Ahead of NFL Draft, Chiefs’ Tight End Makes History With Bitcoin Move

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Duane Burleson/AP/Shutterstock (10416713ac)Los Angeles Chargers tight end Sean Culkin (80) in the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in DetroitChargers Lions Football, Detroit, USA - 15 Sep 2019.
Duane Burleson/AP/Shutterstock / Duane Burleson/AP/Shutterstock

No matter what happens in tonight’s NFL draft, at least one NFL player has already made history this week: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Sean Culkin, who will become the league’s first player to convert his whole salary into bitcoin.

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The news first surfaced on Twitter Monday, when Culkin tweeted: “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.”

In an interview with Fox Business the next day, Culkin conceded that the move might be risky, given the volatility of the cryptocurrency market, but he’s comfortable with the risk.

Although Culkin discussed his move with his agents and financial advisors, he ultimately made the decision on his own. It’s also important to note that he’ll still be paid in dollars by the Chiefs. Taxes will be taken out of his paycheck as usual, but then he will convert what’s left to bitcoin.

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Culkin is certainly wading into some choppy waters of late. Last week Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies got hammered following news of a proposed capital gains tax hike from President Joe Biden, CNBC reported. Bitcoin briefly dipped below $50,000 before recovering some of its losses. More than $200 billion of value was wiped out from the overall cryptocurrency market during the selloff. The market has bounced back this week.

As for Culkin, he’s hardly a marquee name in the NFL, having caught only two passes in a career that began in 2017, according to NFL.com. The 27-year-old signed a reserve/future contract with the Chiefs in February that would pay him $920,000 in base salary if he makes the roster, Sports Illustrated reported.

But he did manage to steal the NFL spotlight for a while ahead of tonight’s draft, which starts at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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