Despite Setbacks Crypto Wages Still an Option for Russians, Poll Finds
Crypto markets have passed through hard times this year but cryptocurrency remains a viable remuneration option for businesses in the industry and their employees in Russia, new numbers and estimates suggest. The observation is valid for many companies and contractors around the world as a number of platforms now match employers and job seekers in the crypto space.
Half of Fintech Firms in Russia Pay With Coins, Estimate
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Cryptocurrencies are yet to be legalized in the Russian Federation but a growing number of its citizens and businesses are earning their money in the crypto-space. Deputies in Moscow have postponed the final adoption of the draft legislation introduced in the Duma this spring and it’s been reported that the latest version of the law “On digital financial assets” does not even mention cryptos. Nevertheless, the industry is constantly expanding – the number of mining enterprises has increased by 15 percent this year, there is a strong demand for crypto experts, and the average salary in the sector is four times higher than the nation’s average monthly wage.
Russian crypto media have recently reported that around half of the local ICO projects and crypto companies use digital assets to settle their bills despite its unregulated status and unclear future in the country. Up to 50 percent of these businesses deal with their counterparts in cryptocurrency, according to Philipp Khomenok, Community Relations and Marketing Manager at Confideal, a service that helps clients create smart contracts on the ethereum blockchain. Many of these companies also pay their employees and contractors with digital money rather than fiat. This is often the case when Russian businesses hire foreign talent and expertise.
“If the legislation allows you to pay workers with cryptocurrency, a rather simple, completely transparent and ‘white’ scheme is applied, which allows you to collect taxes and other obligatory payments…If a country’s legislation does not allow crypto accounting, then all salaries will be ‘black,’” says Dmitry Lazarichev, co-founder of the popular European crypto card and wallet provider Wirex, quoted by the Russian outlet Bloomchain.
Crypto Salaries Gaining Popularity Around the World
Different payment options are available and the UK-based Wirex pays wages in bitcoin core, U.S. dollars or both. According to Lazarichev, around half of its employees receive their salaries in BTC. Japanese internet giant GMO introduced a similar salary payment system in December. Other companies like Bitcoin.com use bitcoin cash (BCH) for accounting and remuneration purposes taking advantage of its fast and low-cost transactions. Ethereum and ripple are two other popular choices in Russia. Many ICO startups use their own tokens.
Salaries are often agreed as a fixed amount in fiat currency and then paid in cryptocurrencies according to the current exchange rate. A number of services are now matching employers with job seekers in the crypto space. Some of them, like Bitwage, allow companies to pay their remote contractors in dozens of fiat currencies and popular digital coins. Other platforms, such as Dream, Bitgigs, and Coinality, help companies find freelancers willing to accept crypto payments for their help, the publication details. Sites like Cryptojobs, Cryptojobslist, Cryptocurrencyjobs post openings with crypto salaries.
Youngsters and Men More Likely of Accept Wage in Cryptocurrency
This year’s market downturns are a sign of a weakening appetite for cryptocurrencies. Nevertheless, many Russians would still like to receive some of their monthly wages in crypto, according to a study conducted by the Russian jobs portal Superjob. The platform has been measuring their attitudes since the beginning of the year and despite the declining interest, 5 percent of the 1,600 respondents from all Russian regions polled in October said they wanted to get at least part of their salary in digital coins. That’s 7 percent among men and Russians in the age group 25-35, and 8 percent among youngsters, 18-24 years old.
According to results from another survey, published in September by Chronobank, an HR company working in the industry, only 30 percent of the Russians who receive compensation in cryptocurrency are ready to pay taxes. At the same time, almost half of the Russian respondents, 48 percent, admit they are aware that salary payments in cryptocurrency are not yet legalized in their country. If that ever happens is still an open question in Russia.
According to the latest reports from Moscow, the executive power intends to regulate the sector in cooperation with the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Speaking to the Rossiya 24 channel, President Putin’s special representative for the digital and technological development, Dmitry Peskov, noted that the partnership with FATF is under consideration due to the high risks associated with the industry. He also admitted that the system evolves much faster than laws can be written and added that the adoption of a comprehensive law might not even happen. The new FATF crypto standards are expected by the end of October.