Blockchain 101 | Legal Issues while Paying Employees with Crypto in Hong Kong | When Employment Law Meets Cryptocurrency | Looming Threat of Hyperinflation of Fiat Money

Blockchain 101 | Legal Issues when Paying Employees with Crypto in Hong Kong | When Employment Law Meets Cryptocurrency | Looming Threat of Hyperinflation of Fiat Money

“I’m going to take my next paycheck 100% in bitcoin… problem solved!”

– Mayer Francis Suarez

Introduction | The Looming Threat of Hyperinflation

The period of COVID-19 and exchange wars prodded a global weapons contest in printing cash. With China’s financial authority having detailed the giving of more than 9.62 trillion yuan in 2021 and 13 trillion dollars imprinted in the United States separately, numerous specialists cautioned that the act of printing cash to balance shortages will bring about major monetary risk.

Without an uncertainty, this isn’t the initial time in mankind’s set of experiences where an administration’s choice to print a lot of cash brought about out of control inflation, most strikingly, the Yuan Dynasty, a choice which extreme lead to the tradition’s breakdown. Different cases remember the Crisis of the Third Century for Ancient Rome and the 1,000,000% expansion of the drachmae.

Cryptocurrencies | Hedge Against Inflation

One of the expressed goals of Bitcoin is for the virtual money to turn into an expansion support. To this end, the hypothesis behind Bitcoin as an expansion fence while the quantity of Bitcoin is restricted to 21 million, the quantity of U.S. dollars (or other government issued money) regularly increments over the long run at the circumspection of the host government.

As such, with the approaching possibility of out of control inflation not too far off, digital currency as the mechanism of renumeration is acquiring ubiquity, with an always expanding number of managers are beginning to think about paying pay rates to their workers in cryptocurrency.

Potential Legal and Regulatory Issues | Dawn of CryptoSalaries

Pursuant to the Employment Ordinance (Cap.57), except if in any case determined, “wages” implies all compensation, profit, remittances (counting voyaging recompenses, participation stipends, commission, additional time pay), tips and administration charges, but assigned or determined, equipped for being communicated as far as cash. Taking into account specialists declining to perceive crypto as cash, it stays muddled whether the Labor Department or the Hong Kong courts will regard cryptographic money as “wages” under the Employment Ordinance.

Further, the way that the worth of cryptos is definitely more unstable than different resources, such instability might imply that businesses may, actually talking, face the gamble of being denounced that it has not conformed to the lowest pay permitted by law prerequisites (for marginal installment occupations) as expected under the Minimum Wage Ordinance (Cap.608).

Lastly, there is the issue of expense detailing by managers that should be thought of. To this end, one of the primary attractions for expats to work in Hong Kong lies in Hong Kong’s duty system. The way that not at all like the United States, Hong Kong has no worth added charge system, Hong Kong stays an ideal place for affecting installment in cryptos.

That said, in March 2020, the Inland Revenue Department (“IRD”) gave over the changed Departmental Interpretation and Practice Notes No. 39 (“DIPN 39”) covering computerized economy, electronic trade and advanced assets.

In specific, the IRD came to the view that compensation made in crypto should be dependent upon pay tax assessment. Accordingly, compensations charge treatment will be appropriate to pay from business paid in crypto. The two managers and workers, all things considered, have announcing commitments to proclaim how much pay got in digital money, gave that the agreement to crypto is “wage” fundamentally (for example salaried employment).It was additionally offered that the benefit announced ought to be at the market rate at the hour of the payment.

Note: Although DIPNs are, actually talking, not legitimately restricting on citizens in Hong Kong, DIPN 39 did regardless reveal insight into the understanding and appraisal of digital forms of money by IRD.

Given the conditions, until such matters are alluded for settling, it is not yet clear how tax collection from crypto-pay will be evaluated by the IRD and the Courts.

Professional Conduct Consideration

Insofar as the lawful practice is concern, it is not yet clear that a Law Firm have virtual cash accounts (either for client’s cash or office cash) affecting installment in compensation as virtual resources as endorsement from the Law Society (which normally accompanies a review of the company’s records) will be expected before the equivalent might be brought operational.

Global Developments

The late mooning of cryptos and danger of out of control inflation has turned many individuals to investigate cryptos as the better method of store for esteem. Accordingly, a reference ought to be made by different locales across the globe:

Japan: Since 1 April 2017, the idea of “virtual currencies” has been brought into the regulation in Japan with cryptos being viewed as a completely sanctioned method for installment. This has incited GMO Corporation to put 4,700 of its representatives on crypto payroll.

United States: American specialists has been known to have facilitated a positive climate for cryptosalaries. As indicated by a concentrate by Bitwage, it was recommended that 10.5% of organizations overviewed pays their representatives, essentially to some extent, in virtual assets.

Other Benefits

Lastly, let us not fail to remember that one of the advantages of cryptos is the accessibility to carry out shrewd agreements. This is alluring for some as, where renumeration eliminates the human and additionally ‘discretionary’ factor (e.g., where one’s reward is determined by equation and naturally affected), it will establish a possibly more attractive workplace with less work disputes.


All altogether, very much like how crypto became unavoidable, so will bosses paying in cryptos likewise be inescapable. Firms and organizations will be astute to have the offices expected to deal with such arrangement.

This article was first distributed in the Hong Kong Lawyer, the authority diary of The Law Society of Hong Kong.

This article is co-created by Erin Ching of Women Unbounded Mentorship Programme.

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