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Top NBA Pick Paid in Bitcoin for BlockFi Sponsorship Deal

Former Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham’s multi-year deal with the crypto lender includes a bitcoin signing bonus.

Top NBA draft pick Cade Cunningham signed a sponsorship deal with crypto firm BlockFi Thursday that will see the up-and-coming Pistons point guard receive his signing bonus in bitcoin (BTC, -0.47%). 

BlockFi wouldn’t say how much Cunningham’s bitcoin signing bonus was worth. It intends to collaborate with the former Oklahoma State University star on educational and promotional videos through the “multi-year” deal.

The deal continues a trend of top-drafted athletes forging early-career pacts within the digital assets industry – and receiving at least part of their payout in crypto. Trevor Lawrence, the first overall draft pick in in the National Football League, received a mix of bitcoin, ether (ETH, -2.2%) and solana when he signed an FTX sponsorship in April.

Crypto companies are racing to build brand recognition across global sports. Whether it’s a soccer team wearing a dogecoin (DOGE, -5.57%) logo, an umpire emblazoned with FTX or a UFC octagon brought to you by Crypto.com, the big players have mounted an advertising blitz with their bull market gains.

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