UPDATE (7th April 13:40 GMT): GSM Solutions’ Managing Director Alan Donohoe has responded to our email, explaining that the employees who are receiving part of their pay in bitcoin work in the head office:
"We believed it best to start with our head office where we have five employees who work with bitcoin on a daily basis, so they understood the importance of this step in the evolution of bitcoin in Ireland."
He adds that: "Paying our staff in bitcoin is another step in the direction of helping to extend the bitcoin ecosystem into our economy."
An Irish company has begun paying its employees' salaries in bitcoin.
Dublin-based electronic repairs firm GSM Solutions, which hosts Ireland’s first bitcoin ATM, is now paying five of its employees partly in bitcoin instead of euros.
“We set salaries in euros, so that the euro amount they get each pay period does not fluctuate with the price of bitcoin,” said GSM Solutions’ Managing Director Alan Donohoe in a blogpost.
Although more and more companies are letting their customers pay them in bitcoin, the number of people happy with receiving their salary exclusively in digital currency has remained relatively small.
As you might expect, they tend to be people working in tech jobs, like the employees of Polish web design company El Passion, who were given the choice to be paid in bitcoin last December. The Internet Archive and Coinbase, too, pay some or all of their employees in bitcoin.
But it’s not only tech heads: Tony Vaughn, a small town sheriff from Kentucky, became the first US government employee to be paid in bitcoin.
GSM says it hopes to convert the rest of its employees to bitcoin by the end of the year, which would make it the first company in Ireland to pay all of its employees in the currency.
As well as being a symbolic gesture – nothing says ‘tech savvy’ like ‘we pay our employees in bitcoin’ – the move could help to support the local bitcoin economy by encouraging more spending in the cryptocurrency.
However, paying salaries like this does come with complications for both companies and staff. For companies, extra care needs to be taken to ensure that all the appropriate taxes are accounted for at the correct fiat value, something that BitPay’s Bitcoin Payroll API is designed to make easier.
For staff, fluctuations in the value of bitcoin could mean that your salary gets smaller moments after you receive it, which could explain why GSM is only paying “part” of its employees salaries in digital currency.
Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay.
Bitcoin image via Shutterstock
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