Canadian speed skater becomes world’s first athlete to be paid in cryptocurrency
Dutch-born Bloemen, who won silver in the men’s 5,000-meter event on Sunday, has penned a one-year sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency social network onG.social, which forms part of a larger deal involving virtual reality developer CEEK VR.
“I’m very excited to be the first ever #Crypto Sponsored Athlete,” the 31-year-old tweeted. “Thanks CEEK Virtual Reality and onG.social for being at the forefront of technology and this great achievement. Looking forward to a great relationship and the exciting times ahead.”
I’m very excited to be the first ever #Crypto Sponsored Athlete. Thanks @CEEK#VirtualReality and @Ong_Social for being at the forefront of technology and this great achievement. Looking forward to a great relationship and the exciting times ahead. pic.twitter.com/mCHbNzkKW8— Ted-Jan Bloemen (@TedJan) January 31, 2018
The current world record-holder in the 5,000-meter long-track speed skating event announced he will also receive a cash reward for his efforts in PyeongChang.
“For me, the real risk of not getting anything is not there, because I got a little (cash) out of it already. And that combination makes this sponsorship really fun, right. Because we’re going to help each other. I’m trying to get them a little more exposure to make them succeed, and that would help all of us, right," Calgary-based Bloemen said.
It isn’t the first time cryptocurrency has been used to complete a sports deal. In January, Turkish amateur football club Harunustaspor completed the world’s first transfer using cryptocurrency when they forked out 2,000 Turkish lira in bitcoin (0.0534 bitcoin, or $525), and 2,500 Turkish lira to buy the 22-year-old Omer Faruk Kiroglu.
Bloemen was outdone in the 5,000-meter event in PyeongChang by fellow Netherlands-born athlete Sven Kramer, being pipped to gold by two thousandths of a second in a time of 6:11.616. It was Kramer’s third straight gold medal in the event.