Odell Beckham Jr. Is Feeling Bitcoin’s Current Dip—But Could Have the Last Laugh

Pat Maio
Pat Maio has held various reporting and editorial management positions over the past 25 years, having specialized in business and government reporting. He has held reporting jobs with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Orange County Register, Dow Jones News and other newspapers in Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Odell Beckham Jr. Is Feeling Bitcoin’s Current Dip—But Could Have the Last Laugh

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. may be one game away from the Super Bowl, but he's probably feeling lighter in the wallet than he'd like amid Bitcoin’s ongoing selloff.

If the math is correct, Beckham is heading into this weekend’s NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers likely down a few hundred thousand dollars, on paper, after committing to take his Rams salary in Bitcoin.

After being released by the Cleveland Browns in early November after a rocky two-year stint with the NFL team, the Rams signed the standout receiver to a contract with a $750,000 base salary and an additional $3 million in performance-based incentives.

Yet Beckham’s much-hyped announcement that he would convert his entire salary into Bitcoin arrived just as the cryptocurrency began to tank. When he made the proclamation on Nov. 22, Bitcoin was trading at around $56,000, after reaching as high as $69,000 earlier that month. But since then, the token has been on a steady downward trajectory. Bitcoin was trading at around $36,000 on Thursday, down roughly 35% from its Nov. 22 price.

There are two ways to look at this development from Beckham’s perspective. On the one hand, the money he was paid from his early games with the Rams (NFL players receive game checks per every game played) is now worth considerably less as Bitcoin. Yet on the other hand, the salary that Beckham is now converting into Bitcoin is being invested at a significantly lower price. In other words, Beckham is buying the proverbial dip—and should Bitcoin prices rebound, he could find himself having made a valuable investment.

One Bitcoin expert thinks Beckham shouldn’t be rattled.

“He won’t be thinking about Bitcoin this weekend because he knows a price correction in Bitcoin is almost run of the mill,” said Nik Bhatia, author of “Layered Money” and a Bitcoin expert who teaches on the subject at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. “Bitcoin is incredibly volatile. That is obvious to everyone, but the long-term growth is incredibly stable when you look at it over the longer horizon.”

Beckham could not be reached for comment through his agent, Zeke Sandhu of Elite Athlete Management.

Of the $3 million of incentives in Beckham’s Rams contract, he’s already earned $1.25 million thanks to the Rams’ two NFL playoff wins thus far, according to Spotrac. A win over the 49ers on Sunday would net him another $750,000, while a Super Bowl win would award him $1 million (he’d receive a $500,000 bonus just for appearing in the Big Game).

That means more money to convert into Bitcoin could be on the way for the man known as OBJ—and depending on the cryptocurrency’s future prospects, it could prove either a foolhardy or prescient investment.

Beckham isn’t the only NFL player to be feeling Bitcoin’s current dip. Other players to have received at least a portion of their salary in crypto include Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Russell Okung, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

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