Kansas City Chiefs tight end Sean Culkin announced today that the fifth-year player will earn 100 percent of his 2021 salary in bitcoin. The Chiefs will pay his salary in U.S. Dollars, which will automatically be converted on a weekly basis to bitcoin.
“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. “From a macro standpoint, I believe we are in the beginning stage of Bitcoin’s shift away from being extremely speculative, to a legitimate asset class viewed as a store of value.”
Offensive tackle Russell Okung was the first NFL player to convert part of his salary to bitcoin, exchanging half of his 2020 salary to the digital currency in December 2020. Culkin will be the first to earn his entire salary in bitcoin; his $920,000 base salary will be paid by the Chiefs in weekly U.S. Dollar installments and converted instantly to bitcoin via Strike by Zap, an application that allows users to make bitcoin payments via bank account or debit card. The app leverages the Bitcoin network’s Lightning scaling technology to enable faster transactions.
"Sean's story is unique. From his college studies, all the way through to his current NFL career, he has always pursued his passion for finance,” said Jack Mallers, CEO of Zap. “Professional athletes today operate as independent businesses and are more sophisticated investors than they've ever been before. Sean embodies the modern-day athlete, investor, and leader. We're excited to help facilitate the growing intersection between sports and finance by converting his entire NFL salary to Bitcoin."
Culkin continued: “I’m not suggesting that everyone allocate 100% of their salaries to Bitcoin. This is a decision I made after seriously considering my current wealth and expected expenses in the near term. I believe this cryptocurrency provides the best asymmetric return available, going forward.”
Culkin entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2017 after playing for the University of Missouri from 2013 to 2016. There, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. He is now enrolled in the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University's Masters of Business Administration program. Culkin has also played for the Los Angeles Chargers and Baltimore Ravens throughout his professional career.
“So many people now realize the high value of scarcity — which can be seen in Gen Z and
Millennial groups’ growing interest in cryptocurrencies,” said Culkin. “This isn’t just a domestic play — it’s global; and I hope to encourage and inspire other athletes around the world to consider that.”
“My agents at Vantage Management Group were instrumental in conversations with the Chiefs legal and payroll departments,” Culkin added. “I appreciate that after doing their due diligence and advising me about all possible outcomes, they recognized my passion and conviction in this space - and most importantly, supported the execution of my vision."