Forget cash. Get paid in bitcoin

In November, when bitcoin and Ethereum reached all-time highs, famous athletes, politicians, and regular people raced to join in on the excitement by announcing that they would convert a portion of their salaries into cryptocurrency. Their argument is that if you get paid in US dollars, as inflation increases, the value of your paycheck decreases.

Some of the first to join in were NYC’s mayor-elect, Eric Adams, that tweeted after winning the election in November that he wanted to receive his first three paychecks in bitcoin. Francis Suarez, the mayor of Miami tweeted in November 2021 that he would take his next paycheck in Bitcoin, and he expressed the desire to pay the city’s 4,000 employees in cryptocurrency as well. Athletes, like former Carolina Panthers lineman, Russell Okung became the first NFL player to be paid in bitcoin after converting half of his $13 million salary last December. Since then, other top athletes have followed suit, including NFL players Aaron Rodgers, Trevor Lawrence, Sean Culkin, Saquon Blakely, and NBA player Cade Cunningham.

In January, Coinbase paid Eric Adams, NYC’s mayor, his first paycheck in crypto.

We are seeing signs of change in how people are getting paid. Being paid in crypto is spreading. More companies are viewing bitcoin as a viable salary option, with the employees opting into crypto and assuming the bulk of the risk.

Ilias Louis Hatzis is the founder and CEO at Kryptonio wallet.

The pandemic shook up the job market. Companies understand that great talent is everywhere. But to attract talent, businesses had to make fundamental changes, and one of these changes was to offer employees the option to be paid in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, especially since the market skyrocketed in 2021.

Also as more young people enter the workforce interested in getting paid in crypto, and as employers look for creative ways to attract talent, paying salaries in digital assets is now on the menu. Individuals, even beyond the crypto and tech sector, are interested in getting their pay in cryptocurrency.

Last year, Coinbase launched a direct deposit service in the US, the first step in a series of payroll offerings for employers and DAOs. Users can deposit all or a portion of their paycheck in their Coinbase account and immediately convert it into USDC, BTC, ETH, or any other crypto assets available on the platform.

UnitedMasters, a music distributor, partnered with Coinbase to give independent music creators the option to get paid, in full or in part, in cryptocurrency for their streaming royalties.

But Coinbase is not the only one that offers this kind of service. Other companies have similar offerings such as Strike, Crypto.com, Cash.app, BitWage, Onjuno, and a few more.

Last year Gilded Finance introduced its Mass Pay for payroll solution which per its name is essentially a bulk payment offering. It supports bitcoin and Ethereum, including stablecoins, and can bundle up to 500 payments in a single transaction.

For businesses, it’s a no-brainer. If you’re wondering whether it’s a  good idea for your own business, the answer is yes. Especially if you have remote workers, or want to offer digital benefits. Crypto payments are immediate, eliminate the need to deal with a bank, payments clear within minutes, and involve fewer transaction fees. Plus, there’s a level of security and, arguably, anonymity, with crypto that isn’t possible with more traditional payments.

Employees opting for this route, see this as a way to save, outpace inflation, and an easy way to get into the crypto space. Basically, they get paid today but have an account that accrues interest, as opposed to losing money if it were just sitting as dollars in a regular bank account.

It also makes more sense when you think about crypto-linked debit cards, that work with Apple Pay and Google Pay, and make it very simple to use crypto to pay for things.

But, getting paid in crypto is not without risk. There is a lot of volatility in this space. Just as crypto can move up, it can go down, suddenly and unexpectedly. You definitely need a strong stomach when those drops occur. Alternatively, converting a paycheck into a stablecoin is an option that gives all the perks of a cryptocurrency (security, speed, etc.) with the stability of fiat currency.

For most people, getting paid fully in bitcoin would not make sense.

Getting your paycheck in bitcoin may be an exciting way to boost your wealth, especially if you believe in the future of cryptocurrencies, are open to volatility and risk, and have a long-term time horizon. But I would avoid converting any portion of your paycheck that you aren’t prepared to lose. Start small and make changes as you get familiar with what it is you’re doing.

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