Despite initially being regarded as a niche product, the popularity of crypto has surged in recent years. 

In fact, 2023 was a record breaking year as the industry totaled more than 420 million global crypto users.

The number of people invested in crypto has only continued to trend upwards since 2018 when, in the course of two years, crypto’s global user base grew by 190%

As the world has become exponentially more interconnected and digital, the understanding that the global economy is trending towards crypto has now become mainstream.

While there are still many challenges and uncertainties associated with cryptocurrencies, their potential to disrupt traditional financial systems and offer new opportunities for innovation and growth cannot be ignored. 

Global Companies Adopt Crypto Payment Systems 

The growing trend of global crypto payments has been driven by several primary factors, including the growing popularity of crypto among consumers and the increasing ease of use and security of web3 payment systems. 

Although the United States remains the leader with the highest number of crypto users, many emerging economies follow close on its heels.

In response to the unstable conditions of emerging markets, crypto has seen a rise in popularity as a more secure option for financial transactions. 

Take the example of Venezuela’s volatile economy. In the wake of economic sanctions, global companies such as Burger King and Pizza Hut began accepting payment in crypto. 

Beyond the case of Venezuela, at present, some of the most influential businesses based in the United States are now allowing for payments to be made in crypto. While AT&T accepts online bill payments in Bitcoin, Microsoft has enabled Bitcoin as an option for adding funds to accounts. 

The shift towards accepting crypto payments is an imperative for staying competitive and meeting the changing needs of consumers in an increasingly digital world. 

What is Crypto payroll?

Crypto payroll is a payment method where workers receive their wages or salaries in cryptocurrencies.

Offering crypto payroll to employees and contractors is a competitive alternative to compensation in traditional fiat currencies. While it most typically involves payment in cryptocurrency such as stablecoins, NFTs and other digital assets can also be a method of payment.

The most popular cryptocurrencies currently used for payroll are:

  • Tether (USDT)
  • USDC
  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum

Why Pay Employees in Crypto? 

Paying employees in crypto is essential for propelling growth in companies that want to stay competitive in an increasingly digital and interconnected global economy. 

Remote teams made up of international workers have come to define the post-pandemic workforce. In their wake, it has become critical to find solutions to the lack of options for efficient, scalable and compliant global payroll. 

Introducing crypto payroll, an alternative to compensation in fiat currency that ensures close-to instant international payments with minimal transaction fees.  

Benefits of crypto payroll include:

  • Financial freedom for employees and contractors.
  • Immediate access to funds.
  • Leverage for attracting and retaining talent. 
  • Global accessibility.
  • Potential for appreciation. 

Expanded Financial Opportunities 

Crypto offers financial freedom that was not previously available through traditional banking systems. The decentralized nature of crypto allows for it to exist outside the control of any centralized authority and represents a meaningful break from the mold of traditional finance.  

Decentralization is a key feature of crypto because it allows for users to interact with their finances directly and without intermediaries. Consequently, transaction costs are dramatically reduced while efficiency is increased. 

This is especially notable when it comes to processing global payments. Deposits made into bank accounts across international borders can result in banks taking fees that amount to more than 66% of the money transferred. In comparison, when processing a payment in crypto using the Arbitrum network, transaction costs come out to an average of $0.307 per transfer

Put simply, a transfer of $100 from a German to a Mexican bank account can leave the recipient with a mere $44, whereas that same transaction on the Arbitrum network allows the payee to collect $99.693. 

With the mass adoption of crypto already underway, global businesses are beginning to realize the potential for new financial opportunities that were previously out of reach. 

Expedited Access to Wages

An advantage of crypto payroll that makes it ideal for issuing both local and international payments is the immediacy with which transfers are received. Unlike wire transfers which can take days to arrive, crypto payments work on block time and can be close-to instant. 

On the Arbitrum network, for example, a transaction such as the transfer of crypto between accounts can be initiated and delivered within minutes. 

When it comes to paying global teams, this feature is critical and can be further leveraged by using a crypto payroll platform that enables mass, automated payouts.  

Attracting Top Talent in a Competitive Market 

Offering crypto payroll as an option for receiving wages carves out an avenue for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors and create a more attractive compensation package. 

This has become especially relevant for hiring as more of the contemporary workforce demands the option to earn in crypto.

At present, over one third of millennials and half of GenZs want to receive at least a portion of their wages in crypto. 

By 2025, 75% of the labor force will be millennials, making their demands more amplified than ever before. 

For future-facing companies, responding to these demands now gives an edge over the competition and offering crypto payroll is a key channel for appealing to this talent pool.

Efficient Global Payments 

The widespread availability and acceptance of cryptocurrency make it an invaluable asset for companies engaging in international contracting.

In numerous countries, the combination of unstable economic conditions and limited banking infrastructure can make it exceedingly difficult for individuals to receive wages from overseas employers.

This situation often restricts the pool of talent that companies can access, limiting their ability to hire the best candidates regardless of geographical location.

Integrating crypto payroll into their payment systems, organizations can bypass these financial barriers.

This approach not only facilitates smoother, more reliable transactions but also significantly widens the scope for hiring, allowing companies to tap into a vast network of global talent.

By leveraging the unique benefits of cryptocurrencies—such as their ability to provide secure, direct, and fast payments across borders—businesses can enhance their operational efficiency and embrace a more inclusive hiring strategy.

This not only benefits the organizations by giving them access to a diverse range of skills and perspectives but also empowers individuals in underserved regions by providing them with opportunities to engage in meaningful employment on the global stage.

How do you pay employees in crypto?

There are many options for paying employees in crypto. While legacy solutions that traditionally dealt solely in fiat currency are now providing crypto payments, there are also a number of next-gen solutions recently on the market, such as Rise.

With Rise you can start paying your global contractors in crypto in four super simple steps:

Onboard your global team compliantly: Automate the way you invite international contractors to join your team, ensuring their local compliance.

In this process your contractors will be get verified with a Rise ID that ensures they passed necessary KYC checks. With the Rise ID you can also see their previous employment history, start pay schedules, initiate payments, approve timesheets, and much more.

Fund your payroll: Set-up deposits from your bank account or company wallet with instant funding from any treasury.

This can be from either a traditional bank or a digital wallet.

Set-up flexible payment schedules: Accommodate the diverse needs of your global workforce and issue instant mass payouts to individuals and teams.

Let contractors withdraw in crypto or fiat: Give them the freedom to withdraw direct to their bank account and/or crypto wallet in their choice of currency.

How to Choose a Crypto Payroll Provider

To choose a crypto payroll provider, it is best to consider these following key factors:

  1. Security: Ensure the provider offers robust security measures to protect funds.
  2. Compliance: Check if they comply with relevant regulations in your jurisdiction.
  3. Supported Cryptocurrencies: Look for providers that support the cryptocurrencies you intend to use.
  4. Ease of Use: Choose a platform with a user-friendly interface.
  5. Fees: Compare transaction and service fees.
  6. Integration: Ensure it integrates easily with your existing payroll system.
  7. Reputation: Research their reputation and read reviews from other businesses.

Ultimately you want to partner with a crypto payroll provider who is going to make your job easier while also giving your contractors more flexibility.

Check Which Cryptocurrencies are Supported

First and foremost, when it comes to choosing a crypto payroll solution it is critical to ensure that the platform’s supported currencies match those held in your treasury. While many platforms only deal in crypto, this can become an issue if your contractors want the option to receive wages in fiat currency as well. 

Additionally, you need to make certain that the payroll solution supports the token in which you hold your treasury. This is a high priority for DAOs who issue payroll in their native token. If the appointed payroll solution does not support this token, it will not be a good match.

An added advantage that certain platforms, such as Rise, provide is the routing between fiat and crypto. This added layer of flexibility allows for companies to fund their payroll in fiat currency while enabling contractors to choose crypto as their payout option, or vise-versa. 

Avoid Exchanges

While some providers will have companies go through crypto exchanges, this can pose many complications to payroll. One of the main risks associated with crypto exchanges is the lack of security. 

They are often targeted by hackers due to the significant amounts of money involved. If a hack is successful, users' funds can be stolen, leading to significant financial losses.

Ensure Compliance

While staying compliant paying global teams in fiat currency can be complicated enough, try adding crypto and its ever-changing regulation into the equation. 

Compliance issues can all-too-quickly arise when issuing global crypto payments across countries that have widely varied and constantly evolving crypto laws. 

Luckily, this is another area where Rise can streamline the process.

You can onboard contractors from over 150 countries and verify their identities as well as complete KYC checks in just a couple of minutes.

We also automate professional service agreements and handle all tax forms for you.

Start Paying Contractors in Crypto with Rise

As we can see, paying global contractors in cryptocurrency is not nearly as difficult as it seems.

In fact, you can onboard, manage, and pay all of your international contractors easily with Rise as we not only handle all compliance issues, but also give you the flexibility to pay your global contractors in the regional currency or cryptocurrency of your choice.

And of course, all payments made through Rise, regardless of the country or the currency, are fully compliant. 

Learn more today about how you can streamline crypto payroll while scaling your global teams with Rise