Japanese Internet company offers to pay employees in bitcoin
FOLLOWING on from its formulation of a Bitcoin exchange platform in the first half of 2017, Japanese Internet services provider GMO Internet will begin to offer its employees a portion of their salary in the cryptocurrency.
The move is aimed at improving literacy in the cryptocurrency’s uses and practicalities across its workforce.
“Employees can receive salaries by bitcoin if they want to,” company spokeswoman Harumi Ishii said. “We hope to improve our own literacy of virtual currency by actually using it.”
In early 2018, it also intends to start a mining operation using its own not insignificant infrastructure: a prerequisite for mining bitcoin these days. The increasing popularity of the cryptocurrency means that hashing difficulty levels are climbing and require serious processing muscle (and associated energy costs) to make any significant income.
From February, the company’s 4,000 Japanese employees will be able to receive up to JPY100,000 (US$885) each month in Bitcoin.
The cryptocurrency is increasingly not seen as an everyday medium of exchange, but rather an investment commodity. In this, GMO Internet is certainly not unique: companies often offer their employees share options, pension fund investments and other non-salary incentives. The move into bitcoin is probably best viewed as being part of this ilk.
The reception received by bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Japan is markedly different from the outright suspicion or attempted stricture imposition from other governments around the world.
In contrast to, say, the Chinese government’s statements (although its public statements are, allegedly, quite different from reality on the ground), the Japanese government has embraced the new technology.