My employer paid me in crypto. It was up 700% in value. Now he wants employees to return cryptocurrencies and accept dollars

I did a business development job for a contract tech company. The CEO stated that I would be paid in crypto when I started work in the spring of 2020. He added a clause to the contract that said, “The company may choose to pay in USD.”

I removed that part of the contract because if I was going to risk getting paid in crypto and the price suddenly appreciated, I didn’t want the company to pay me back in USD. In August 2020, I received payment for the employment contract in cryptocurrency. Since then, the prices of cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed. As of this point, the crypto that I received the payment in is up 700%.

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“‘I have worked with this person for many years and he has a tendency to try to change the payment terms after agreeing on a certain way to operate.’ ”

Today, I received an email from the CEO that said something like: “Since you did not generate any income for the company and you are not currently doing any follow-up work, please send back all cryptocurrencies received in August 2020. You can invoice the company. company hours worked in USD. “So basically I claim that I can bill in USD seven times less than crypto is worth today! Note that there have been several people trying to sell the company’s solutions. It is a startup and so far, they are still trying to generate their first dollar in sales. The purpose of the contract was to generate sales and included a commission component, but the understanding was that it would bill people by the hour for cold calls and emails, generating proposals organizing meetings, participating and leading launches, etc. with the goal of generating income. I’m not quite sure what to do. I have worked with this person for a long time years and has a tendency to try to change the payment terms after agreeing on a certain way of operating. What do you think is a fair solution? Should I return part of the cryptocurrency for hours worked? What should I tell this employer? Crypto Confused You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at qfottrell@marketwatch.com. Do you want to read more? Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter and read more of his columns here. Dear Crypto, No. Unfortunately, no. No, thanks. Absolutely not. Ask me again in 2121. If the value of the cryptocurrency fell 700% since August 2020, would I want to pay you in dollars? If it suddenly dropped by that amount today, would you follow up with your employees? Not on your nellie. Your employer must abide by the terms of your contract, and any effort to break that contract with nonsense about how employees didn’t do X or Y, meaning they have to be paid one way or another, is an acute practice in the best case and open it. even a lawsuit in the worst case. “A hired employee has even more job security: he cannot be fired for any additional reason identified in the contract,” according to Console Mattiaci Law in Philadelphia. “A contract can contain a variety of terms for employment, including job duties, pay, and layoff protections, but it is against the law for an employer to contract an employee’s right to minimum wage or their right to collect unemployment. ”

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“Whether it’s bitcoin or ethereum, paying employees in crypto is a risky practice for both employer and employee. ”

Even if the contract said you could be paid in dollars or cryptocurrency, asking for your salary back is a completely different matter. “A contract is a contract is a contract,” says Eugene Lee, a Los Angeles-based employment attorney. “Neither you nor your employer can breach a contract without facing the consequences. That is, unless the contract says it’s okay. That is why it is so important that employees keep copies of the contracts they have signed with their employers ”. Be it bitcoin BTCUSD, -2.84% or ethereum ETHUSD, -0.55%, paying employees in crypto is a risky practice for both employer and employee. The value of the currency can go up and down, as you have experienced, and there are tax issues for both the employer and the employee about the appreciation of that currency. Your employer must record the value of the cryptocurrency on the pay date and employees must report their W-2 in dollars, not crypto. Fair warning: you may have a 700% profit today, but that could change in an instant. Hello MarketWatchers. Check out Moneyist’s private Facebook group, where we search for answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or comment on the latest Moneyist columns. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, on all media and platforms, including third parties.