New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley announced on Wednesday that he plans to convert all of his income from marketing deals and endorsements to bitcoin using payments app Strike.
"We're seeing inflation and we're learning you can't save wealth. That's why I am going to be taking my marketing money in bitcoin," Barkley, 24, told Anthony Pompliano on the "The Best Business Show."
Like Barkley, supporters of bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value, see it as a store of value and hedge against inflation. However, it's worth noting that experts also warn that cryptocurrency is a highly volatile, speculative investment. It can be risky, so investors should only invest as much as they can afford to lose.
Barkley has had endorsement deals with big brands like Nike, Toyota and Pepsi, to name a few. His endorsement money is worth "more than $10 million annually," according to Joe Pompliano, who breaks down the money behind sports in his newsletter Huddle Up.
Barkley's team, the New York Giants, is also sponsored by Grayscale Investments, a massive cryptocurrency asset manager. And Barkley himself is friends with the CEO of Strike.
As inflation continues to rise, Barkley sees the decision to convert his endorsement earnings to bitcoin as "the smart thing to do" in order to preserve his wealth. His goal is to create generational wealth for his family, which he doesn't think he can do on his salary alone.
"When you see the KDs, the Lebrons and Bradys of the world and you want to create generational wealth, you can't do that with the sport that I play and the position that I play and coming off of injuries," Barkley said.
In 2020, Barkley suffered an ACL tear and missed most of the season. "When you sit out of football for a whole year, you realize that this game could be taken away from you," he says.
Barkley's not the only professional athlete to take an interest in cryptocurrency.
Earlier this year, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence announced that he plans to convert his signing bonus to cryptocurrency after signing an endorsement deal with the investment app Blockfolio.
Before being released by the Kansas City Chiefs in May, former tight end Sean Culkin pledged to convert his salary to bitcoin. He's now a free agent.
And last year, free agent Russell Okung announced he'd want to be paid in bitcoin.