A quarter of U.S. freelancers prefer to be paid in crypto, and here’s why you should too

January 24, 2019
Darya Karatkevich

Freelance job markets have significantly expanded over the past few years. According to a study conducted by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, one in three Americans freelanced in 2018. The study also found that an astonishing 56.7 million Americans are freelancing today, and the number is only expected to increase each year.

Freelance websites like Upwork have provided a platform for businesses to expand their search when looking to fill a role requiring a specific skill set. What may surprise you though, is the survey concerning freelancers conducted by Humans.net, which shows that over a fourth of freelancers operating in the U.S. prefer at least a portion of their payments to be paid in cryptocurrencies.

How many freelancers favor crypto payments?

The survey was completed by 1,100 freelancers in the U.S., and asked participants a variety of questions concerning payment methods and cryptocurrencies.

Out of the 1,100 surveyed, 75% said they have heard about cryptocurrencies, while a fourth claimed to have no knowledge of them at all. Considering that most freelance work requires the use of the internet, where news of cryptocurrencies is constantly circulating, the fact that a fourth surveyed haven’t even heard of the technology is astounding.

Out of the 75% of participants who have heard of cryptocurrencies, 10% use them as their main form of currency storage, and 55% claimed to have used them at least once in the past. When asked if participants would like to receive payments in cryptocurrency form, 18% said they would like their full salary to be paid in cryptocurrency, and another 11% said they preferred portions of their payments to be made in cryptocurrencies. Yet, only 4% said they had ever received salary payments in cryptocurrencies.

Why do freelancers love cryptocurrency?

A perk of freelance work is the ability to work remotely. As long as you have a computer and the proper programs, you could be working in a cafe in Japan for a company based in New York.

Freelancing offers the ability to live a nomadic life, but what about when payday comes along? Cryptocurrency offers a variety of payment options, cutting out the middleman. Your computer is the bank, and you’re the teller. A paper check needs to be taken to a bank in order for it to be cashed.

Through their mobile applications, some banks offer the ability to cash checks simply by taking a picture of them, however, most of the time they do not accept foreign checks. And what if the camera on your phone breaks, or something else unexpectedly happens? On the opposite, if a company pays you in bitcoin, it’s simply placed into your bitcoin wallet.

What about wire transfers or PayPal?

Wire transfers are another alternative to paper checks, but they are far from perfect. International wire transfers can take days to be processed, and can range anywhere between 13 to 45 dollars to send depending on the amount of funds and where they are being sent. It may not seem like much, but consider how often payments are made. If a freelancer gets paid bi-monthly, it’ll cost him/her as much as $240 a year in transfer payments.

Of course, technology has advanced so much that we now have services such as PayPal. Even PayPal, however, is plagued by the same processing times and transfer fees associated with wire transfers. Payments conducted through PayPal can take between one to two days to be transferred to your bank in the U.S., and even longer when making international payments. PayPal also charges 2.9% for sales/transactions within the U.S., along with a $0.30 fee for using their service. Want to use PayPal to pay an employee abroad? Then be ready to pay a 4.4% transaction fee along with a fixed fee depending on where your employee is located. PayPal’s fees may be lower than traditional wire transfer fees, but they add up quickly and are not that different in the end.

Enter cryptocurrencies

According to BitInfoCharts, the average transaction fee for bitcoin on the last day of 2018 was just below $0.20, significantly lower than both wire transfers and PayPal. Other cryptocurrencies, such as Dash, have even lower transaction fees.

The vast number of cryptocurrencies means more payment options and transfer fees available to both businesses and freelancers. Compared to PayPal and wire transfer transactions which can take days, cryptocurrency transactions are made within minutes. This speed allows for more freedom with funds. If your employer says they’ll pay you the following day in cryptocurrencies, you know you’ll receive it at that designated time.

A call to rethink freelance payments

With freelance sites and cryptocurrencies, the ability to work online and get paid is more prevalent than ever before. Cryptocurrencies remove all the stress associated with being paid for freelance work. They’re quick, secure, cheap to process and guaranteed, yet only 4% of freelancers are being paid in them.

The typical employers’ argument that cryptocurrencies are too new no longer holds up. The fact that 29% of freelancers would prefer payment in cryptocurrencies is on the table, so isn’t it time to consider more payments in cryptocurrency?

Post written by Darya Karatkevich
Darya is a blockchain market observer with 5+ years of experience as an author and editor for major tech blogging platforms. Her fortes are blockchain technologies and solutions, cryptocurrencies and crypto-related regulations.

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