Costa Rican Legal System Permits Wage Payment in Cryptos
Cryptos are gradually turning into a credible replacement to traditional payment systems. In Latin American country Costa Rica, it is legal to pay wages to workers in cryptocurrencies. The Central American country is governed by a unique law that states that anything which is not explicitly prohibited is tacitly allowed.
Therefore, in the non-existence of a law unequivocally restraining the use of cryptocurrencies, it could be argued that it is perfectly legal for worker to receive wages in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Likewise, cryptos, which are not deemed as money, will come under a description called ‘quasi- money.’ The term refers to a material that accomplishes the same purpose and has almost similar characteristics to another, but is structurally different.
Only due to this law, there are quasi-contracts, quasi-goods, quasi-money and quasi-possessions, all of which are legally accepted under the country’s rule of law. Costa Rican cryptocurrency enthusiasts are pleased with this because they hope cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will have a positive impact on the country’s economy by increasing money flow in the region. Costa Rican cryptocommunity are also hopeful that the development will further boost the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the country.
The optimism was conveyed by Rolando Perlaza, a Costa Rican lawyer with vast knowledge of crypto-related matters, to Summa Magazine
“This is a trend that could take hold in the country”
The lawyer also pointed out that laws clearly mention that salary should not be fully replaced by quasi-money. Therefore, cryptocurrencies, which are considered as quasi-money, cannot replace fiat money completely. The lawyer said
“It is clear that, in Costa Rica, crypto-currencies cannot be used as cash or liquid wages, but remember that here you can pay part of the salary with other goods are not money or currency, provided that the legal minimum wage is recognized with money.”
Going by the above rule, at least the minimum wage should be paid in fiat money. If an employee earns more than the minimum wage, then the difference, if acceptable to the employee, can be paid in crypto and can be categorized as wage-in-kind.
The lawyer explained that laws in Costa Rica adjust to the progression of society. However, it was pointed out that the country still lacks a regulatory framework created exclusively for cryptocurrencies.
“Labour relations and forms of payment, compensation, and benefits evolve day by day, adjusting to the real needs of companies and social actors since legislation, jurisprudence and doctrine must be adapted quickly to their environment, respecting the basic principles of labor law, but without being an obstacle in the worker-employer relationship.”