The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) has announced that players now have the option to be paid in Bitcoin.
The announcement from the CEBL marks the first time that a North American professional sports league to off Bitcoin as an option for salary payments. The news comes after the league recently partnered with Bitbuy, a well-known Canadian cryptocurrency platform. By utilizing the said platform, the CEBL will have the ability to pay players a portion of their salaries in bitcoin.
The league is small, with its third season beginning June 24, but the fact remains they are the first to offer this to players. Players signed to CEBL teams will be able to opt-in and be paid a part of their salary in bitcoin after being converted from Canadian dollars by Bitbuy.
Bestbuy’s Vice President of marketing, Charlie Aikenhead, expressed the company’s enthusiasm for the project. “We’re proud to support home grown Canadian sports, and to partner with the league on this first to the market initiative.” Aikenhead adds that Bitbuy wants to help athletes think about compensation and how to protect their long-term wealth via cryptocurrency.
In the press release by the CEBL, Commissioner and CEO Mike Morreale added that “Our partnership with Bitbuy speaks to our commitment to players, and also to our forward-thinking approach to how we go about our business.” Morreale also claims that his league has some of the best players not signed to NBA contracts who chose the CEBL because of their player-first approach
More athletes want to be paid in crypto
According to the CEBL, the move was inspired by the players themselves who requested that league management looks into crypto payments. Players began voicing their wishes after the NFL’s Russell Okung became the first pro player in North America to be paid in bitcoin.
Kimbal Mackenzie, a guard for the CEBL’s Guelph Nighthawks and 2020 sportsmanship award winner, stated that he would be one of the initial group of players to opt-in to the bitcoin program. Mackenzie believes that cryptocurrency is the future and is excited about the new program to begin.
“The ability to have part of my salary go directly into an investment that I believe will appreciate greatly over the next 10-30 years is a no-brainer,” the former Bucknell stand out stated. Mackenzie goes on to state that he has had multiple conversations with numerous players in the league about cryptocurrencies before the official announcement.