Business / Corporate

GMO Internet to start paying its employees’ salaries partially in bitcoin


A Japanese company will start paying part of its employees’ salaries in bitcoin as it aims to get a better understanding of the virtual currency, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

GMO Internet — which operates a range of web-related businesses including finance, online advertising and internet infrastructure — will start paying its employees in Japan up to ¥100,000 ($890) monthly in bitcoin from February.

“Employees can receive salaries in bitcoin if they want to,” company spokeswoman Harumi Ishii said.

“We hope to improve our own literacy of the virtual currency by actually using it,” she said.

The offer will be open to around 4,000 employees of the GMO group in Japan, she said.

The company started a bitcoin trading and exchange business in May.

And next month it will enter the so-called “bitcoin mining” business — gaining the right to receive new bitcoins as a reward for helping to keep the network secure by approving transactions.

World bitcoin prices have surged globally this year, soaring from less than $1,000 in January to $17,000 this week.