A Japanese internet company with the bitcoin bug will soon allow its employees to receive some of their salaries in the form of cryptocurrency.
Tokyo-based GMO Internet Group announced the new payment option will launch in February 2018, according to digital currency news site coindesk.com. GMO said the option will gradually be opened to all of its more than 4,000 full-time employees.
Those opting in to the new scheme will be able select what portion of their monthly salary to receive in bitcoin between a minimum of 10,000 yen (around $88) and a maximum of 100,000 yen ($882), according to coindesk.
GMO is even reportedly offering an incentive for those who join the new payroll system—a bonus of 10 percent of the selected bitcoin amount.
While Japanese labor laws stipulate paying salaries in yen, GMO told Kyodo News that it was not breaking any regulations since the bitcoin payment would be optional, based on mutual agreement and deducted from an employee’s monthly paycheck.
The tech company, which registers domain names and offers web hosting and other services, joined the bitcoin spree this past May with the opening of an exchange, GMO-Z.com Coin, which was later rebranded as GMO Coin. In September, GMO announced it would invest $3 million in mining bitcoin — the process of obtaining the coin through powerful computers — starting in the first half of 2018.
The firm says it believes cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will evolve into “universal currencies” available to anyone globally, leading to a “new borderless economic zone.”
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But not everyone is so optimistic about the rise of digital currencies. A mounting number of experts have warned of a potential bubble effect.
Earlier this week, Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller compared bitcoin to a “contagion” with rapid price fluctuations reflecting the “intensity of the epidemic”.
According to Japanese bitcoin monitoring site Jpbitcoin.com, in November, yen-denominated bitcoin trades reached a record 4.51 million bitcoins, or nearly half of the world’s major exchanges of 9.29 million bitcoin.