The recent Bitcoin uptrend has certainly introduced a lot of new people to cryptocurrency. Over in Japan, it is no secret that Bitcoin and some altcoins are extremely popular. In fact, one corporation has shown it is willing to pay its employees’ salaries in Bitcoin. GMO Internet Group’s new payroll system will be available to all of its 4,700+ employees. Whether or not anyone will sign up for this service remains to be seen, though.
GMO INTERNET GROUP LAUNCHES BITCOIN PAYROLL
Even though Bitcoin has suddenly appeared on many people’s radars, there are still issues when it comes to obtaining cryptocurrency. Using an exchange or broker can be a tedious process, mainly because there are very few platforms supporting instant purchases. Bank transfers are expensive and can take several business days, which is far from an ideal situation. Using a Bitcoin ATM is another option, but the commission of 5% or more is too steep for most consumers right now.
Earning Bitcoin is another option worth exploring. Employees can use third-party services like Bitwage to convert (part of) their salaries to Bitcoin without their employers being any wiser. It is a great solution, but it’s still somewhat clunky for most people. The involvement of third parties is always a risk, even though most of these services are perfectly legitimate. GMO Internet Group, one of the Japanese giants embracing Bitcoin, has come up with a better solution for its employees.
More specifically, employees of GMO Internet Co. will soon be able to receive part of their salaries in Bitcoin. The new in-house Bitcoin payroll system will launch in February of next year and will subsequently be rolled out to all other branches of the parent company. That is a pretty big and surprising development, even though Japan has shown a very keen interest in Bitcoin for several months now.
Facilitating salary payments in Bitcoin is not an easy feat. The world’s leading cryptocurrency is notorious for its wild price fluctuations which have only become more violent over time. These days, a US$500 or even US$1,000 price swing is not unheard of. GMO Internet Group will have to use some sort of exchange rate – probably the one maintained by GMO Coins – with the conversion taking place on the day when the salary is paid. This option has an upper limit of 100,000 yen right now, although that may change over time.
It is rather significant to see such a major conglomerate open the door to Bitcoin adoption. In most cases, companies want nothing to do with cryptocurrency, mainly because such payroll features introduce a lot of hassle. If GMO Internet Group’s effort proves successful, however, we may see similar options pop up all over the world. Getting paid in fiat currency will always be preferred, even though such currencies lose purchasing power every year without any chance of recovering the lost value. Bitcoin is a risk as well, but it also has a fair amount of upside potential.
For the time being, it remains to be seen if there is any interest in such a feature. Japan has become a hub for all cryptocurrency activity, and Bitcoin can genuinely thrive in this part of the world. If employees can have part of their salaries paid in Bitcoin, things will only improve from here on out. Japan also has a vibrant merchant ecosystem where Bitcoin payments are readily accepted, both online and offline.