Cade Cunningham’s crypto endorsement deal turns out to be a dud

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Cade Cunningham signed an endorsement deal with cryptocurrency platform BlockFi before his rookie season. Just over a year later, they filed for bankruptcy.

The collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and the general and extended decline in the value of cryptocurrency that preceded it is sending ripple effects throughout our economy and the NBA has not been immune.

FTX had just bought the naming rights for the Miami Heat arena in March 2021. Their bankruptcy filing has sent the Heat scrambling for a new sponsor. Crypto.com, which bought the naming rights for the Los Angeles Lakers arena a year ago laid off nearly half their employees in October and it’s not clear what the long-term future of that deal is.

And then there is Cade Cunningham, taking what could be a pretty big loss on a fairly new crypto endorsement. Before last season, he signed a deal with cryptocurrency platform BlockFi, agreeing to take the signing bonus for the deal in Bitcoin. According to Forbes, “As part of the agreement, Cunningham will collaborate with BlockFi on educational videos, promotional giveaways, exclusive interviews and other efforts ‘to raise awareness about the value of cryptocurrencies.’”

Unfortunately, partnering with Cunningham wasn’t enough to keep BlockFi financially healthy and it was announced yesterday that they were declaring bankruptcy.

How much did Cade Cunningham lose by taking his payment in Bitcoin?

It’s not clear exactly how much that payment was that he received in Bitcoin or whether he’s still holding it. But assuming it was paid out around Sept. 1 2021 and he hasn’t done anything else with it, that payment is now worth just 33.8 percent of what it once was.

Cunningham certainly isn’t going to be hurting financially just because of this one deal. He’s owed more than $30 million by the Detroit Pistons over the next three seasons. He also has lucrative endorsement deals on the books with Nike, Uptime, Panini American and more.

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