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Posts tagged as “payroll”

Virtual Currency & Payroll: What HR Pros Need to Know

As most HR and payroll professionals will attest, people are very particular about their pay as are the companies that pay them. Believe it or not, some US companies still pay people exclusively in cash—presumably to get around paying taxes or to avoid having to document paying people who are unauthorized to work in the country. Other companies refuse to even cut paper checks, instead requiring all employees to be paid by direct deposit. This is perfectly legal as long as the employer does not control which bank or account employees use. Other employers, particularly startup companies, pay their employees exclusively in equity. Others pay mostly in stock or in a combination of salary, stock, “cafeteria plan” benefits and fringe benefits. Freelancers may be paid ACH deposit to their bank accounts through sites like UpWork, Freelancer or even PayPal. The newest form of payment to emerge isn’t even “real” currency—that is, it isn’t tied to a country’s official currency. It’s called virtual currency, and its use as a payment method has important implications for payroll. What Is Virtual Currency? Virtual currency or cryptocurrency is “the digital representation of value that is issued and controlled by its developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific (virtual) community.” Unlike traditional currency, which has more of a stable value, virtual currencies are a hybrid that is best described as part stock, part cash. Because you can spend virtual currency online the same way you can spend pounds or dollars, it is like traditional money. And because transactions occur independently from formal banking systems and are untraceable, they are more like physical cash. The speculative nature of cryptocurrency, however, makes it more like stock. The number of people willing to use and accept the currency plays a large role in its value. How many people use virtual currency? Since the appearance of bitcoin in 2008, cryptocurrency has slowly grown in popularity. Coinbase, a digital wallet used to hold, buy or sell your bitcoins, ethereums or litecoins, currently claims to have served more than 10 million users worldwide. Yet, many people don’t know what a bitcoin is. As of 2014, “76 percent…

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