The Israeli high-tech sector is at present experiencing a brutal talent scarcity, with companies having to fight over employees with superior salaries, stock options and better perks. One such company thought of a new way to draw and preserve tech-savvy staff in this difficult situation and atmosphere- ‘offer to pay salaries in bitcoin’. The offer, however, will have to pass the test of country’s authorities’ permission.
Spot.IM, an Israeli Internet Company with offices in Tel Aviv, is in discussions with the Israel Securities Authority (ISA). The meeting is said to be principally about the suitable exchange rate, a serious issue for making this work, and it is probable that the sides will arrive at some agreement in the coming months.
The plan is that any employee, who desires to, can agree to take the total or a fraction of his paycheck in bitcoin, with the company paying the costs of the high shekel conversion fees.
Spot.IM is not part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem but of the well-known Internet industry. Amongst its clients, the company lists Time Magazine, NBC, Huffington Post, Engadget, Fox News and other big names. The Israeli company assists media websites to run their social engagement and other such matters.
The company has raised a total of approximately $38 million since it was founded in 2012, and its latest round in November 2017 fetched in $25 million in Series C funding from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and other venture capitalists.
Israeli law formally recognizes bitcoin neither as a currency nor security, although the tax system does accommodate for counting ‘anything of value’ in calculating salaries. Even if the company does not seek permission of the authorities, they won’t be breaking any law as such. Hence it seems that getting a seal of approval from the state bureaucrats is just to be cautious and to avoid any future complications.
Ido Goldberg, Head of Spot.IM’s operations in the country told 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.”