Throughout the year 2022, the crypto market took a toll from multiple incidents including the LUNA crash and the bankruptcy of FTX. Along with the general market trend towards the bear market, the collapse of the project that once ranked #5 in its market cap out of all cryptocurrencies and the second biggest crypto exchange led people to be disappointed with the cryptocurrency industry in general.
However, despite the above incidents and current market instability in 2022, over the course of the last 10 years, more and more companies and sectors are embracing cryptocurrency payroll for employees. For example, in 2019, companies belonging to the only IT and service sector paid their employees in a variety of cryptos. In 2021, companies from six different sectors (Finance, IT, Manufacturing, Government, Sports, and Media) paid employees in various cryptos and cryptocurrency payments have become more widespread.
According to a research firm ‘IBISWorld,’ the U.S. payroll industry alone is worth $60.4 billion  and it could be disrupted by the powerful tools enabled by blockchain technology. As existing payroll systems today were established on top of traditional banking systems and, therefore, problems such as transaction inefficiencies and high costs due to intermediaries exist within the industry. These problems could be resolved with the adoption of cryptocurrency payroll systems. In this post, we will cover problems that cryptocurrency payroll services can solve, their advantages and what Mystiko can contribute to cryptocurrency payroll services.
- No longer Expensive Cross-border Payroll
One of the main advantages of cryptocurrency payment comes from cryptocurrencies’ borderless nature. In existing banking systems, cross-border transaction fees usually range from 0.4–1.2%  and even more unpredictable costs are involved if it involves intermediaries. For example, as of the second quarter of 2021, the average cost of sending a cross-border payment from the United States was 5.41 percent, and fees may incur additional costs depending on the number of correspondent banks involved in the transaction . Therefore, cross-border payroll often leaves companies with substantial transaction fees. However, companies using cryptocurrencies within payroll solutions can evade these higher fees, which can significantly lower payroll expenses.
For example, according to EY’s hypothetical comparison, it was reported that by using cryptocurrency, the cross-border payment cost could be reduced by 70~80% .
The wider adoption will allow companies of all sizes to reap the benefits of crypto cross-border transactions. For micro-enterprises and SMEs(small and medium enterprises), large transaction fees can cause substantial internal expenses, which larger global companies may be able to cope with. With the adoption of the crypto payroll system, SMEs can benefit greatly from using crypto within payroll systems saving them both time and money when paying multinational staff teams.
According to Allied Market Research, the global-remittances market reached about $700 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2030. Coinbase, a leading US-based crypto exchange, launched a crypto remittance pilot program in Mexico and said in a blog post it will be “still 25–50% cheaper” than traditional cross-border transfers . If such crypto payments catch on, banks and other financial institutions may be forced to rethink their charges to remain competitive.
2. Faster Speed
Another advantage of using cryptocurrencies for transactions is that they are settled almost instantly. Depending on the locations of your staff, equivalent standard banking transactions could take days or weeks to process. For example, SWIFT payments can take between one to five business days . A crypto solution would also accelerate the delivery of a payment to minutes instead of one to two days from up to five days through a wire transfer.
Therefore, companies using cryptocurrencies to pay global teams are able to quickly pay employees, rather than waiting the standard 2–3 working days. This allows for quicker payment times, leaving payroll staff with less need to pre-pay staff ahead of the traditional end-of-the-month payday. This can help optimize payroll solutions and streamline payment systems since cryptocurrency payments can be received the very same day, sometimes instantly.
3. Solution for Weak Local Currency
Companies based in countries lacking in trust in their official currency can benefit from the cryptocurrency payroll as well. The fiat-backed tokens are becoming more popular in South America, where inflation has severely impacted the value of government-backed fiat currency in some nations. The Venezuelan bolivar, for example, has depreciated significantly since June of last year and is down by more than 3000% against the dollar, opening up the potential for USD-backed stablecoins to provide more stability for countries suffering from weak local currencies.
In addition, in Turkey, a financial crisis halved the value of the lira last year, while inflation recently surged above 30%, a two-decade high . While most Turkish citizens looking to avoid the devaluation of their savings in lira tend to reinvest in dollars or gold, an increasing number of younger investors see cryptocurrencies as the way forward. As stablecoin-backed crypto payroll systems are more widely used and accepted, people in countries that are lacking the trust of their currencies will be able to secure their wealth from devaluation.
- Access to Global Labor Markets
According to Bitwage, a cryptocurrency payroll solution, it was noted that remote workers have earned almost half a trillion dollars from US employers so far this year. Some of those workers might be in the same town or country or others might be on the other side of the world. However, the conventional financial system is not well suited to transferring money abroad, especially in small amounts, due to the significant exchange rates and fees entailed. Additionally, some prospective freelancers simply won’t be able to receive money through conventional channels at all, especially if they’re one of the 1.7 billion unbanked people in the world.
Cryptocurrency payroll enables the possibility of working with freelancers across the globe, in any country, regardless of whether they have a bank account or not — giving businesses access to a truly global and competitive labor market. Many freelancers simply prefer to be paid in cryptocurrency, as evidenced by the rapid growth in crypto freelancer platforms such as CryptoTask, LaborX and CryptoGigs. Partly this is down to the advantages of speed and efficiency. But it’s also down to the fact that digital assets are attractive in their own right, especially to millennials .
Millennials might feel that they have been priced out of the stock and real estate markets. Cryptocurrencies might offer an alternative means of building wealth and have developed outside of the system that has excluded younger people. Earning crypto through side jobs or even full-time employment is an attractive option for them. Businesses that cater to this demand by integrating crypto payments have gained a competitive advantage over those that have not been so forward thinking.
2. Stand Out in the War for Talent
Cryptocurrencies may be a niche interest today, but they are increasingly on the minds of millennials and zoomers. Among stock investors in the US aged 18 to 40, 40% own cryptocurrencies, making it the third most popular investment type (ahead of bonds, options and index funds), according to an April 2021 survey by The Motley Fool . Specifically, for investors within Generation Z — the oldest of whom are about 25 — that percentage climbs to 47% in the same survey, and crypto is the second most popular investment, even more than mutual funds.
Being paid in Bitcoin or similar currencies could be a draw to workers who already use and understand crypto.. The option to be paid in cryptocurrencies could give businesses an edge in recruitment and retention compared to competitors, especially if a company pays independent contractors or freelancers in computing and related high-tech fields.
- Value Volatility
Critics of using cryptocurrency for payments pointed out price volatility as a major problem and this issue should be solved for widespread adoption of cryptocurrency payments. How would a sudden and dramatic swing in the value of a cryptocurrency be mitigated? Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, stablecoins are significantly less volatile as they are typically pegged to a fiat currency such as the U.S. dollar.
By opting for only a small portion of salary in a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, or else a greater stake or all in stablecoins such as USDC, it is still possible to take advantage of quick settlements and low transaction fees without exposing to undue risk.
2. Blockchain Privacy Problems
As users of public blockchains can create new public addresses independently, crypto wallets theoretically can provide anonymity. However, the fact that transactions are public means that they can be traced back to individuals. An employee getting paid by their company in crypto might not want their employer to know all of their financial details. To ensure the confidentiality of data held in the blockchain, the data must be encrypted across all public chains.
Otherwise, public blockchains will keep track of all their history in blockchain transactions that link all independent public key addresses to the user. In token-based blockchains, multiple addresses of the same user could be correlated by multi-entry transactions: making all input addresses linkable to the same user.
Mystiko can help protect the privacy of cryptocurrency payroll transactions. By incorporating ZK rollup while lowering gas fees, Mystiko’s multi-chain privacy software development kit will enable crypto payroll solutions to add privacy features so that those employees who do not want their transaction records to be revealed can utilize privacy features.
Although recent events underscore that cryptocurrencies related risks cannot be ignored, companies are constantly seeking new ways to save both time and money, and crypto can be the answer to their payroll solution issues. If this evolution of payments is successful, using digital currencies will allow smaller businesses to save costs for paying multinational staff and exploit new payment innovations, such as hourly payments in real-time.
Crypto is the future of payroll solutions in more ways than one. While there are considerable benefits to payroll solutions, many new companies have found that using crypto in payroll makes a company more attractive to younger talent. More younger people are beginning to enter the workforce and companies have found crypto incentives are making their workplace more attractive to new staff. With Mystiko, these advantages could be enjoyed while privacy concerns are removed. The opportunities are limitless.
Mystiko.Network is the base layer of Web 3 with both connectivity and confidentiality. Leveraging zero knowledge proof with industry leading “zk of zk” technology, Mystiko.Network guarantees interoperability, scalability and privacy all at once. Mystiko.Network is dedicated to protecting on-chain privacy for all and building a healthy financial privacy environment in Web3.
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 Pandya, Bharti, and Priya Rao. “Viability of Compensating Employees in Cryptocurrency Exploratory Study.” Researchgate, Transnational Marketing Journal.
 “Industry Market Research, Reports, and Statistics.” IBISWorld, https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/market-size/payroll-bookkeeping-services-united-states/.
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 “Tales from the Crypto: Lira Crisis Fuels Bitcoin Boom in Turkey.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 25 Jan. 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/jan/21/tales-from-the-crypto-lira-crisis-fuels-bitcoin-boom-in-turkey.
“Five Reasons to Use Crypto Payroll Services for Your Business.” Bitcoinist.com, 12 July 2022, https://bitcoinist.com/five-reasons-to-use-crypto-payroll-services-for-your-business/.
Kharif, Olga. “Coinbase Eyes Challenge to Western Union with Crypto Remittances.” Tech Xplore — Technology and Engineering News, Tech Xplore, 17 Feb. 2022, https://techxplore.com/news/2022-02-coinbase-eyes-western-union-crypto.html.
 “How Digital Currencies Can Help Small Businesses.” Harvard Business Review, 25 May 2022, https://hbr.org/2022/05/how-digital-currencies-can-help-small-businesses.
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