Pro basketball league in Canada will offer players Bitcoin salaries

The Canadian Elite Basketball League will be allowing players from its seven teams to accept a portion of their salaries in Bitcoin starting next week. 

According to a Thursday announcement, the Canadian Elite Basketball League, or CEBL, has partnered with Toronto-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitbuy to convert part of basketball players’ existing salaries from Canadian dollars to Bitcoin (BTC) on request. The league said it will arrange for the funds to be delivered to the players’ personal crypto wallets.

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More than 70 players on the active roster from the Edmonton Stingers, Fraser Valley Bandits, Guelph Nighthawks, Hamilton Honey Badgers, Ottawa Blackjacks, Niagara River Lions, and Saskatchewan Rattlers will be seemingly eligible for the crypto payments. Bitbuy will also be joining the CEBL as an official sponsor.

The Nighthawks’ Kimbal Mackenzie said he would be one of the first players to accept the CEBL’s offer. The 24-year-old guard recently re-signed with the team for the 2021 CEBL season beginning June 24.

“The opportunity to be paid in Bitcoin is something I’m incredibly excited about,” said Mackenzie. “I believe cryptocurrency is the future. The ability to have part of my salary go directly into an investment that I believe will appreciate greatly over the next 10-30 years is a no-brainer.”

Related: NFL player Russell Okung isn’t getting paid in Bitcoin

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Though many sports franchises and organizations have partnered with crypto and blockchain firms, many people have expressed concern about Bitcoin as a medium of exchange given the crypto asset’s price fluctuations. Mackenzie added in a separate interview that he would accept half of his salary in Bitcoin and was seemingly unconcerned about any potential volatility:

“[If Bitcoin falls], so be it. It was a decision I was prepared to make. On the other hand, if it increases, maybe I will retire in two years.”

Since reaching an all-time high price of $64,899 in April, Bitcoin has dropped significantly following Tesla CEO Elon Musk saying the company would stop accepting the crypto asset as payment for vehicles due to environmental concerns. At the time of publication, the BTC price is $36,788, having fallen more than 5% in the last 24 hours.