Professional basketball players in Canada will be given the option to receive a portion of their salary in Bitcoin following a partnership with the cryptocurrency company Bitbuy.
The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) was launched in 2019 with six teams, which are all owned and managed by the Canadian Basketball Ventures group, and it has now become the first professional sports league in North America to form a cryptocurrency partnership.
It comes following the deal with the Canadian cryptocurrency exchange Bitbuy, which was announced just days before the start of the league’s third season, and will see Bitbuy become an official sponsor of the league as well as allowing basketball players to opt-in to earn Bitcoin as a portion of their salary.
Through Bitbuy, a portion of the Canadian dollars usually given in the paycheques will be converted into cryptocurrency and deposited in the form of digital coins into the players’ personal crypto wallets, Bitcoin.com reports.
Commenting on the deal, CEBL Commissioner and CEO Mike Morreale said:
Our partnership with Bitbuy speaks to our commitment to players, and also to our forward-thinking approach to how we go about our business. We appreciate Bitbuy’s investment in helping us further grow Canada’s official national pro basketball league.
Kimbal Mackenzie, who plays for Canadian basketball team the Guelph Nighthawks, is set to be among the first CEBL players to receive cryptocurrency in lieu of money and has made clear that he is looking forward to the new direction.
He commented: ‘The opportunity to be paid in Bitcoin is something I’m incredibly excited about. I believe cryptocurrency is the future.’
Charlie Aikenhead, Vice President of Marketing at Bitbuy, has claimed the partnership signifies a shift in how athletes are thinking about compensation for their work, explaining the company is excited to help players ‘protect their long-term wealth by getting paid in Bitcoin.’