Kansas City Chiefs' Sean Culkin becomes 1st NFL player to convert entire salary to Bitcoin

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If he makes the Kansas City Chiefs' roster to begin this season, tight end Sean Culkin will be the first NFL player to convert all of his salary to Bitcoin.

Culkin, who is vying to be a backup behind starter Travis Kelce, would be paid his $920,000 salary by the Chiefs in U.S. dollars but in turn will convert it to Bitcoin.

"I've always had a lot of interest in and a passion for finance and economics from my days at Mizzou," Culkin said. "Even before that, my dad was big, really bullish on gold. Early on, I was always exposed to his philosophies on what made gold an intractable investment looking at it from a macro perspective. There's a lot of overlap between gold and Bitcoin. I really spent all of my time in the offseason the past year just hearing about this growing space in crypto. It just seemed like it was getting bigger and bigger.

"Through education and learning and having a level of conviction over the course of time, I just felt like I wanted to be compensated from my services in football in Bitcoin."

Culkin, 27, joined the Chiefs this past February on a reserve/future contract. He tweeted about his decision earlier Monday, saying Bitcoin is "the future of finance."

Culkin has played 19 career NFL games and caught two passes for the Los Angeles Chargers and Baltimore Ravens. But he said the upcoming season would be his first for converting his paycheck to Bitcoin.

"I want to do this with the thought it would continue to rise over the long term," he said. "This for me is a long-term play, a generational play. The more research I did and the more I zoomed out, I didn't necessarily link volatility to risk. I saw Bitcoin was growing at such an exponential rate.

"It's going to have some large pullbacks and dips and people are probably going to say I'm crazy, but I'm focusing on the long term. Long term, it's a stored value. What makes Bitcoin so intractable is its scarcity. Over time, it's deflationary by nature. If you look at history, it appreciates over time."

Veteran offensive lineman Russell Okung announced this past December that approximately half of his 2020 salary from the Carolina Panthers would be converted to Bitcoin. And quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the likely No. 1 overall draft pick, signed an endorsement deal with cryptocurrency investment app Blockfolio on Monday. The company said his signing bonus will come in cryptocurrency.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.