Bitcoin Payday? It’s a Thing in Japan.

December 19, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

The idea that your paycheck today could be worth much more tomorrow—or much less—than it is today is kind of a strange one, but one that could be a possibility for some workers. Japan’s GMO Internet Group—one of the leading providers of internet services for both business and consumer alike—is actually allowing companies to start taking home some of their pay in bitcoin.

GMO Internet Group isn’t a small-time operation, either; it’s actively working in 10 countries and is made up of 60 different companies. Such a move is projected to encourage other firms to start offering at least a portion of employee salaries in bitcoin, and that’s a point that GMO Internet Group proper has been actively working on for some time now.

GMO is actually a fairly vigorous presence in bitcoin mining, as well as in trading services, which should make it fairly easy for employees to cash out that bitcoin should they not be interested in playing the bitcoin market with a chunk of salary. The company plans to pay out just 10,000 yen in bitcoin minimum to start with—about $88.70 as of this writing—but has a ceiling of 100,000 yen per payout.

While elements of Japanese labor law require payments in recognized currency, the partial bitcoin payment is allowed because the payouts would be consensual. The employee would be paid in yen, but would allow the company to purchase bitcoin with a portion of his or her salary and the purchase transferred to the employee accordingly.

It’s actually a great deal for businesses, especially those who are actively mining bitcoin. They can effectively sell off the produce of the mining and save on employee pay packets while at the same time maintaining the full employment expense for tax purposes. Theoretically, anyway; consult your own accountant for details. But the principle is reasonable enough, and there will likely be some workers out there who are willing to risk the value of at least part of their paycheck on what might be a surprisingly worthwhile investment vehicle in a shorter term than some might expect.

This could be a very big step toward bitcoin’s mainstreaming, but only time will tell if it actually comes to pass.