Last Sunday, Golden State Warriors superstar and “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson returned to the basketball court for the first time since injuring his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals. He dropped 17 points in an emotional season debut; however, his biggest score might have taken place the day after the game.
“I’m BACK and changing it up: excited to take part of my paycheck in bitcoin thanks to Cash App!” he tweeted. “I’m with bitcoin because I believe it’s the future of money.”
Thompson and Warriors teammate and Finals MVP Andre Igoudala announced a partnership with Cash App to take a portion of their salaries in Bitcoin (BTC-USD) and to conduct a million-dollar giveaway in bitcoin for fans and followers.
On November 11 of last year, Odell Beckham Jr. signed a contract with the Los Angeles Rams reportedly worth over $4 million. Two weeks later, the star wide receiver announced over Twitter that he was partnering with Cash App to accept the entirety of his new salary in bitcoin .
The 29-year old All-Pro wideout has long been considered one of the league’s most popular players and had the seventh-highest selling jersey in the NFL in 2020.
Paid in crypto
Beckham Jr. is the latest of a bevy of professional athletes and celebrities to get in on the cryptocurrency world. In other football news, 2021 first overall pick Trevor Lawrence signed an endorsement deal with Blockfolio, a crypto investment app, through which he will be paid in part with crypto assets.
Pro-bowl offensive lineman Russell Okung also made headlines in the crypto community after he became the first professional athlete in any major U.S. sport to be paid in bitcoin (through the crypto wallet app Zapp) in December 2020. Okung converted half of his $13 million salary into bitcoin with Zapp.
Back in April, the Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé announced that the team would soon allow all players and staff to accept their salaries in bitcoin.
High-profile athletes like Aaron Rodgers have recently been more vocal about crypto assets, in part due to lucrative endorsement deals. Rodgers, a Super Bowl champion and the NFL’s reigning MVP, also announced at the beginning of last month that he would be partnering with Cash App to accept an undisclosed amount of his salary in Bitcoin. Tom Brady, considered by many to be the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, purchased a stake in the crypto firm FTX (FTT1-USD) earlier this summer.
The rising celebrity involvement in crypto mirrors the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies among the general public. Bitcoin’s historic run in 2021 culminated in the cryptocurrency reaching an all-time high of over $68,000/per coin in early November. In July, a survey conducted by NORC, a research group at the University of Chicago, found that 13% of Americans had traded crypto of some sort in the past year, more than half the percentage that had invested in the stock market.
Crypto volatility has been a consistent concern for potential investors. Bitcoin, the largest of the cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, has catapulted from just under $30,000 per bitcoin at the beginning of the year to over $63,000 in April back to around $30,000 again in July.
So far, 2022 has had the worst start for cryptocurrencies since their inception. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been in a downward spiral as riskier assets as a whole have taken a dive in response to an increasingly hawkish Federal Reserve stance.
Ihsaan Fanusie is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @IFanusie.