An increasing number of athletes have demanded to be paid in cryptocurrency over the customary fiat currencies and some of them have interesting reasons for it.

A 40-year high inflation figure, the ongoing threat of COVID-19 and the economic repercussions of the war between Russia and Ukraine have contributed to the appeal of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Sports stars are no exception.

Russel Okung who was playing for the Carolina Panthers in 2019 demanded he be paid in Bitcoin. He was one of the first-ever athletes in major American sports to be paid in cryptocurrency. Okung converted his $13 million salary into Bitcoin, which at the time was around $27,000.

Why You Should Trade Bitcoin This Year
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In November 2021, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers announced that he preferred to receive his compensation in Bitcoin. At the time, Bitcoin was trading at over $60,000. Now it's trading at around $38,000.

"I believe in Bitcoin & the future is bright. That's why I’m teaming up with Cash App to take a portion of my salary in Btoday" Rodgers said in a tweet with a brief video of himself.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley decided to convert the income from his sponsorship and marketing deals and endorsements, worth approximately $10 million, into Bitcoin with the intention of multiplying that wealth. "You see inflation, you see how high it is right now, and you learn that you can't save yourself to wealth," Barkley noted. "That's why I'm going to be taking my marketing money in Bitcoin," the running back said.

Sean Culkin, Kansas City Chiefs tight end, wanted his salary of $920,000 to be in Bitcoin using the Strike crypto app. "Considering my career — particularly its physical demands and brevity — it makes the most logical sense to be paid in sound money that I believe protects its purchasing power over time," Culkin said in a statement.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. announced in November that his one-year contract with the team, around $425 million with a base salary of $750,000, should be 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," Beckham Jr. tweeted.

Cade Cunningham, the former Oklahoma State star that plays for Detroit Pistons negotiated a deal with crypto lender BlockFi in August 2019 to receive payment of an undisclosed amount of signing bonus and a part of his $46.5 million deal in crypto. "I'm partnering with @BlockFi. Join me in not just buying Bitcoin, but earning it," Cunningham tweeted.

Andre Iguodala is one of the most recent sports stars to receive his salary in crypto. In partnership with the mobile cash service CashApp, the Golden States Warrior player announced he will get some of this salary in Bitcoin. Iguodala also mentioned shelling out $1 million to fans to encourage crypto adoption.

Like Iguodala, Klay Thompson signed a deal with CashApp. The Golden States Warrior superstar took a part of his paycheck in Bitcoin, noting that he believes it is "the future of money." On Twitter, the shooter said in January, "I’m BACK and changing it up: excited to take part of my paycheck in bitcoin thanks to Cash App! I’m with bitcoin because I believe it’s the future of money."

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei "Shotime" Ohtani became one of the global ambassadors of the specialized crypto exchange FTX Trading, and was compensated in cryptocurrency aside from an equity stake in the cryptocurrency platform. head of research Garrick Hileman shared to CNN the reason for this emerging trend among sports star. "With the broadening support for use of cryptocurrencies in payments, it's natural you'd start to see more people saying, 'Well, if I can buy the proverbial cup of coffee now with cryptocurrency, maybe I should get paid in it."