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Newest employee benefit: bitcoin

Swatches | April 1, 2024 | By:

Custom-apparel company BlueCotton added bitcoin to its employee benefits package. The digital currency is mined and monitored on-site and vested for employees after five years, provided at no cost to them. Above: Olivia working in the embroidery department.

In an effort to attract employees who are interested in innovative technologies and who are long-term thinkers, custom-apparel company BlueCotton of Bowling Green, Ky., has added bitcoin to its benefits package at no cost to workers. Employees are fully vested in the plan after five years.

The company invested $120,000 in high-speed, specialized bitcoin mining computers that solve complex algorithms and verify blocks of other bitcoin transactions on the network. This work, which ensures that no bitcoin can be spent twice, is compensated for with partial bitcoins. The company’s equipment is expected to yield between 6 and 9 bitcoins before the end of 2029 and is so far up to nearly 4 since the initiative began in June 2022. The status and value of the digital currency mined is updated every 15 minutes on a monitor, and the waste heat of the computers helps to heat the warehouse.

“We wanted to do something unique and significant for our team,” says Mike Coffey, founder and CEO of BlueCotton. “Bitcoin was a perfect solution because it’s truly scarce and decentralized, and it gives our employees a fighting chance against inflation.”

Adam and Amanda embroidering hats for a customer. Images: BlueCotton

He adds, “We are educating our employees to not think in terms of ‘spending’ it. I would like to see them hold it as you would hold any valuable asset and spend things like the U.S. dollar that is hurrying along its journey, via inflation, to less value.”

Mining for bitcoin should not be confused with speculating in cryptocurrencies on exchanges, which have seen several big-money scandals over the last few years.

“Bitcoin and ‘crypto’ are two very different things,” Coffey explains. “Bitcoin is backed by proof of work—the miners and the electricity—it is decentralized, and it is scarce. No other ‘crypto’ coin can boast those three things. Crypto gives a
bad name to bitcoin.”  

He says that the benefit has reduced employee turnover and is attractive to prospective employees.

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