Meet the Publicly Traded Company Paying Employees in Bitcoin

What if your paycheck for this December could be worth more than ten times its face amount next December? That’s the scenario that many employees of Japan’s GMO Internet Group who opt to be paid in Bitcoin will no doubt be hoping for when taking payment in the cryptocurrency becomes an option starting in March of 2018.

You may have seen some headlines flying around this week about the new company paying salaries in crypto bucks, but it’s not necessarily a sign that the Bit-revolution is swamping everything just yet. 

Getting paid in Bitcoin isn’t unheard of for employees in the Blockchain and crypto world, but GMO is a large, publicly traded company with thousands of employees. Some industry watchers see it as yet another sign Bitcoin is making baby steps into the mainstream. 

The problem, of course, is that Bitcoin’s stratospheric rise in value from less than $1,000 in 2016 to over $17,000 today is certainly not guaranteed to continue and could be a bubble ready to pop at any moment. Typically, you want employees with a stable and positive cashflow situation, so paying them in one of the most volatile currencies around can be problematic to say the least.

This is why it would be technically illegal if GMO employees were given no choice but to be paid via Bitcoin. The company’s program instead gives workers the option of having a portion of their pay deducted and used to purchase Bitcoin at current rates. Obviously, any worker could just as easily be paid in Japanese yen and exchange a portion of their salary for Bitcoin on their own; GMO is just offering to automate the process of investing in Bitcoin for workers.

It’s all a clever means of promoting a few of GMO Internet’s latest ventures in to Bitcoin trading, mining and mining hardware development. So getting paid in Bitcoin at GMO is really a way to show that you’re with the company program, not to mention that more circulating Bitcoin in the world is now also good for the company bottom line. 

When major companies not engaged with the Bitcoin universe in any other way start to conduct payroll and other big transactions with cryptocurrency, I’ll definitely take notice.

Until then, the bigger indicator of Bitcoin gaining mainstream acceptance is the steady stream of headlines about the currency during 2017 and the numerous new exchange accounts being opened everyday. 

However, this only indicates Bitcoin’s growing acceptance as a viable investment. Mainstream acceptance as an actual currency to purchase goods and services still seems a ways off, even for those working at GMO Internet.

Carol Humphreys