LA Rams' Odell Beckham Jr. is Taking His Salary in Crypto

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.

Cryptocurrency just scored a big win in the world of professional sports.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. disclosed on Monday plans to join a handful of professional athletes who are taking their salary in cryptocurrency.

Beckham, 29, announced on Twitter that he would take the entirety of his new contract in Bitcoin.

"It's a NEW ERA & to kick that off I'm hyped to announce that I'm taking my new salary in bitcoin thanks to @CashApp," the NFL megastar tweeted."To ALL MY FANS out there, no matter where u r: THANK YOU! I'm giving back a total of $1M in BTC rn too. Drop your $cashtag w. #OBJBTC & follow @CashApp. NOW"

With Bitcoin's price trending upward, a number of pro athletes could have been doubling down on the cryptocurrency.

In October, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers announced that he was teaming up with Square Inc.'s mobile payment service Cash App to convert a portion of his salary into Bitcoin. Rodgers also said he would be giving out a total of $1 million in tokens to make Bitcoin more accessible to his fans—something Beckham said he would be emulating.

The first NFL player to have his salary paid in Bitcoin was Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Russell Okung. Last December, the 33-year-old Okung agreed to have roughly $6 million of his $13 million salary diverted to mobile payment company Strike to purchase Bitcoin investments.

In April, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Sean Culkin, 28, announced plans to take the entirety of his 2021 base salary – $920,000 – in Bitcoin.

A month later, 21-year-old Trevor Lawrence, the Jacksonville Jaguars No. 1 NFL pick, announced that he would convert his salary to Bitcoin. Lawrence signed a deal with cryptocurrency platform Blockfolio, which will pay him the deal amount in cryptocurrency.

And over the summer, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, 24, announced plans to convert all of his income from marketing deals and endorsements to Bitcoin using payments app Strike.

On Tuesday, the price of Bitcoin hit $57,573.92, according to Coinbase Global Inc., which operates a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

Bitcoin is 16.29% below the all-time high of $68,778.48, recorded on Nov. 5.

The Beckham news comes on the heels of Anschutz Entertainment Group's Nov. 17 announcement to rename the Staples Center to Arena beginning Dec. 25.

AEG, the company that owns and runs Staples Center for the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Sparks and Kings, said the deal is valued at $700 million over 20 years with is a Singapore-based company that provides a cryptocurrency exchange app.

Meanwhile, some athletes may be taking a wait-and-see approach as Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler has begun investigating cryptocurrencies.

The SEC seems to be looking at whether cryptos are a form of currency or a security.

For instance, when crypto exchange Coinbase sought clarification on lending products offered to customers who hold digital assets, the SEC responded with subpoenas for records and issued a warning of impending enforcement action.

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David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

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