Several months after becoming one of the first Poland-based businesses to accept payments in bitcoins, web developer and design company EL Passion made the news again when it offered its employees the chance to receive their salaries either partly or entirely in bitcoins.
The EL Passion website states that:
“After much interest in the company about bitcoin and crypto-currencies in general, we’ve decided to provide our employees with the choice of having their salaries paid in bitcoin. This makes EL Passion the first company in Poland to pay salaries in bitcoin.
“Open source is a big part of our company culture, so sending bitcoins peer-to-peer is a logical step forward for us.”
The reaction by the team at EL Passion to the possibility of receiving their salaries in bitcoins was very enthusiastic, more than half of the staff were keen on the idea of getting paid either partially or wholly in bitcoin:
“Most of the salaries were paid in part in bitcoin, but there were some … who went for 100% in bitcoin payment.”
Based in Poland’s capital city Warsaw, EL Passion says it chiefly specializes in information architecture and user interface design for web and mobile applications. It develops Ruby on Rails web applications, as well as apps for iOS and Android.
Robert Nasiadek, Head of Mobile and founder of EL Passion, told CoinDesk:
“I’m a big supporter of cryptocurrency and am very much interested in developing this ecosystem. The first step was to accept payments in bitcoins from our clients. Paying the willing employees in bitcoins seems to be the next natural step.
One of the latest ideas to promote the use of bitcoins among EL Passion’s employees is to show information on the cryptocurrency on the company’s status board, according to its founder.
In addition to this, EL Passion is actively involved in promoting and fostering the wider use of the cryptocurrency in the Polish economy through various activities.
EL Passion hosted several Warsaw Bitcoin Meetups, and also attracted more media visibility for bitcoins by working with Warsaw-based Parking Bar which became the country’s first retail business to accept digital currencies.
“We’ve already had first payments for our services in bitcoins. We treated the first months as a test period, as we needed to find formal solutions which would allow us to accept bitcoins according to the law, solve all related problems and answer all the questions,” Nasiadek said.
The aim is to become further involved in the cryptocurrency market and work with a larger number of clients who share EL Passions fervour for bitcoins, according to Nasiadek.
Where to spend it?
Since July 2013, when EL Passion started accepting payments in the cryptocurrency, the ranks of bitcoin-friendly Polish companies have further expanded, enabling the web design company’s employees to spend their hard-earned bitcoins at an increasing number of places.
According to data from coinmap.org, in Warsaw and its suburbs there are now 10 businesses accepting bitcoins, and a further 30 companies across the country.
While many of these include a wide range of web-related businesses, other examples include Toruń-based Green Hostel, Wroclaw-based accountancy agency Finesti, and Szczecin-based repair works company Baltic Development.
Spending your bitcoin salary could soon become even easier in Poland, as an innovative project is currently under development by another local company.
In August 2013, Warsaw-based InPay launched a pilot program which is set to boost the use of the cryptocurrency among Poland’s retail outlets.
The company is aiming to introduce digital currency payments in a number of Polish cities by providing retailers with payment terminals. Moreover, InPay say they are also educating retailers on the legal and tax-related aspects of implementing bitcoin payments at their businesses.
InPay provides B2B solutions to restaurants, pubs, coffee houses and stores. In an interview with local news site mambiznes.pl, the company’s owners say that by the end of 2013, they will offer their services free of commission to lure potential customers and increase their trust in digital currencies.
After the pilot phase is completed, InPay aims to set the commission at a maximum of 0.5%.
By October 2013, some 70 local retailers applied to participate in the operator’s bitcoin payment network, according to InPay. On its official website, the company says it is currently implementing the beta versions of its service at Poland-based retail outlets.
The latest developments attest that the digital currency is gaining ground in Poland. According to data obtained from Bitcoincharts, local bitcoin exchange Bitcurex.pl had, on 8th December, a 30-day volume of some 46,912.5 BTC and 94.72m PLN ($31.3m).