Retired NFL quarterback-turned-entrepreneur Drew Brees has elected to take part of his salary in Bitcoin through NYDIG’s new Bitcoin Savings Plan.
Brees, who currently works as an analyst for NBC Sports, is the latest among a growing list of pro athletes to accept salaries in, signaling a boost in interest in BTC as both a usable currency and long-term investment among celebrity figures.
NYDIG is a Bitcoin-focused company that gives business owners the tools to offer employees accounts, payroll, interest payments and more in Bitcoin. Its new savings plans are opt-in for any employer or employee interested in converting a portion of their earnings into Bitcoin for longer-term saving.
“For a long time, Bitcoin was pretty intimidating for me. The more I have immersed myself in the understanding of money, long-term value, and the history of finance, the importance of bitcoin became apparent,” Brees stated in a press release this morning.
Brees also co-owns Surge Adventure Parks and has invested in multiple restaurant franchises. His companies—such as Everbowl and StretchZone—will now be able to offer their employees Bitcoin Savings plans as well.
NYDIG will store the Bitcoin accumulated from these paychecks using its own cold storage system. This means that NYDIG will retain custody of the Bitcoin earned and will be storing it offline.
For some, this might be unappealing, as one of the cryptocurrency community’s biggest axioms is the phrase “not your keys, not your coins.” If you don’t have self-custody, some argue, you’re not achieving any more financial independence than you have with a traditional bank account.
So while Brees will be earning Bitcoin, he won’t have full control over it—at least not initially. This sounds comparable to a traditional 401k, where employees can’t access funds easily unless they request a withdrawal. But unlike the US dollar—which suffers from the effects of inflation—Bitcoin can dramatically increase in value within a short period of time. To some, Bitcoin’s risk is worth the potential reward.
Brees is one of many NFL stars interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency—Tom Brady is also bullish on crypto and is now planning to spend more time focused on his NFT platform Autograph. Back in November, Aaron Rodgers said he’d be receiving part of his $22 million salary in Bitcoin.
Shortly after Rodgers, Odell Beckham Jr. also announced he would also be getting part of his NFL salary paid out in Bitcoin. NFL stars Sean Culkin, Saquon Barkley, and Trevor Lawrence also made similar announcements last year.
As more and more NFL stars get into Bitcoin, the upcoming Super Bowl LVI on February 13 looks to be its most crypto-centric yet. Ad Age has already dubbed the upcoming NFL event the “Crypto Bowl,” thanks to anticipated ads from cryptocurrency exchanges FTX and Crypto.com.