Bitcoin exchange rate graphic illustration


President Job Biden told U.S. federal agencies to regulate cryptocurrencies, digital assets, Bitcoin, and NFTs. Biden maintains that regulating this fast-growing industry is so important that it’s become a “matter of national security.” It’s an interesting point of time for this action as the crypto market is going through a tumultuous time, losing large amounts of value for its investors.  

Regulatory bodies such as the  Securities and Exchange Commission,  the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Internal Revenue Service, and FINRA will likely coordinate their investigations, audits and examinations. They’ll also review whether or not tokens should be considered and registered as securities. 

So far the likelihood of regulation and the “The recent crash in the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has not yet affected the rich total compensation packages offered by cryptocurrency firms, according to an analysis by the professional social network Blind.”

The compensation is highly competitive at cryptocurrency exchanges. They also tend to offer remote work options and other great benefits. Typical total compensation packages at Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges usually offer employees equity, stock options, and restricted stock units— which could result in future windfalls if the firm does well. 

According to self-reported salary data listed on Blind, here is what people say they earn working in the cryptocurrency space at a top exchange. These numbers are for engineers. The compensation for other proffessionals, managers and executives may escalate even higher: 

  • Software engineers and technologists have reported job offers as high as $900,000 a year. The nearly $1-million pay package for a senior staff software engineer includes stock-based compensation of $450,000 a year, plus cash bonuses that range from 5% to 15% of an employee’s base salary. These professionals can easily command total compensation packages earning more than $1.5 million.
  • An infrastructure engineer may earn  $672,550 a year broken down by a base salary of $237,000, cash bonus of around $35,550, along with stock-based compensation potentially worth $400,000.
  • $464,500 a year for a senior staff software engineer who said they could earn a base salary of  $230,000, cash bonus ranging up to $34,500, and stock-based pay of about $200,000.
  • Another senior software engineer, deciding whether or not to stay at the current company or move to a digital asset firm, contemplated an offer of $401,600 a year— comprised of a $206,000 base salary, cash bonus of $206,000 and cash bonus of $20,600, followed up with a stock-based pay of $175,000 
  • Asking advice from the members of the verified anonymous platform, a job hunter asked about the fairness of a possible offer of  $362,000 a year for a senior protocol engineer role. The person wanted to get a sense if the total package— including restricted stock units, with a base salary of $170,000, cash bonus of $17,000 and stock-based pay of $175,000—was reasonable.

The demand for talent for Bitcon, digital assets, NFTs and related platforms is blazingly hot. A search on LinkedIn’s job site for ‘Crypto’ yields 15,433 results in the U.S. There were 4,656 listings for “Bitcoin” jobs, and 6,381 for “NFTs.” The site, unfortunately, doesn’t disclose the compensation on most of the job listings. 

Companies, in an effort to attract and recruit talent, are offering higher wages, sign-on bonuses, remote, hybrid and flexible workstyles, one-on-one mentoring, and free college tuition.  There is another sweetener that some businesses are considering to attract people to join their firms—paying in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. 

In 2021 we saw digital assets go parabolic. The number of new crypto projects and incredible rise in value of the asset class caught America and the world’s attention. To some people, purchasing digital assets was viewed as a hedge against the U.S. dollar that’s being devalued due to rising inflation and questionable policies from the federal government and Federal Reserve bank. Other folks, especially young people, saw cryptocurrencies as a YOLO (you only live once) trade that could make them rich quickly. 

Burdened with heavy college tuition debt payments, exorbitant apartment and home prices, coupled with an alarming inflation rate raising the prices of everything, digital assets seemed the only way to get ahead financially.

If you get paid in U.S. dollars, as inflation increases, the value of your paycheck decreases. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics highlights rising costs. The consumer price index in September spiked 5.4% higher in 2021. The growth was so fast and furious that the U.S. government called for a nearly 6% cost-of-living increase for people on Social Security. This was the largest hike in four decades. Inflation has surged by 7%.

We are seeing signs of change in payments. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said he would take a paycheck “100% in Bitcoin,” and will also offer cryptocurrencies to public employees too.  Eric Adams, the new Mayor of New York City similarly announced that he’s looking into paying people in Bitcoin and other digital assets, and will accept his first three paychecks in Bitcoin. Sports stars “Russell Okung, Odell Beckham Jr and Aaron Rodgers have all said they will be paid at least in part in crypto,” according to Bloomberg. 

If you accept a salary in cryptos, you have to have a strong stomach and be comfortable with seeing strong gains along with scary plunges in value. Payment in cryptocurrencies is not without risk. There is a lot of volatility in this space.

In 2021 the price of Bitcoin hit $67,000 and subsequently plunged to under $30,000, and then bounced back again. Ethereum saw record highs of around  $4,800 on Dec. 1 only to see it trade lower at around $3,600 to $3,900. If you were paid in Bitcoin, Ethereum or other coins at a high point, then the price cratered,  you will owe taxes based on the higher value you were paid.  

For people who ardently believe in the future of cryptocurrencies, open to volatility and risk, have a long term time horizon, payment in Bitcoin may be an exciting new way to enhance your wealth.

Beckham signed a one-year deal with a base salary of $750,000 and bonuses that could bump it up to $4.25 million. The NFL wide receiver said was taking his entire salary in Bitcoin. He reportedly converted a $750,000 paycheck into bitcoin, and may have lost the equivalent of almost $350,000, according to an analysis from MarketWatch. While the price of bitcoin has since somewhat rebounded, it hasn’t fully recovered and remains extremely unpredictable.

It could turn out that Bitcoin surges and his next check will be substantially higher. Beckham most likely could afford the wild swings. For others, it’s a cautionary tale to be careful about the vicissitudes of cryptocurrencies and converting your cash salary into highly volatile and largely unregulated digital tokens.