Can companies pay wages in virtual currency?

  Huang Shuo

  case review

  In June 2019, Mr. Shen signed a labor contract with a network technology company, stipulating that he will serve as the vice president of the product department, with a monthly salary of 50,000 yuan, and an irregular working system.

On June 16, 2020, Mr. Shen submitted his resignation to the company.

On the grounds that the project was not completed, the company negotiated with Mr. Shen that the resignation time should be until the completion of the project, and promised to pay the full salary until October.

However, until the completion of the project, the company has not paid the full salary for October, and also delayed the payment of year-end double salary, performance bonus, overtime pay, etc. from May 20, 2019 to October 17, 2020.

Mr. Shen sued the court and said that now the company has been cancelled, and the two shareholders, Hu and Deng, should bear legal responsibility for the company's debts.

After the trial, the court ruled that Hu and Deng should pay Mr. Shen a total of RMB 270,000.

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  During the trial, shareholder Hu argued that the company had paid wages in virtual currency based on Mr. Shen's attendance.

Since Mr. Shen has been late for a long time and left early, the evaluation status is C, and the bonus should not be paid to him.

Moreover, the company did not require Mr. Shen to work overtime, and ordering takeout at the company does not mean working overtime.

Moreover, during the performance process, the company actually paid wages in the form of 2,574 yuan + virtual currency USDT after deducting social security and provident funds, which were paid in September and October 2020.

  Upon inquiry, the two parties said that USDT refers to Tether, which is a virtual currency.

After hearing, the court held that, according to the understanding of the meaning of year-end double salary, target performance bonus and target annual bonus in the employment notice, there should be a parallel relationship between the three, rather than an inclusive relationship.

Mr. Shen's claim conforms to the agreement between the two parties and is supported by the court.

Since the existing evidence submitted by Mr. Hu is insufficient to prove his assessment situation and assessment standards, the company, as a performance assessment unit, should bear adverse consequences for this, and it should pay Mr. Shen's target performance bonus and target annual bonus in proportion to 100%.

  Article 50 of my country's Labor Law stipulates that wages should be paid to the laborer himself in the form of currency on a monthly basis.

Article 5 of the "Interim Provisions on Wage Payment" stipulates that wages should be paid in legal currency, and may not be paid in kind and by negotiable securities instead of currency.

Article 16 of the People's Bank of China Law stipulates that the legal tender of the People's Republic of China is the Renminbi.

  In addition, on September 15, 2021, the "Notice on Further Preventing and Disposing of Hype Risks in Virtual Currency Transactions" issued by the central bank, the Supreme People's Court, the Central Cyberspace Administration of China and other ten major departments stipulates that virtual currency does not have the same legal status as legal tender. , Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether and other virtual currencies are not legal compensation, and should not and cannot be used as currency in the market.

  Therefore, the virtual currency involved in this case should not and cannot be circulated in the market as currency, and Hu's request to pay wages in virtual currency should not be supported.

(Author: Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court)