A Year Ago Russell Okung Converted Half His Salary To Bitcoin. With Bitcoin Soaring, How's That Trade Working Out For Him?

By on November 9, 2021 in ArticlesSports News

For the first time in about a decade, offensive tackle Russell Okung is not an active NFL player. After joining the league with the Seattle Seahawks in 2010, he went on to play for the Denver Broncos, LA Chargers, and (perhaps finally) the Carolina Panthers. The Chargers traded Russell to the Panthers last March. Unfortunately he went on to only make seven starts last season due to an injury.

If this is the end of Russell's NFL career, I think we all know what he's going to concentrate on next…


You may recall that Russell is the NFL player who announced last year that he wanted to get paid half his Panthers salary in Bitcoin. There was an initial speed bump after the NFL announced that its teams can't pay players in Bitcoin. Players can only be paid in US dollars. Undeterred, Russell decided to do the conversion after the fact, on his own.

In the last 12 months, the price of Bitcoin has been up, down and all around.

So how is that Bitcoin trade working out for Russell right now?


At the time he made this announcement, Okung was playing under a $13 million contract with the Panthers.

Okung made his Bitcoin salary conversion in December 2020. At the time, Bitcoin was trading at $27,000 per coin. Assuming he used pre-tax earnings, half of $13 million would be $6.5 million. At $27,000, that would have bought 240 Bitcoin.

Russell looked like a financial genius almost right out of the gate as Bitcoin jumped as high as $38,000 in mid January, just a few weeks later.

He looked like a financial super genius by mid-April when Bitcoin hit $63,000.

The next few months were less kind to Okung.

Bitcoin's price proceeded to drop in half. By late July the price had sunk down to $29,000, just a bit higher than his December 2020 purchase price.

To be clear, even at the lowest low-point in 2021, Russell was still "in the money" In July 2021, at $29,000, Russell's 240 BTC would have been worth $6.9 million (nice).

Fast forward to the present and Russell is back on top.

In the early hours of Tuesday, November 9, Bitcoin briefly hit an all-time high of $68,318. At that point, Russell's 240 BTC were worth…


That's a 150% rate of return over a year. For perspective, the S&P 500 – which is on an absolute tear in 2021 – has returned around 26% year-to-date. Tesla – which we all know has been a rocket ship – has returned 40% year-to-date.

Earlier this week, JP Morgan re-affirmed its prediction that Bitcoin will go to $146,000. On the other hand, the bank also warned that with Bitcoin's inherent volatility makes it almost as likely that the price drop back to the $30k range.

But let's pretend that upper-end prediction of $146,000 comes true. At that point, Russell's 240 Bitcoin – which he bought for $6.5 million – would be worth…

$35 million

That would be roughly half of all the money he ever earned while playing in the NFL (Russell's career earnings currently sit at $71 million).

Congrats to Russell!

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