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Is Accepting Crypto Salaries Worth It? Experts Unpack 4 Drawbacks to Know

Shalini Nagarajan
Last updated: | 2 min read
Crypto salaries

Fueled by a desire for greater flexibility, the exploding popularity of freelancing is ushering in the era of the “crypto worker,” where traditional salaries are swapped for crypto payments.

Crypto payments have gained significant traction recently as a way for freelancers to be paid on their terms.

A recent survey revealed 93% of freelancers around the world want to be paid in crypto or stablecoins. This surge in interest stems from the frustration many face with foreign exchange hassles. Transaction fees and exchange conversions make working with international clients a challenge. Crypto offers a potential solution, streamlining payments and eliminating these roadblocks.

Cryptonews tapped into expert insights to explore the potential pitfalls of crypto salaries.

KYC and AML Rules Pose Challenges

While crypto salaries might seem trendy, Felix Shipkevich, founder of New York-based law firm Shipkevich PLLC, warns they can be trickier than traditional methods.

The main culprit? Crypto’s notorious volatility. Unlike a steady paycheck, Bitcoin and similar currencies can swing wildly in value. This means freelancers could see their hard-earned income shrink before they convert it to usable cash.

And even though Bitcoin’s price has been on a tear, skeptics warn its future remains a gamble. Shipkevich indicated that stablecoins instead offer more stability. But their value is still tied to potentially risky reserve assets.

He also said that freelancers need to navigate a technical learning curve. They would have to understand digital wallets, blockchain, and the intricacies of crypto transactions. To top it all off, ever-changing crypto regulations throw tax compliance into a spin. These headaches can vary by location and may require specialized accounting help.

Further, KYC (know-your-customer) and AML (anti-money laundering) regulations are tightening. This requires freelancers to jump through hoops with identity verification and transaction limits. In short, crypto salaries come with a hefty dose of complexity.

Tax Bill Might Burst Your Bubble

Daniel Krupka, chief research officer at Coin Bureau, said that unlike the simplicity of fiat taxes, crypto throws a wrench into the equation.

“Whereas it’s easy to calculate how much you owe in taxes with fiat payments, it’s less easy with crypto payments, particularly volatile cryptos like BTC,” he said.

Is it a capital gain, regular income, or something else entirely if you hold onto that Bitcoin and its value skyrockets? Krupka emphasizes that the tax headaches, especially with volatile cryptos, might outweigh the initial appeal of crypto payments for freelancers.

Hurdles in Crypto to Cash Conversions

Daniel Fayemi, a backend engineer at Bitvavo, said that converting crypto to cash (off-ramping) can be challenging depending on your location. For instance, in the Netherlands, strict regulations limit the amount of money you can move off an exchange without providing personal details.

Stablecoins Outshine Crypto for Payments

Matthew Leising, co-founder at DeCential Media, said that stablecoins offer an excellent choice for freelancers familiar with crypto and are relatively straightforward for newcomers to establish.

Stablecoins also provide an opportunity to earn a respectable yield within the crypto economy, such as the current 5.1% on USDC at Coinbase. However, a potential challenge arises with the freelancer’s bank, which may be hesitant about facilitating crypto transactions, especially when converting earnings into US dollars or other fiat currencies, Leising said.

According to Rebecca Liao, CEO of Saga, the good news is that legislators and presidential candidates are increasingly embracing crypto. She believes that once comprehensive crypto legislation is enacted in the US, freelancers will extensively receive payment in stablecoins.