Pay Me in Bitcoin!

If you've been busy turning your wages into cryptocurrency, you'll be happy to know it's starting to work the other way around. Cryptocurrency is quickly becoming a new form of workplace compensation, and so far, it's going very well (for employees). Payments are effectively increasing just by virtue of the increasing value of the digital token. But it still has its risks.

To explore this new world of crypto compensation, we recently spoke to more than 1,000 employees and employers to gauge interest and experience. Many had already paid or been paid in cryptocurrency and had important information to share. If you're keen on exploring the option of receiving and giving at least partial payments in digital tokens, keep reading.

Key Takeaways

  • 65.5% of employees were at least somewhat willing to receive compensation in cryptocurrencies.
  • 63% of millennials viewed compensation in cryptocurrencies as a perk.
  • 47% of employed Americans would rather invest in NFTs over Roth IRAs.
Openness to cryptocurrency compensation

Willing and Wanting to Be Paid in Bitcoin

First, we set out to gauge the general consensus from employed Americans: Were they willing to be paid in bitcoins? Did they see it as a perk? Would they quit their job to pursue one that offered this type of compensation? Their responses are graphed below.

The clear majority (65.5%) were at least somewhat willing to be paid in bitcoins. Just over 28% even classified themselves as "very willing." Fewer than 10% felt the general idea was "very bad." In short, most employees were certainly interested in at least having the option to receive payments this way.

But just how far would employees go for the chance at some extra bitcoins? Nearly a third said they would quit their current jobs to pursue another that offered digital token compensation. But if their current employer started doing so, 42.2% would quit. In other words, the thought of pursuing another opportunity for cryptocurrency made more sense to many respondents than changing the existing payment method at their current job.

Coins over cash

Details of Digital Compensation

While we hear the most about Bitcoin, it's certainly not the only digital currency that employees would like to see on their paychecks. This next section of our study looks at people who have already received cryptocurrency as payment, how the value of that payment changed, and the top coins employees would like as compensation.

Investing in cryptocurrency

Who Receives Cryptocurrency?

Nearly half of the employees we spoke to had received at least one payment in the form of cryptocurrency. Their firsthand experience also helps to explain why employees are so willing to receive future payments this way: Those who had been paid in cryptocurrency had already seen its value increase by 45.2%, on average. Considering that the average salary increase from a raise is between 3% and 5% in the U.S., the 45.2% increase is a staggering pay bump.

For the vast majority of respondents, cryptocurrency's incredible increase in value was still perceived as too risky for them to want to be paid entirely in this format. In spite of their willingness to be paid partially in digital currency, just 3.4% of employees were willing to be paid this way exclusively. They also felt strongly about Bitcoin being the specific coin paid. Coins like Ethereum and Dogecoin were the next most popular choices but were significantly less popular than Bitcoin.

Crypto considerations

Benefits and Drawbacks of Crypto Payments

While you can probably imagine a few potential benefits and a few potential drawbacks to cryptocurrency payments, we wanted to know which ones employees and managers were weighing most heavily in their considerations. Their most commonly perceived upsides and downsides are listed below.

It's important to first note that drawbacks were more commonly mentioned than benefits. More than half of our respondents were wary of the potential market volatility of crypto. Even those who stand to gain from more crypto investments, like online finance company SoFi, have issued warnings that "you could lose all your money" on every trade. Half of our survey takers felt the potential financial loss was a major drawback to getting paid in crypto.

The top benefit to being paid in crypto, according to working Americans, is the belief that it's the future of currency. Financial experts also back this claim, reporting that Bitcoin will redesign money and the financial system as we know it. Other commonly perceived benefits to crypto compensation included the potential for financial gains (41.3%), the diversification of income (38.8%), and the opening of investment opportunities (33.2%).

Crypto as an investment was ultimately still deemed less valuable than a Roth IRA but more valuable than a 401(k). While a Roth IRA is technically a type of 401(k), it does offer more tax advantages than the traditional option. These tax advantages helped it edge out digital currency in terms of investment value, as slightly more than half would currently prefer to invest their cash into a Roth IRA than NFTs. That said, employees were willing to sacrifice a week's worth of vacation days, on average, to receive just a single crypto payment.

Managerial Perspectives

More than 200 of the employees we spoke to were managers, often in charge of hiring and compensation decisions. This last section of our study focuses solely on the responses of these higher-ups.

Managers were actually more likely to be very willing to pay employees in crypto than employees were to receive it. This is in spite of the fact that managers who have already paid employees in bitcoins ultimately paid 45% more, on average, than if the payment had been in USD and in spite of the fact that only 26.3% of managers said they fully understood the legal implications of compensating employees this way.

Where hiring was concerned, cryptocurrency also played a heavy role. Managers of small and large companies alike often looked for cryptocurrency experience when screening potential candidates. Midsize companies (those with 50 to 249 employees) were actually looking for this type of experience more often than not. If you haven't added your own cryptocurrency experience to your resume, you may want to consider it.

To explore this new world of crypto compensation, we recently spoke to more than 1,000 employees and employers to gauge interest and experience. Many had already paid or been paid in cryptocurrency and had important information to share. If you're keen on exploring the option of receiving and giving at least partial payments in digital tokens, keep reading.

Compensation Considerations

Compensation is clearly essential to every company and the livelihood of any employee. As this compensation begins to include cryptocurrency, employees appear willing to go along with the change. Many reported high levels of willingness, incredible returns on investment, and even a desire to pursue jobs that offered the option of crypto compensation.

Managers were also surprisingly open to the idea. Most felt that it represented the future of employment and could even help mitigate America's current labor shortage. With so many potential benefits to both employers and employees, it's encouraging to see the shared enthusiasm of both groups, as well as the great results already seen by employees.

Bitcoin Boss

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Methodology and Limitations

We surveyed 1,002 employed Americans on their opinions about being paid in cryptocurrencies. Of the 1,002 professionals surveyed, 797 were employees and 205 were managers. An attention-check question was used to identify and reject respondents who failed to read questions in their entirety.

The main limitation of this study is the reliance on self-report which is faced with myriad issues, such as, but not limited to, attribution, exaggeration, telescoping, and recency bias.

Fair Use Statement

If your readers are interested in cryptocurrencies or the potential of being paid in them, we encourage you to share the results of this study with them for any noncommercial use. We simply ask that you include a link back to this page in your story so they have access to our full findings and methodology.