Rozner: Spencer Dinwiddie has vision on, off court

  • Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets competes against Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat in the 3-Point Contest as part of the NBA's All-Star Game festivities Saturday at the United Center.

      Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets competes against Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat in the 3-Point Contest as part of the NBA's All-Star Game festivities Saturday at the United Center. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/17/2020 2:56 PM

Spencer Dinwiddie was having himself a pretty good time Saturday morning.

As he met the press on All-Star Media Day, he was engaged and affable, having fun with his fellow stars and issuing challenges left and right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Of course, the event being here in Chicago, most wanted to know how he felt about the local nightmare and the Bulls failing to give him a legit look in 2016, dumping him after five preseason games.

"Did the Bulls make a mistake? Well, I'm a 20-point-a-game scorer in the NBA," Dinwiddie laughed. "The only 20-point scorer guy they got doesn't play my position. Zach (LaVine), I would have loved to play with you."

He talked about the future, getting an injured Kevin Durant back in Brooklyn and was brutally honest about the Knicks' struggles, but it was when he was asked about Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and tokenizing his contract that his eyes lit up.

"Oh buddy," Dinwiddie said with a huge smile. "I like things that make sense in my head."

Since less than 1 percent of the world's population has ever used Bitcoin, there's a fair chance you don't know much about it, but for Libertarian types who dream of walking free among us, it has great appeal.

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A decentralized digital currency that can't be censored is intriguing at a time when a confused Federal Reserve cuts rates and jacks up the balance sheet in a "great" economy.

Why does Bitcoin have value? For the same reason gold has worth or fiat has a purpose.

If you can use it to buy or trade for something, it has value, but there has to be a better answer than the government says it does or doesn't, and Washington certainly has a vested interest in maintaining its monopoly over Monopoly money.

That, however, doesn't deter Dinwiddie and those who prefer freedom of thought over government control.

"Transparency and liquidity make sense in my head," Dinwiddie said, "so that's why I have an affinity for blockchain as a whole."

Dinwiddie is a visionary and the fact that he's now an NBA star tells you he's got courage, so he's the right guy at the right time attempting to turn his $34 million contract into a digital investment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The 26-year-old Nets guard wants to tokenize his deal and collect the value up front in a decentralized loan. He gets a smaller lump sum now, but can invest it how he likes.

Instead of buying from a broker, those who purchase from him get a token -- think of it as a bond -- and eventually the principal with interest.

Dinwiddie wants to sell 90 tokens at $150,000 apiece, and after a year the tokens will be tradable.

Originally, an angry NBA dismissed the idea out of hand, but in a statement last month the league said, "Spencer Dinwiddie's advisers provided us with new information regarding a modified version of their digital token idea, which we are reviewing to determine whether the updated idea is permissible under league rules."

That's quite a bit softer than the NBA's first reaction.

"The idea was to involve fans and enhance the ecosystem," Dinwiddie said. "They're talking about ratings being down. Well, what better way to involve fans than by creating an ecosystem of real fantasy sports?

"It can tie people together. It can be a win-win-win for everybody in the NBA ecosystem; for fans, players and the NBA as a whole.

"That's all I was trying to communicate, what I was trying to get accomplished. Obviously, the bumps in the road have been very public, but it's been a lot of fun."

Ultimately, will he get approval from the NBA?

"That's the dicey thing about approving or not approving," Dinwiddie said. "Technically speaking, I'm not doing anything illegal so it's not really an approval thing.

"But I'm trying to work with the NBA because you're never trying to make an enemy, and the way I view things is it's a win for everyone.

"It was designed for fans to have the engagement and make some money, for the players to make money and have fan engagement, and for the NBA to benefit from the fan engagement, but also any trading that goes on in this environment, the (NBA) can capitalize on that.

"I hope people continue to come around to the idea."

Meanwhile, his brethren from the other major sports wait and watch.

"I've heard from a lot of NFL, MLB, NBA guys," Dinwiddie said. "A lot of people are waiting to see what goes on with mine.

"Nobody wants to get in trouble, but there always has to be someone willing to get in trouble to make something happen. Someone has to be brave."

Probably sounds crazy to most people. So did the airplane and the internet.

Currency will be digitized in the next decade, at which point the government -- perhaps in a cashless society -- will know exactly where and when and for how much you bought your coffee -- or anything else.

Spencer Dinwiddie is among a growing population that is thinking outside that centralized box.

He welcomes all to the revolution.

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