Alex Crognale, a defender for the USL Championship club Birmingham Legion, has gone public with his association with bitcoin and cryptocurrency payroll service Bitwage. In early September, Crognale received 15% of his USL paycheck in bitcoin.
The move is reminiscent of spring 2021 when professional soccer player Achara Ifunanyachi – a forward for Toronto FC – went public with his Bitcoin payroll allocation, also with Bitwage.
Over the course of the pandemic, Crognale states that he “became increasingly interested in [bitcoin’s] store of value properties.” His background in economics encouraged him to do a deeper dive on what was happening behind the scenes in regards to monetary policy.
“The United States Federal Reserve responded to the damaging impact of COVID-19 lockdowns by printing massive amounts of US dollars,” he said. “The more stimulus money pumped into the economy, the less the dollars in our pockets are worth. Quantitative easing was necessary to keep our country from falling into a depression, but the long term impact was understated, if mentioned at all.”
When looking at Bitcoin, Crognale saw a panacea to the country’s financial ills: “The predictable supply of Bitcoin makes it resistant to inflation, and not in the control of any one entity or government body.”
In order to get more serious about his bitcoin journey, Crognale knew that he needed to find a dependable system for investing.
“I have been buying Bitcoin since 2020 using various exchanges, Coinbase, Binance, CashApp, I’ve tried them all. The Bitwage platform allows me to dollar-cost average into Bitcoin with ease and without transaction fees,” he said. “I have a percentage of my salary paid in cryptocurrency that is direct-deposited into my wallet.”
Crognale stated that by making this move public, he hopes to inspire others.
“If I can help educate or inspire someone in my shoes to take control of their wealth and put it into sound money, Bitcoin specifically, I want to take that opportunity to share my story.”
United Soccer League (USL)
The USL Championship is one of the most successful professional soccer leagues in the world, reaching a population of more than 84 million and fueling the growth of the game across North America. Sanctioned by the U.S. Soccer Federation as a Division II professional league, The Championship includes a membership of more than 30 clubs across the United States and Canada.
The Championship has a national media partnership with ESPN, wherein all league matches are broadcast on ESPN+, ESPN3 and across linear channels. The league also operates USL Productions, which includes a state-of-the-art facility that produced and distributed more than 500 league matches and more than 1,000 hours of original content to national partners, local affiliates and international markets throughout the 2018 season.
The USL enjoyed a 500% increase in viewership for games on ESPN+ in 2020 and a 58% rise in total coverage in 2020 from national and local media.