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Bitcoin financial services company Swan has hired former NBA champion Matthew “Delly” Dellavedova as its vice president of business development. The move looks to capitalize on the professional athlete’s successful sporting career, bridging the gap between the crypto and sports.
Dellavedova’s new position will be part-time to begin with, due to his current contract to play with Melbourne United. But in the meantime, he wants to leverage his access to Australian firms.
“I will be looking to work with Australian super funds,” he told Decrypt, explaining that the idea is to get these massive money managers to allocate a percentage of assets to Bitcoin.
The term “super” refers to Australian superannuation funds, which is a retirement savings system that workers must contribute to—similar to the U.S.’ 401K. As of 2022, the industry collectively manages roughly $2.1 trillion, a whopping sum Swan and Dellavedova look to tap into.
The former NBA champion with the Cleveland Cavaliers will also be harnessing the new Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) rule implemented in college sports. Barring certain restrictions, the NIL rule allows university athletes to endorse companies and receive compensation for doing so.
“It’s really great that college athletes are able to earn an income,” he said. “Delly” wants to push Bitcoin onto their radar, “throwing enough little hooks that people want to get interested.” This goes not only for the athletes, he said, but also their money managers and the colleges themselves.
When asked about where Bitcoin stands inside locker rooms, he ballparked a high number. “I’d say around 20% of players hold Bitcoin or other crypto,” he told Decrypt, but there’s a caveat. “Some of them don’t even have 1% of their portfolio in it.”
The hiring isn’t Swan’s first foray into the sporting world. The company partnered with Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team Compton Magic to create the first Bitcoin Basketball program back in March this year.
Dellavedova shared some interesting stories to expand on his encounters with the Bitcoin space.
While playing for the Sacramento Kings last year, he was on the road and messaged Bitcoiners that he wanted to attend last year's Pacific Bitcoin conference organized by Swan. “It was really awesome to meet real Bitcoiners,” he said, explaining that the occasion helped to foster relationships with several of Swan’s top executives–who later offered him the VP role.
Dellavedova is a seasoned investor, and hasn’t held back from putting his money in several other Bitcoin startups. He counts microtask marketplace Stakwork, global payment app Strike, payment processor OpenNode, some Bitcoin mining companies, Bitcoin rewards app Fold, and Orange Pill app, a platform for Bitcoiners to meet up.
Orange Pill app, in fact, has helped make some long lasting Bitcoin and basketball memories. “When I didn’t have friends or family in a city I was playing in, I would message randoms on the app to see if they wanted tickets,” he told Decrypt.
Although Dellavedova said he managed to “meet some really cool people,” it wasn’t always easy. Imagine a pro basketball player messages you that he has two free tickets for a game. “Some people thought I was scamming them,” he said.