Luana Pinheiro, a Brazilian UFC fighter, is the first female athlete in Latin America to be paid entirely in Bitcoin.
Luana Pinheiro, an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) athlete, has announced a partnership with Bitwage to earn her income in Bitcoin (BTC). Pinheiro stated that she continues to receive cash payments from her sponsors but instantly changes them to BTC via Bitwage.
Pinheiro is rated 15th in her UFC division and has won eight straight fights. The boxer stated that she wanted to earn her salary in Bitcoin after being pushed by her fiance and fellow MMA fighter Matheus Nicolau.
When comparing Bitcoin to her fighting style, jiu-jitsu, Pinheiro stated that she likes to get paid in BTC and is unconcerned about the cryptocurrency’s volatility. According to her, volatility is the primary driver of asset appreciation.
“If it wasn’t volatile, it wouldn’t go up,” she explained, adding:
“Think about it: it takes an average of 10–15 years for an individual to obtain a black belt in Brazil in Jiu Jitsu, so my time preference here is just as long, if not longer. Everything else is just noise to me and the lower the price, the more Bitcoin I can secure for the future.”
The Brazilian further stated that Bitcoin serves as a hedge against inflation for her because the purchase power of fiat currencies has deteriorated with inflation over the years, whereas BTC, despite its corrective moves, remains in an uptrend.
“Don’t forget I’m from Brazil, so I know a thing or two about inflation and its effects. I was born around 1994, around the time the Brazilian currency Real was introduced and pegged 1:1 to the U.S. dollar at the time. It is now 5 BRL for 1 USD. Bitcoin is for that, to protect against inflation,” she said.
Professional soccer players Alex Barrett, Achara Ifunanyachi, and Alex Crognale, in addition to Nicolau and Pinheiro, receive their earnings in Bitcoin.
The UFC has formed various alliances with cryptocurrency companies. In April, the UFC partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com to let fighters to receive fan incentives in Bitcoin (BTC). Crypto.com awards the fan bonus to the top three boxers in forthcoming pay-per-view events.
Separately, in June, UFC announced a $100 million multi-year marketing relationship with blockchain logistics business VeChain Foundation.