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My employer paid me in crypto. It rose 700% in value. Now he wants employees to return the crypto and accept dollars

Dear Quentin,

I did some business development work for a tech company on a contract basis. The CEO stated that I would be paid in crypto when I started the work in the spring of 2020. He added a clause to the contract stating, “The company may elect to pay in USD.” 

I struck out that part of the contract because if I was going to risk getting paid in crypto, and the price all of a sudden appreciated, I didn’t want the company to revert to paying me in USD.

In August 2020, I received payment for the contract work in cryptocurrency. Since then, the prices of cryptocurrency have skyrocketed. As of this moment, the crypto that I received payment in has gone up 700%.

“‘I have worked with this person for many years, and he has a tendency to try to change the terms of payment after agreeing on a certain way of operating.’”

Today, I received an email from the CEO stating something along the lines of, “Since you did not generate any revenue for the company and are not currently doing any follow up work, please send back all of the crypto received in August 2020. You can invoice the company for the hours worked in USD.” So basically, stating that I can invoice in USD at seven times less than what the crypto is worth today!

Please note that there have been several other people trying to sell the company’s solutions. It is a startup and so far, they are still trying to generate their first dollar in sales. The purpose of the contract was to generate sales and it included a commission component, but the understanding was that I would bill hourly for c...

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