In late 2017, bitcoin made headlines. The cryptocurrency surged from below $1,000 at the beginning of the year to a peak of $19,000 in early December, and drew the attention of everyone from Warren Buffett to Jamie Foxx.
In recent days, cryptocurrencies turned heads for a different reason. More than $100 billion in value was lost in the global cryptocurrency market Friday, as the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies in circulation plummeted by $112.6 billion to $405 billion Friday morning, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
The volatile asset has also recently caught the attention of some of the nation’s most prominent athletes, according to NFL star Richard Sherman, a cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks.
“Especially the way bitcoin boomed from nothing to … $19,000 at one point, that really caught the eye of a lot of people,” Sherman tells CNBC Make It. “Ever since then it has been common conversation for a lot of us.”
Sherman, who began accepting bitcoin for merchandise on his website as early as 2014, is currently recovering from an injury to his Achilles tendon, and is using his time off to study cryptocurrency. He’s also a spokesperson for the exchange platform Cobinhood, and an investor in the company’s coin, COB.
Sherman also owns bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum.
“There are a ton of different coins,” Sherman says, and his NFL buddies are “trying to figure out which one is the one they should get.”
But Sherman doesn’t give investing advice. “Who knows,” he says. “You read up, you hear great things about some, you hear terrible things about others, they fluctuate throughout the day. It is such an unpredictable market.”
Often, Sherman hears the most simple questions from other football players, like “Are there physical coins?” he says. Team mates will ask, “What is the difference between this and a stock? Or this and a bond?”
“A lot of them have just been trying their best to become more educated on not only cryptocurrencies, but just stocks and trading in general. Because a lot of them have been taken advantage of by financial advisers,” Sherman explains. “So people in my sport, in my field, are definitely becoming more educated and trying to be more intelligent with how they play for the money and understanding where their money is going.”
Although players often earn millions, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2015 found that roughly one in six players in the NFL files for bankruptcy within 12 years of retiring from their career. But Sherman sees progress happening.
“The NFL has done a great job of opening its doors,” he says, inviting financial experts to speak with players, and partnering with business schools to offer classes. “That is how a lot of players are getting their information and becoming educated on the subject of money management.
“None of us really grew up with … financial literacy,” Sherman adds.
For now, he and his teammates are curious about cryptocurrency.
“It is difficult to try to advise anyone, but we definitely have a ton of conversations about it,” Sherman says.
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