How soon will we get a salary in crypto? A few decades ago, salaries usually came in packets filled with cash. Then, cheques and bank accounts became a thing, and it started being difficult to imagine for many people to get paid in any other way. Today, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and stablecoins are looking to change this approach.
Although crypto is an alternative to fiat currency transactions, traditional finance still has the upper hand over digital assets when it comes to salary payments. In August 2019, New Zealand legalized crypto salaries, becoming the first country to go this way. But in most cases, crypto salaries only exist, offered by a few enthusiastic companies or crypto-related platforms. For example, Finnish software company SC5 and Japanese web service provider GMO Group are early adopters that have been offering crypto salaries since 2013 and 2017, respectively. Argo Blockchain, CoinCorner, Living Room of Satoshi do the same thing, but these are crypto companies.
And the reason for such relatively slow adoption is that employees and employers would think twice before accepting salaries in crypto. Here is why.
The benefits and disadvantages of crypto salaries
Transaction speed and fees
If you work remotely or you are a freelancer, then you can save a lot on transaction fees. Crypto transactions are often far less expensive than using PayPal or international bank transfers. Also, payments from old-fashioned bank accounts can sometimes take a few days or weeks for settlement.
However, you cannot pay with crypto for everything at the moment since not all the merchants accept it. So you may usually need to convert crypto into fiat currencies, and you use a crypto exchange such as CEX.IO for that.
Volatility and usage
Most cryptocurrencies are quite volatile assets, meaning if you don’t convert digital assets to fiat, they could fall or rise in price dramatically. And that’s two sides of the same coin. It’s great to see how the monthly wage that you received in crypto increases over time, showing over 700% performance. But it would be difficult to explain to the landlord why you can’t pay rent when the value of your monthly wage drops 25% overnight.
The same situation is with using crypto. With crypto, you can become your own bank. When you own your keys, you don’t have transaction limits, you can’t be blocked, and you don’t need to explain to someone why you want to make this transaction, but if you lose your keys or make a mistake, transferring to the wrong address, there is no way around it, and funds would be lost. So using crypto is a good test for your personal responsibility.
It is not mandatory to understand how crypto works for making payments, just like you don’t need to know how an NFC or magnetic stripe technically works when paying with a card. But it’s necessary to understand the risks of possible mistakes.
Taxes and regulation
Regulations should provide clear rules for market participants, but they do not always work with crypto. In some countries, cryptocurrencies are legal and free to use, while others ban cryptocurrencies or limit operations for different reasons. Regulatory and tax rules also vary from country to country, and attitudes towards crypto may change rapidly. Businesses may face uncertainty with accounting and storing crypto, when employees may need to pay income tax from crypto if its value increases over time.
Ways to receive crypto
When it comes to getting paid in crypto, most people think about regular crypto like Bitcoin (BTC). Such cryptocurrencies usually have a limited supply, and their value is set on the market. So when you hear the stories about wages whose value drops and rises with time, it is about regular crypto. If you think about getting paid in regular crypto, then consider converting some part of your salary to fiat currency for everyday spendings. If Bitcoin has proven to be a solid long-term store of value. Then it is still not always an excellent way to save funds in the short term. So think about how long you can hold your crypto. And even whether you can afford to lose that value entirely.
Stablecoins are crypto tokens that are based on other blockchains and pegged to a fiat currency. For example, Tether (USDT), USD Coin (USDC), and Dai. stablecoins have the same price as pegged fiat currency compared to other assets. This allows protection from significant volatility. It means if you get paid in stablecoin, your crypto would not drastically drop in price, but your coins cannot appreciate in value either. Stablecoins may be a good option if you want to get into crypto and use it for transactions and payments rather than investing in crypto.
Crypto adoption keeps rising, but digital assets still look nascent for paying salaries. Many businesses already accept crypto as a payment option. But it will be difficult for people to stay fully in crypto for everyday spendings. So, for now, fiat currency will remain the status quo as the main asset for salary payments.
But if you are really interested in crypto, then you may try to take some part of your salary in crypto. It should give you an understanding of how comfortable you are being paid in digital currency. But you look at getting paid in crypto as a way to earn some cash. Then keep in mind that the biggest opportunities come when you do some research to manage potential risks.