Japanese web giant offers bitcoin salary payments option

The country is becoming an increasing hub for cryptocurrency activity and bitcoin payments are already readily accepted, both on- and offline.

A Japanese web hosting company will enable its employees to receive a portion of their salary in bitcoin from February 2018 as part of its strategy to promote wider adoption of the cryptocurrency.

GMO Internet Group, which employs 4,700 people, intends to start rolling out a new in-house, bitcoin-based payroll system at its GMO Internet Co Ltd subsidiary initially, followed by other parts of the organisation over time. Employees will be able to convert between 10,000 yen (US$88) and 100,000 yen (US$882) of their monthly wages into the virtual currency and, if they do so, will also obtain a 10% bonus of the chosen amount as an “incentive” to continue.
The move follows GMO’s announcement in October that it planned to go for an initial coin offering. It said at the time that the new token involved would be used as part of a payment system for a forthcoming series of products.

The company first entered the cryptocurrency space in May 2017 when it opened an exchange called “GMO Coin”, which provides cryptocurrency trading and foreign exchange. It also intends to launch a new cryptocurrency mining operation in Northern Europe in the first half of 2018.

Japan has become a hub for cryptocurrency-based activity and already has a vibrant merchant ecosystem, where bitcoin payments are readily accepted, both on- and offline.