Bitwage has announced the launch of what’s reportedly the world’s first Bitcoin 401(k) plan, enabling companies to give employees the ability to invest their pre and post-tax dollars in Bitcoin.
Announced by Bitwage CEO, Jonathan Chester, the launch comes after the company tested the system for ten months on its own employees.
World’s First Bitcoin 401(k)
According to the report, companies can now offer employees “the ability to invest traditional/pre-tax and Roth/post-tax 401k dollars into Bitcoin.”
A 401 (k) is a retirement account where employees’ contributions can be matched in part, or in whole, by their employers. Traditional and Roth 401(k) plans differ in how the contributions are taxed.
Investopedia offers a description of the difference between traditional and Roth plans: “In a traditional 401(k), employee contributions reduce their income taxes for the year they are made, but their withdrawals are taxed,” it states, adding, “With a Roth, employees make contributions with post-tax income, but can make withdrawals tax-free.
Gemini and PPP
Bitwage’s Bitcoin 401(k) is enabled by their combined effort with the Gemini exchange, Kingdom Trust, and Leading Retirement Solutions. Gemini enables US dollar payments from employers to be converted into Bitcoin. Kingdom Trust, a custodial service, provides regulated storage while Leading Retirement Solutions handles the requisite legal 401(k) administration and record keeping.
Payments are to be converted into Bitcoin via the Gemini exchange at regular intervals. Investors in the Bitcoin 401(k) will still have the ability to transfer their assets between Bitcoin and US dollars as they see fit.
“All funds will be converted on Gemini automatically for each pay period. Employees will be able to choose to buy and sell between USD and Bitcoin as they want.” – Reads the report.
Bitwage claims the Bitcoin 401(k) will help companies get the most out of their coronavirus Payroll Protection Program (PPP) payments – 75% of which must fall under payroll expenses. Since retirement plan contributions can be counted as payroll expenses, Bitwage claims the 401(k) could help companies match retirement contributions, while receiving full loan forgiveness when the Covid-19 lockdown ends.
The announcement adds that sign-ups will initially be limited.