Sean Culkin of Kansas City Chiefs Is Taking Full 2021 Salary in Bitcoin

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In Brief
  • Kansas City Chiefs' TE Sean Culkin has announced a plan to be paid full salary in bitcoin.

  • Culkin reportedly becomes the first NFL start to take his full salary in this way.

  • Culkin is not the only pro athlete to take a portion of their salary in digital currency

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On Monday morning, Sean Culkin made NFL history. Not for any on-field accomplishments but reportedly for being the first NFL athlete to take his full salary in bitcoin (BTC).



Culkin, who is entering his fifth season in the league, inked a reserve/future contract with Kansas City in February which will pay him a base salary of $920,000.  

Culkin stated that he became aware of bitcoin in 2016, but initially had his doubts. It wasn’t until March of last year he began to look at digital currency as a real investment possibility. The Florida native is no stranger to investments as his father was an investor in gold. Culkin then went on to receive a degree in finance from the University of Missouri and is currently getting an MBA at Indiana.  



Sean now looks to take his talents on the field and combine them with his financial skills and investment history to score big. It is a big gamble for the tight-end, betting big on what he calls the gold standard of this generation.  

Sean Culkin going deep with bitcoin

Culkin will be paid as normal by the NFL in bi-weekly payments with U.S. dollars. The currency is then converted into BTC via Zap’s Strike app.

In an April 26 tweet, Culkin said:

“I fully believe bitcoin is the future of finance and I wanted to prove that I have real skin in the game — not just trying to make a quick buck. I will be converting my entire 2021 NFL salary to bitcoin.”

Culkin, not the only athlete paid in BTC

While Culkin is reportedly the first NFL athlete to take his whole salary in cryptocurrency, he isn’t the first to want to be paid, at least partially, in bitcoin. 

In May of 2019, offensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers Russell Okung raised some eyebrows when he tweeted these four words

“Pay me in bitcoin.”

Now, almost two years and millions of dollars later, Okung is being looked at as a pioneer for pro athletes. Thing is, while Culkin makes less than $1 million per season, Okung pulls in $13 million.

Half of that $13 million was converted into BTC last year using the same Strike app, and Okung will ostensibly do the same thing in 2021. 


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Matthew De Saro is a journalist and media personality specializing in sports, gambling, and statistics. Before joining BeInCrypto, his work was featured on Fansided, Forbes, and OutKick. With a background in statistical analysis and a love of writing, he takes an outside-the-box approach to reporting news.

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