UFC fighter El Ninja to become first argentinian athlete paid in crypto

Guido Cannetti, an Argentinian Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter, is now the first martial arts athlete in the country to receive 100% of his salary in stablecoins, amid rising inflation and Argentina’s economic deteriorating, announced the crypto payroll company Bitwage on Monday.

Dubbed El Ninja, he returns to the Octagon on October 1st in the United States to face the local fighter Randy Costa. According to Bitwage, Guido will receive his payment in USDC stablecoin via the Stellar Network on Vibrant, a wallet application developed by the Stellar team specifically for Argentines experiencing inflation.

As per official government figures’, inflation in the 12 months through August was 78.5% in the country, whereas prices in the first eight months of the year were up 56.4%. Argentina’s central bank predicted a 95% inflation rate for the year, while some private analysts forecasted a 100% inflation rate in 2022.

“I am getting paid in USDC because it is safer for my future,” said Cannetti in a statement released by Bitwage, noting that stablecoins will spare him from the volatility and devaluation of local currency.

Among Argentine consumers surveyed by Americas Market Intelligence in April, 51% purchased crypto and 27% regularly bought cryptocurrencies, up from 12% adoption at the end of 2021. Inflation protection is the primary reason for 67% of respondents’ purchases of cryptocurrencies.

US dollar-pegged stablecoin prices surged in July following Martin Guzman’s abrupt resignation as Economy Minister. His fiscal policies aimed at reducing budget deficits and tightening monetary policy divided opinions in Argentina’s government. In the country’s black-market, the exchange rate was at 287 pesos per dollar at press time, according to the website DolarHoy.