Right now, Israel’s high-tech sector is suffering a talent squeeze, with companies competing ferociously for employees with offers of high salaries, stock options, and business perks abounding. One of these tech companies may have found a way to attract and retain tech-savvy staff in this competitive environment: offer to pay salaries in bitcoin. Now, all it needs is the go signal from the country’s authorities to forge ahead with their plan.
Spot.IM, headquartered in Tel Aviv, is currently in negotiation with the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) the talks are reportedly about the appropriate exchange rate, which is a critical issue for making this idea work., and it is expected that both sides will reach some form of agreement in the coming months, allowing the plan to move forward. The firm has also called the attention of the Israeli Labor Ministry, which says it is looking into the matter.
The company plans for each employee to have the choice to accept their paycheck in either totally bitcoin or a mix of fiat and bitcoin, with the company absorbing the high conversion fees.
Spot.IM is a media-focused firm that helps clients manage social engagement and comments sections on their sites. The list among their clients’ such luminaries as Time Magazine, NBC, Huffington Post, Engadget, Fox News and other big names. The firm has raised about $38 million since its founding in 201, with its latest funding round in November 2017 bringing in $25 million from billionaire Roman Abramovich and other venture capitalists.
While the laws in Israel don’t officially recognize bitcoin as a currency, or a security, the nation’s tax system does accommodate for including anything of value in calculating salaries. With this in mind, the company wouldn’t actually be in violation of the law by not approaching government regulators for permission beforehand. The company’s main goal seems to be mainly to prevent possible future complications with hostile banks and financial institutions by getting approval from the state.
Ido Goldberg, the head of Spot.IM’s operations said in an interview with Israeli newspaper Calcalist that:
“As ones who deal with some of the most advanced technologies every day, we are great believers in the future of cryptographic currencies. Still, currencies are built on trust, and to create such trust companies, organizations and institutions will have to recognize cryptographic currencies as legitimate.”