It’s no secret that cryptocurrencies are prone to dramatic fluctuations, but despite this reality a new survey has found that at least 1 in 4 (about 24%) of Aussies want their salaries paid out, at least partly, in bitcoin.
The surprising finding was made by comparison website Finder, after surveying 1,000 Australians about their preferences for payment.
According to the survey, the main reasons for respondents preferring a bitcoin payment was that they thought the currency was rising steadily (14%), or they viewed it as a good way to invest their pay and make a bit of extra cash before tax time (10%).
Applied to the general population, the survey findings show that approximately 4.7 million Australians would opt for a Bitcoin payment. That’s no small number, but it’s about on par with the number of Aussies that currently own cryptocurrencies.
Some of these may already be getting salary payments in cryptocurrency, since a slew of companies, especially digitally progressive fintech companies, are already offering the choice of cryptocurrency salary arrangements in Australia.
Finder itself is one of those companies. It offers employees the chance to take home 25% of their pay as bitcoin. Other companies have gone one better than that – the ABC reports that bitcoin bill payments company, Living Room of Satoshi, is offering employees the chance to pocket their entire salary in bitcoin.
When it comes to which gender wants bitcoin pay the most, the survey found men (14%) were more than twice as likely as women (8%) to want the alternative payment method. The survey also revealed a link between the amount of pay Aussies were getting and an affirmative answer, with the highest number of yeses coming from men reaping $100K or more in their annual paycheques.
In terms of age demographics, younger generations proved to be more open-minded about bitcoin. Gen Xers lead the way, with 22% indicating they would want the arrangement. Millennials came in a close second with 19% claiming it would be their preference. Yet just 1% of Baby Boomers thought that it was such a good idea, revealing a more cautious mindset around bitcoin and cryptocurrency in the 55-75-year-old age bracket.
But with cryptocurrencies more volatile than normal currency, is it risky business? The short answer is it could be... Although it’s gradually becoming more mainstream, bitcoin is still a bit of an unknown quantity as an accepted payment method and can be subject to big price dips and falls with any kind of announcement about it being accepted or shunned.
For example, In the last couple of weeks bitcoin holders have been through hair-raising moments as the currency yo-yoed up and down on the back of announcements from Tesla CEO, Elon Musk.
Musk, who tweeted that his company could be dropping the cryptocurrency, later clarified in a statement that Tesla had not sold any of the cryptocurrency it owns, by which time its price had dropped by 20%.
Yet even during a drop of this magnitude, bitcoin diehards remained unphased, quickly pointing to its longer-term rises as evidence of its suitability as a currency and investment, and they may have a good case. In just the last 12 months the value of bitcoin has risen from US$10,000 to US$57,000, which is a staggering increase for any kind of currency.
There could be more big moves on the way too. According to the panel average on Finder’s Bitcoin Price Predictions Report, bitcoin could rise to AU$107,484 this year, before finishing off the year around AU$94,967 - that’s 83% higher than what the panel predicted in December 2020.
Taylor Blackburn, personal finance specialist at Finder, urged Aussies to do their research before deciding to take home any digital cryptocurrencies in their pay-packets. “Like with any investment, there are risks involved with cryptocurrencies. But with high risk can come high reward. Be sure to do your due diligence so you know what you’re getting into,” he said.