Football all-star and non-fungible token (NFT) entrepreneur Tom Brady has accepted a surprise invitation to speak at the closing night of Consensus 2021 with crypto tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried.
Bankman-Fried, CEO of the popular crypto exchange FTX and liquidity provider Alameda, tweeted the invitation at Brady Wednesday morning – nodding to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team quarterback’s recent switch to a “laser eyes” profile picture.
Brady responded with a handshake emoji. He will join Bankman-Fried’s mainstage session Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, in the event’s closing keynote block.
Brady is among a recent wave of celebrity athletes to have endorsed open-source networks as a way to build and store wealth.
The trend began with National Basketball Association star Spencer Dinwiddie attempting to sell tokenized shares of his contract and offensive tackle Russell Okung’s crusade to get paid in bitcoin. It has since spread across leagues, sports and countries as dozens of athletes convert their salaries to BTC and embrace NFTs and social tokens.
But Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl champion who has earned the nickname the GOAT (greatest of all time), is arguably the biggest name ever to make this move.
Crypto offers a way for sports stars to potentially take greater ownership over their brands and reputations – considering their notoriously unstable contract agreements – by allowing them to monetize their own collectibles and interact with fans directly.
Okung has similarly praised bitcoin as a means to regaining financial independence.
Meanwhile, flush crypto firms are signaling the mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies by inking deals with sports franchises.
Most notably, the NBA’s Miami Heat will now play at FTX Arena, after Bankman-Fried’s outfit purchased the stadium’s naming rights for $135 million. Grayscale Investments and Crypto.com are now also corporate sponsors of the New York Giants and Montreal Canadiens, respectively. (Grayscale is a CoinDesk sister company.)
Brady announced in April he was co-founding Autograph, an NFT marketplace that aims to become the go-to platform for big names in sports and entertainment. Like other athletes, Brady has made a series of venture bets over his career in upstart tech projects.
Not much is known about Brady’s crypto journey. In early May, Blockworks co-founder Jason Yanowitz tweeted a rumor that the seven-time Super Bowl champion was hoarding bitcoin and later challenged him to add laser eyes to his profile pic.
After presumably consulting with his publicist, Brady made the change, signaling that he’s not only a bitcoin holder but also a die-hard fan.
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