New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley said on Wednesday that he will be taking all of his future endorsement money in bitcoin.
Barkley made his announcement on an episode of Joe Pompliano’s new show on YouTube, "The Best Business Show."
“You see how high [inflation] is and you learn you can’t save yourself through wealth,” Barkley said on the show. “That's why I am going to be taking my marketing money in bitcoin."
Barkley said he was influenced by conversations he had with Jack Mallers, the CEO of Strike who was also on the show, in making his decision. Strike uses the Lightning Network payments platform to convert direct deposits made into checking accounts into bitcoin. Mallers said the product Barkley will be using to be paid in bitcoin will be rolled out to all users in the U.S. in the next 30 to 60 days.
Pompliano put Barkley’s annual endorsement earnings in the “eight-plus figures.” Barkley has signed deals in the past with Nike, Pepsi, Visa and Dunkin’ Donuts, among others.
“I think it’s just a smart thing to do and the right thing to do to start taking my investment money in bitcoin and through Strike,” Barkley added.
Barkley, who was drafted by the Giants with the No. 2 pick in 2018, was the National Football League's offensive rookie of the year but was out almost all of last year with an injury. He has a four-year, $31.2 million contract with the Giants that included a $20.8 million signing bonus.
Several other high-profile NFL athletes have decided to invest all or part of their earnings in bitcoin, including Carolina Panthers tackle Russell Okung, who is splitting his $13 million yearly salary 50-50 between bitcoin and fiat, and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Sean Culkin, who elected to take his entire 2021 base salary of $920,000 in bitcoin. Culkin was cut by the Chiefs before he had a chance to execute his plans.
In addition, this year’s No. 1 draft pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence, reportedly accepted his signing bonus from the Jacksonville Jaguars in April in a mix of bitcoin, ether and solana. Lawrence has an endorsement deal with cryptocurrency portfolio management app Blockfolio.