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Finnish HTML5 house SC5 pays salary and accepts payments as Bitcoins (sc5.fi)
40 points by peedro 1649 days ago | hide | past | web | 33 comments | favorite

Good PR, but why would anyone want to get part of their salary paid in bitcoins? You get the disadvantages of both.

Automatic dollar-averaged investment done by the company. I would like that service if I were a regular worker.

In the most volatile stock ever

Wouldn't it be more accurate to call it a commodity? Stocks are (usually) stakes in a company, whose employees are actively trying to make a profit for the shareholders, whereas currencies just kind of... sit there (and move around, more or less randomly, at least, non-predictably).

i believe currencies are traded in the form of FOREX futures, which are contracts that must be settled on a date sometime from now. they are not mediated by an exchange like NASDAQ if memory serves, its just one big crazy open market.

i would say bitcoin trading belongs in the category of DIGEX then, a digital currency exchange.

And the best-performing asset for the last 2-3 years or so? Also pretty natural for high-tech IT company to allow this kind of thing.

Past performance is not an indication of future performance.

I didn't say so.

Unless you don't need to pay taxes if you get your salary in bitcoins :)

If all it took to avoid income tax was to be paid in a different currency then I would assume someone would have noticed that by now.

Personally, I find tax returns are bad enough without including multiple currencies! :-)

AFAIK, it's ambiguous if governments consider BitCoin to be currency. I thought that's why BTC theft is problematic: as far as the law is concerned, nothing of value was taken, and at best you'd have to prosecute under hacking laws, not theft.

(I'm a BitCoin noob, tell me if I'm wrong.) :)

In the UK at least it doesn't matter if you are paid in a currency or not (i.e. "payment in kind") - you'll still have to pay tax on it.

I'd be very surprised if that were true. BTC theft is problematic because the thieves don't get caught surely?

Good luck doing your taxes!

Seriously. Is there any simple guidance on how to figure your income if paid in BTC?

They're still paid in EUR, just getting some of that converted to BTC. If selling the BTC later on makes them a profit, it becomes the responsibility of the employee to report any profits.

The greater problem is how the employer manages to get a hold of larger amounts of BTC needed.

> The greater problem is how the employer manages to get a hold of larger amounts of BTC needed.

If I were the employer, I'd be wringing my hands; for all I know they could've gotten a small fortune in BTC when they were still cheap to generate / purchase, and since then the value of BTC has sixtupled (or more). So, pay their employees without having to spend real money. I'm probably not understanding BTC though.

I'm not sure how the taxes work but wouldn't it be kind of like buying shares as a company that made good profits. It's not free money in the eyes of the tax office.

And it is not free money even if you didn't pay the taxes. Who knew 2 years ago that bitcoin would be trading now at almost $50 a pop? There has always been huge risk with buying bitcoins, since it is so new technology.

> The greater problem is how the employer manages to get a hold of larger amounts of BTC needed.

They are using external service for that AFAIK. The company itself does not manage the bitcoin purchases.

That's true. They're using the Finnish exchanger (Bittiraha) which also provides payment services for world's first Bitcoin-accepting dental clinic (MeidänKlinikka) as well as Finland's first Bitcoin-accepting restaurant (Vegemesta).

I wonder how one would go about taxing bitcoin transactions at all if there is no record that can be tied with certainty to a person.

You probably get the same thing you do with the cash economy where people just make up the lowest figure that sounds vaguely plausible.

The same way they tax transactions in foreign currencies: you self-report taxes. If you don't report all your taxes, and you get caught, then you pay all of those taxes, plus interest (above market-rate interest), plus penalties, and they send you on an all-expenses paid vacation to a federal detention center for a few months or years.

Also, substantially failing to report your income effectively means that your tax year never closes, which means that the IRS has effectively until the end of time to pursue you for unreported income. (Whereas normally there is a 3-6 year statute of limitations for the IRS to audit you.)

The question is, how do you audit somebody? It's easy enough when they have bank accounts that you can look at.

With bitcoin it is like having your money spread across thousands of anonymous bank accounts which are opened by secret handshake.

This already happens with cash tips in the service industries.

Exchange rate at time of payment is what I've always used when handling international transactions.

"Based on cryptography, it is secure and deterministic as we require for digital services."

This is a bad understanding of cryptography. Bitcoin does not provide security in the cryptographic sense, any more than Skype or Hushmail. It uses secure cryptographic primitives but can be successfully attacked (double-spent) in polynomial time.

> It uses secure cryptographic primitives but can be successfully attacked (double-spent) in polynomial time.

Does that kind of sentence promote better understanding how cryptography or bitcoin works for the average Joe?

No, perhaps it would be better phrased as this: Bitcoin does not meet the minimum standard of security required by modern cryptography despite being built on systems that do meet such a standard. Even that phrasing is suboptimal, though, since the definition of "security" for a hash function is different from the definition for a signature system and both are different from the definition used for digital cash.

That seems about as notable as being paid in Turkish lira or in watermelons. Anyone can take their salary in local currency and exchange it for something else. There's little incentive to lock part of your salary in a foreign(?) currency when they "use the daily exchange rate of the payday."

Turkish lira or watermelons aren't relevant to technology professionals.

Neither are bitcoins. Please don't assume that anyone who shares your profession also shares your peculiar political views.

Now.. if only my landlord, baby mama and weed dealer would follow suit....

So is this like company script? I mean I wouldn't want to be paid in BTC unless it was widely accepted.

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