The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced that it will allow its players to receive a portion of their salaries in bitcoin through a partnership with Canadian bitcoin exchange Bitbuy.
“Some of the best players outside the NBA, and some with NBA experience, have joined our league because we make player-first decisions,” said Mike Morreale, the commissioner and CEO CEBL, per the announcement. “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.”
According to the announcement, the services provided by Bitbuy will encourage bitcoin self custody. The Canadian exchange will work with the CEBL to convert the players’ Canadian dollar-denominated salaries into bitcoin and help them receive BTC in personal wallets. Additionally, Bitbuy, which has over 300,000 customers, will also become a league sponsor through the partnership.
“We’re proud to support homegrown Canadian sports, and to partner with the league on this first-to-market initiative,” said Charlie Aikenhead, vice president of marketing at Bitbuy, in the announcement. “We think this represents a significant shift in how athletes are thinking about compensation, and we’re excited to help the CEBL’s players protect their long-term wealth by getting paid in bitcoin.”
The partnership was triggered following players in the league voicing interest in getting paid in bitcoin after NFL player Russell Okung became the first professional sports player in North America to receive a portion of his salary in bitcoin. Since then, a trend has formed, with numerous famous players also asking for BTC instead of dollars. In the CEBL, Guelph Nighthawks guard Kimbal Mackenzie will be one of the pioneers to opt-in and protect their purchasing power with bitcoin.
“The opportunity to be paid in bitcoin is something I’m incredibly excited about,” Mackenzie said, per the announcement. “The ability to have part of my salary go directly into an investment that I believe will appreciate greatly over the next 10 to 30 years is a no-brainer. The CEBL continues to provide us as players with forward-thinking opportunities, and the option to be paid in bitcoin further highlights that they are one of the top leagues in the world.”