“How to Buy Bitcoins? Ask Your Employer” as BitPay Releases Payroll API

Among providers or bitcoin merchant tools, Coinbase has been grabbing the headlines as of late thanks to its announcement of

Among providers or bitcoin merchant tools, Coinbase has been grabbing the headlines as of late thanks to its announcement of a $25 million series B funding round, along with being selected by Overstock.com to power that eCommerce company’s new bitcoin payment processing.  Coinbase also has the advantage of garnering wider exposure as it provides services to both individual consumers and businesses.

While often overshadowed by Coinbase in the US, BitPay, has been more quietly rapidly expanding its user base or merchants, as it announced this week that it has surpassed 20,000 approved merchants using its service, 29% the 15,500 figure announced a month ago . Among them includes Zynga which launched a pilot program of games available for purchase using bitcoin and WordPress.

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Among new initiatives, the firm has announced that they have released a beta version of their bitcoin payroll API.  According to BitPay’s public release, the product will allow employers to pay their W-2 employees a percentage of their net pay with bitcoins.

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The payroll API works with participating employers connecting their payroll to service, with employees delegating whether they want to opt into the plan on their side.  According to BitPay, the company created the payroll API for its internal use to pay employees with bitcoins, with 100% of their staff receiving at least a portion of their salaries in bitcoins.

In terms of taxation, BitPay CFO, Bryan Krohn explained in the company’s press release that “This also clarifies the tax question around bitcoin. Since all payroll and withholding taxes are taken out first from the employee’s gross income, bitcoins can be sent from the net pay tax-free, and the employer’s gross income reporting to the IRS remains unchanged.”

Also commenting about the new product, BitPay Co-Founder and CEO, Tony Gallipi stated that “For the longest time the hard question was ‘How do I buy bitcoin? Now the answer is easy: ‘Ask your employer.’”

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