Canadian long track speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen has been dubbed the first Olympic athlete to be paid in crypto after signing a sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency social network onG.social and virtual reality developer CEEK VR. The double world recorder holder Tweeted about this unique sponsorship not long ago.
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
CNN reported that Bloemen will receive payment in cryptocurrency as compensation for documenting his Olympic journey on onG.Social and appearing in a 360° Virtual Reality Experience on CEEK VR. While many would be concerned about the high volatility of the cryptocurrency market, Bloemen seemed undeterred. He explained that he felt confident in his decision because he was partially compensated in cash:
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.”
According to his agent, Bloemen is establishing a “whole new frontier.” CEO and founder of CEEK VR Mary Spio echoed the sentiment, stating that Bloemen’s participation is “reflective of his proclivity for pushing the boundaries.” Spio further elaborated on her hope that the sponsorship will help boost the use of virtual reality in professional sports.
We believe Virtual Reality isn’t just great for our audience (Ceekers) but will ultimately be used for training and maximizing player performance and potential.”
Last weekend, Bloemen won the silver medal in the 5,000-meter speed skating event. He is set to skate in the 10,000-meter race on February 15.
Bloemen may hold the title of the world’s first Olympic competitor paid in cryptocurrency, but he is not the only athlete to accept payment in crypto. A few weeks ago, an amateur Turkey football club made headlines after signing a player using Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency sponsorships for sports teams are also taking the world of sports by storm. In January, Arsenal Football Club released a statement announcing a partnership with CashBet Coin, a token designed for iGaming. These partnerships indicate that cryptocurrencies continue to gain support despite the constant controversy surrounding them.