Future Friday: Digital paychecks, digital money and the effect on payroll

by Michael Haberman on May 1, 2015 · 1 comment


We have all heard of Bitcoin, at least the name, and we are aware that it is “digital” money. According to on futurist digital money will be the currency of all future transactions. This means we will be paying employees in digital money.

Our bank in our hand

Futurist James Canton writes in his book Future Smart:

“Digital currencies will play a vital role in making Globalization 2.0 more productive. I forecast that digital cash, also known as crypto-currencies, such as Bitcoin and others, have the potential to transform the global payment systems. These virtual currencies will provide easier and more cost-effective solutions for trade.”

The reason this will occur is that our smart phones will become our banks and every transaction will use digital cash. Canton says “we will see digital currencies transform the global payment infrastructure, bringing financial access to millions, maybe billions of entrepreneurs around the connected planet.”

Paying employees

Digital currencies, according to Canton, have shown to increase efficiency and decreasing costs in transferring money from one place to another. If it works for buying goods and services it should also work to pay employees. This has the potential for radically changing payroll. How much can a company save by changing their payroll to digital forms of payment? We have already seen that trend with the advent of direct deposit. So how big of a change will it be to change to digital currency? It would certainly make paying global employees and independent contractors much easier.

Problems

Naturally there will be problems. One will be having a widespread system that is accepted by everyone and getting employees to accept it. There are still some employees that want to have that paper paycheck in their hand. There are still some bosses that like to hand out checks, it makes them feel important. But more and more employees have come to accept the concept of direct deposit and have gotten comfortable with the money just showing up in their bank accounts.

Government regulation is another issue. The FLSA requires that overtime be paid in “cash”. Many state laws specifically require that people be paid in cash. Governments were slower to allow direct deposit than the industry would have liked. The question then becomes will regulation be changed fast enough to allow companies to pay employees in digital currency? The year 2025 is a mere ten years away.

The last roadblock will be the banking industry itself. How will they embrace digital currency? Will your bank on the corner become a thing of the past? Who knows the banks may love it as it will radically cut their operating costs.

So HR professional are you ready for the transition to a world of digital currency? Leave a comment and tell me if you would embrace digital currency as a way to get paid?


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

DJ Drummond May 4, 2015 at 5:29 pm

This is an obscenely ill-conceived idea. One might as well pay in Unicorn sparkles or fairy dust. There is a reason “legal tender” has a specific legal meaning, and “digital currency” falls far below that standard.

This is possibly the worst idea I have seen in print in the past two years.

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