April 8, 2022 - Wage and Hour

Paying Employees in Cryptocurrency: Is That Lawful?

In recent years, more consumers, merchants, and financial institutions have accepted cryptocurrency as a form of payment for everyday products and services. Last November, mayors of two major U.S. cities signaled what may be the next phase of cryptocurrency’s melding into the mundane, when they announced they would accept paychecks in cryptocurrency. On Twitter, Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami said he would accept his next paycheck in Bitcoin, to which Mayor Eric Adams of New York responded that he would accept his first three paychecks in Bitcoin.

Just as the Mayors are trying to project their cities’ images as leaders in the technology and the crypto-wave, employers are considering paying employees’ wages or other compensation in cryptocurrency in order to position themselves as forward-thinking companies that embrace change and the new. Relatedly, employees may want to be paid in cryptocurrency because of its potential to grow in value. Some experts predict that Bitcoin’s price will continue to grow to $100,000, and therefore some employees may want a portion of their salary to be paid in this dynamic form as a way to structure part of their income as a long-term investment as soon as it’s paid.

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