder for German football club Bayern Munich, launched his own cryptocurrency, the JR10, in June of last year.
The coin sold out in 12 seconds during its pre-launch, raising US$500,000 (AU$723,325).
The JR10 launched on the SelfSell platform, but the platform has been silent on social media for several months.
But not everyone loves crypto
Despite athletes’ growing interest in cryptocurrency, not everyone’s experience has been positive.
Retired NFL player Darren McFadden saw his opportunity for a Bitcoin fortune go up in smoke due to the fraudulent actions of his former business manager.
McFadden invested $3 million into a Bitcoin venture when the cryptocurrency was trading for just $800.
When the price hit its all-time high of nearly $20,000 in late 2017, McFadden went to check on his investment, only to learn that his business manager had used the money to fund his own lavish lifestyle.
If McFadden had cashed out during the frenzy in mid-December 2017, his $3 million investment would have earned him approximately $237 million.
Retired professional baseball player Jose Canseco is another example of an athlete whose love affair with Bitcoin has soured.
Throughout 2016 and much of 2017 Canseco appeared to champion Bitcoin, referring to the Q4 2017 runup as “the end of the beginning” for crypto and predicting “Bitcoin at $10k by New Years’ Eve.”
By December 2017, Canseco had inexplicably changed his tune, claiming that “Bitcoin is mathematically structured so a lot of people lose money and a small group will make a killing.”
Canseco’s negative view of Bitcoin appears to be continuing unabated since, as recently as February, he was seen erroneously warning his followers on Twitter that it “has the same structure as any pyramid scheme but controlled by one individual.”