Would you go off-piste and pay your employees in a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin?

Posted on 25 January 2018 by IRIS FMP

From next month (February 2018) a Japanese web company will introduce the opportunity for its employee to receive a percentage of their salary in Bitcoin, the infamous cryptocurrency. GMO Internet Group will enable staff to convert anything from 10,000 to 100,000 yen of their monthly wage into Bitcoin, and doing so will also entitle them to a 10% bonus of their chosen amount.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bitcoin, here’s what it is in a nutshell: it’s a cryptocurrency; a digital money system that allows people to send or receive money globally across the internet. However, where it differs from other online payment methods is that there is no central, trusted system (such as PayPal) governing it – it can be used anonymously and without regulation.

Here are some reasons why IRIS FMP, as a fully regulated, trusted and compliant payroll service provider are hesitant to be too enthusiastic about Bitcoin just yet:

  1. Bitcoin offers no consumer protection. Transactions made with Bitcoin are irreversible, so if you are ripped off or taken advantage of by an untrustworthy seller, there is currently no regulatory body that you can turn to for help.
  2. Bitcoin is volatile. In November, for example, it lost $1,000 in value in a matter of minutes. Imagine being paid on the Friday and then by the Monday your paycheque being worth significantly less…that’s the risk GMO Internet Group employees who choose to partake in the new Bitcoin scheme are taking.
  3. Bitcoin is susceptible to cyber attacks. As an unregulated online currency that sometimes raises dramatically in value in a short space of time, Bitcoin is an attractive target for hackers. Previous attacks by cryptocurrency thieves has seen them make off with tens of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin.

Now, don’t get us wrong – we are sure that as we advance even further into the 21st century that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will become more normal and commonplace, and that regulatory bodies will start to take note. You can rest assured that we will adapt to suit this changing climate as and when it is safe to do so. However, at the moment at least, we think good old fashioned currency is the way forward when it comes to receiving your salary.