Carolina Panthers Russell Okung is raking in the big bucks through Bitcoin. The offensive tackle is now one of the 30 highest-paid players in the NFL after his initial cryptocurrency investment skyrocketed to $21 million, according to Huddle Up founder Joe Pompliano.  

Okung is the first NFL player to receive compensation through Bitcoin, an up-and-coming popular cryptocurrency where users from around the world can buy, sell and exchange money in the form of digital coins, Forbes reported. Bitcoin is not regulated by banks or the federal government since it is decentralized and void of third-party oversight.  

In May 2019, the Panthers player requested that he be paid his annual salary in Bitcoin.

Simply put, he demanded, "pay me in Bitcoin."

In December 2020, Okung’s wish became the NFL’s command as $6.5 million of his $13 million contract was slated to be paid out via a Bitcoin fund, sending the world in a frenzy. 

Two months later, Okung took to Twitter following the robust growth of Bitcoin within a single week. 

The NFL revealed in February that players’ salaries will be capped at $180 million for the 2021 season.  

This week alone, the value of Bitcoin peaked around $61,000 per coin, compared to $27,000 back in December when Okung’s amended contract was announced.

According to, Okung's earnings are sent via direct deposit to Strike, a service developed by Zap, where his payments are then converted into cryptocurrency from USD.

Russell Okung's devotion to the digital currency has not gone unnoticed, as the 32-year old even placed #Bitcoin in his Twitter bio. He frequently takes to the app to express how Bitcoin is a force to be reckoned with and can reorient the world's financial infrastructure. 

"Build generational wealth," Okung recently tweeted, possibly alluding to the economic powerhouse that Bitcoin is becoming.

Bitcoin has become extremely popular since its inception in 2008 and is often considered a "new form of gold."

Okung shared how Bitcoin can assist in achieving financial freedom and is encouraging others to invest. 

“Money is more than currency; it’s power,” Okung said in a statement. “The way money is handled from creation to dissemination is part of that power. Getting paid in bitcoin is the first step of opting out of the corrupt, manipulated economy we all inhabit.”