Bitcoin exchange rate graphic illustration
President Joe Biden told United States federal agencies to regulate cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, like NFTs. Biden maintains that regulating this fast-growing industry is so important that it’s become a “matter of national security.” It’s an interesting point of time for this action, as the crypto market is going through a tumultuous time, losing large amounts of value for its investors.
Regulatory bodies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Internal Revenue Service and FINRA, will likely coordinate their investigations, audits and examinations. They’ll also review whether or not tokens should be considered and registered as securities.
So far, the likelihood of regulation and the “recent crash in the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has not yet affected the rich total compensation packages offered by cryptocurrency firms, according to an analysis by the professional social network Blind.”
The compensation is highly competitive at cryptocurrency exchanges. They also tend to offer remote work options and other great benefits. Typical total compensation packages at bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges usually offer employees equity, stock options and restricted stock units—which could result in future windfalls, if the firm does well.
According to self-reported salary data listed on Blind, here is what people say they earn working in the cryptocurrency space at a top exchange. These numbers are for engineers. The compensation for other professionals, managers and executives may escalate even higher:
The demand for talent for bitcon, digital assets, NFTs and related platforms is blazing hot. A search on LinkedIn’s job site for “crypto” yields 15,433 results in the U.S. There were 4,656 listings for “bitcoin” jobs and 6,381 for “NFTs.” The site, unfortunately, doesn’t disclose the compensation on most of the job listings.
Companies, in an effort to attract and recruit talent, are offering higher wages, sign-on bonuses, remote, hybrid and flexible workstyles, one-on-one mentoring and free college tuition. There is another sweetener that some businesses are considering to attract people to join their firms—paying in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
In 2021, we saw digital assets go parabolic. The number of new crypto projects and the incredible rise in value of the asset class caught America and the world’s attention. To some people, purchasing digital assets was viewed as a hedge against the U.S. dollar that’s being devalued, due to rising inflation and questionable policies from the federal government and Federal Reserve bank. Other folks, especially young people, saw cryptocurrencies as a YOLO (you-only-live-once) trade that could make them rich quickly.
Burdened with heavy college tuition debt payments, exorbitant apartment and home prices, coupled with an alarming inflation rate raising the price of everything, digital assets seemed like the only way to get ahead financially.
If you get paid in U.S. dollars, as inflation increases, the value of your paycheck decreases. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics highlights rising costs. The consumer price index in September spiked 5.4% higher in 2021. The growth was so fast and furious that the U.S. government called for a nearly 6% cost-of-living increase for people on Social Security. This was the largest hike in four decades. Inflation has surged by 7%.
We are seeing signs of change in payments. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said he would take a paycheck “100% in Bitcoin” and will also offer cryptocurrencies to public employees too. Eric Adams, the new Mayor of New York City, similarly announced that he’s looking into paying people in bitcoin and other digital assets, and will accept his first three paychecks in bitcoin. Sports stars “Russell Okung, Odell Beckham Jr. and Aaron Rodgers have all said they will be paid, at least in part, in crypto,” according to Bloomberg.
If you accept a salary in crypto, you have to have a strong stomach and be comfortable with seeing strong gains, along with scary plunges in value. Payment in cryptocurrency is not without risk. There is a lot of volatility in this space.
In 2021, the price of bitcoin hit $67,000 and subsequently plunged to under $30,000, and then bounced back again. Ethereum saw record highs of around $4,800 on December 1, only to see it trade lower at around $3,600 to $3,900. If you were paid in bitcoin, ethereum or other coins at a high point and then the price cratered, you will owe taxes based on the higher value you were paid.
For people who ardently believe in the future of crypto, are open to volatility and risk and have a long-term time horizon, payment in Bitcoin may be an exciting new way to enhance your wealth.
Beckham signed a one-year deal with a base salary of $750,000 and bonuses that could bump it up to $4.25 million. The NFL wide receiver said was taking his entire salary in bitcoin. He reportedly converted a $750,000 paycheck into bitcoin, and may have lost the equivalent of almost $350,000, according to an analysis from MarketWatch. While the price of bitcoin has since somewhat rebounded, it hasn’t fully recovered and remains extremely unpredictable.
It could turn out that bitcoin surges and his next check will be substantially higher. Beckham most likely could afford the wild swings. For others, it’s a cautionary tale to be careful about the vicissitudes of cryptocurrencies and converting your cash salary into highly volatile and largely unregulated digital tokens.