Professional Soccer Player Ifunanyachi Achara Partners With Crypto Startup Bitwage to be Paid in Bitcoin

Published on May 10, 2021

Ifunanyachi Achara, 23, A fifth-year forward for Toronto FC, takes around fifty percent of his Major League Soccer (MLS) salary in bitcoin by syncing his accounts with a third-party exchange service. He switched to global payments leader Bitwage in February after months of self-executing his bitcoin trades with Binance.

Achara, 23, is one of the first pro athletes to go public with his choice to receive part of his salary in Bitcoin. National Football League players Sean Culkin and Russell Okung currently receive a portion of their salaries in Bitcoin also. Achara said bitcoin is a hedge against fiat inflation in Nigeria, his home country, where inflation for the the Nigerian naira hit a four-year high north of 18% in March.

“The rate of inflation is killing us,” Achara said in an interview. “The more the U.S. prints money during COVID to help people, the more it devalues our currency. So for my family, when I send them money home, I send them bitcoin.”

Bitcoin Remittances

Expatriates sending money to their home countries have seen the advantages of bitcoin remittances for years. Bitcoin’s decentralized nature allows users to avoid high wire-transfer fees. In the case of Nigeria, according to Achara, it allowed him to skirt a major monetary blockade. The Nigerian government has been known to shut down private citizens’ bank accounts for various reasons.

Mr. Achara said, “If I wanted to send money to my parents to move away from a state that I felt like was really violent, I couldn’t. I couldn’t send them money to the bank. It was just through Bitcoin that I was able to send my family money more easily and efficiently and as fast as possible.”

Bitcoin As A Store of Value

Many Nigerians are storing their wealth in foreign or digital currency, according to Bloomberg. Achara’s family is just doing it in bitcoin. “They occasionally trade their bitcoin for the local currency”, he said. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s central bank is apparently closing bank accounts of crypto traders.

Achara is the first pro athlete to use Bitwage for payroll services. Although CEO Jonathan Chester said the company is “in conversations with other athletes, musicians and famous influencers.”

According to Mr. Chester, “We have been helping people get paid in bitcoin for seven years, but this is the first year that we are really starting to see bitcoin payroll pick up with mainstream markets.”

Kwasi Asare is the co-founder & Chief Marketing Officer for Social Identity platform ESAIYO. ESAIYO captures, connects, preserves & displays important identity and historical data related to physical and virtual objects. Mr. Asare has marketed and monetized content releases that have generated approximately 20,000,000 record sales and album equivalents. He has worked with startups that have raised north of $50,000,000 in venture capital and angel investments. He has also worked as a marketer and business development executive on tens of millions in eCommerce sales.  Mr. Asare was the founder of Innovation Live (2016) and Cofounder of StartUp Rock On (2012), innovation public policy event series' running concurrent to The Democratic and Republican National Conventions. These event series’ featured appearances from Vice President Joe Biden, Former Congressman Daryl Issa (CA-49), Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, The Roots, Steve Aoki, etc Mr. Asare was the New Media/Social Media Manager for Sean "Diddy" Combs' empire, overseeing the digital marketing and social media platforms for Diddy's brands, including Ciroc, Sean John Fragrance, and Bad Boy Entertainment.Mr. Asare has been a founding member or early hire for numerous startups. He has advised numerous large companies and agencies including Startup America, Google, Facebook, Bit Torrent, The Consumer Technology Association, Microsoft, Universal Music, Apple, Monster Products, etc with a focus on monetization, marketing and business development strategy and execution. Throughout his storied career he has envisioned and executed global marketing campaigns for artists and brands such as: Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jerry Wonda,Ice Cube, Prince, Pharrell, Wu Tang Clan, LL Cool J, Outkast, Gnarls Barkley,John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Mary J Blige,The Roots,The Fugees, Diageo, Warner Music Group,Sony Music, Estee Lauder etc.  Mr. Asare began his career as an Investment Banker at Citigroup's' Salomon Smith Barney and was a holder of Series 7, 3, 63 & 55 Licenses. Specialties: Online Marketing, Growth Strategy,Monetization, Social Media Marketing, Business Development, Artist Management, Media Buying, International Politics, Blockchain,Social Impact

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