Employees opting to get paid in bitcoin through Bitwage will now have another option on how to receive their wages.
Bitwage has formed a partnership with Xapo, allowing workers to have their pay deposited directly onto Xapo’s bitcoin-based Visa debit card. The bitcoins can then be spent at any merchant accepting Visa, even if the merchant does not accept bitcoin.
The new feature is touted for effectively bypassing the entire fiat-based financial system. For workers based overseas, getting paid in bitcoin can potentially help them realize significant savings from cross-border transfer/exchange fees. However, the bitcoins remain bitcoins and the user bears all exchange rate risk until they are spent.
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Bitwage allows employees to get paid in bitcoin, even without having their employer or a third party payroll processor sign up to the program. Users don’t need a bank account, making the service more attractive in countries with sizeable unbanked populations. Employers currently using their services consist mostly of bitcoin companies, including Bitreserve, ChangeTip and Coinsetter.
Earlier this year, Xapo announced enhancements to its wallet offering, employing both multisignature technology and physical security measures.
Xapo noted that its debit card is still in beta, and that it’s not available in the U.S. or India.