Russell Okung will become first NFL player to take his paycheck in bitcoin

Noted Bitcoin enthusiast and Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Russell Okung will be the first player from any major sports league to publicly use a new service that converts a traditional paycheck into bitcoin.

According to a Coindesk report, half of Okung's salary — about $6.5 million — will be paid through crypto payment startup Zap's Strike product, which will turn it directly into bitcoin. The arrangement had to receive approval from the NFL and NFL Players Association.

Today's announcement comes more than a year after Okung over a year after he posted a tweet saying that he'd like to be paid in bitcoin. In recent years he has become an outspoken advocate of the cryptocurrency.

A number of other professional athletes, including several unnamed players from the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and New York Yankees baseball team, are also joining the Strike bitcoin payment arrangement, Zap founder Jack Mallers told Coindesk.