Crypto Payroll Startup Rise Wins CoinDesk's 2023 Pitchfest Award
May 15, 2023
Crypto & Blockchain
As more and more young professionals show an interest in receiving their salary in cryptocurrency, a startup based in Ohio called Rise is looking to help companies offer their employees the option of receiving their pay in either fiat or cryptocurrency. Rise received the CoinDesk PitchFest award at the 2023 Consensus conference.
To use Rise's service, a company registers and deposits funds into an account, choosing either fiat or cryptocurrency as their preferred payment method for employees. Contractors hired by the company are then given the choice to receive their pay through a bank transfer, cryptocurrency, or a combination of both, in a predetermined proportion.
Currently, Rise's service is exclusively available to contractors. However, in the near future, the startup intends to introduce an "employer of record" service that will enable companies to outsource their HR and payroll tasks to Rise, making it possible to use the service for full-time staff salaries.
Rise claims it can service contractor fee payments in 90 fiat currencies, over 100 cryptocurrencies on Ethereum, and compatible blockchains such as Polygon, Arbitrum, Avalanche, and Optimism. The platform operates on the Arbitrum blockchain and features 15 interconnected smart contracts that facilitate various processes, including the approval of new users and the distribution of payments.
So far, the company has onboarded 500 contractors and 70 companies, who have collectively sent over $10 million in payments through the platform to date. The startup is now looking to expand its operations tenfold by the end of the year, focusing on obtaining money-transmitting licenses in select U.S. states, as well as local licenses in Europe.
Rise has plans to venture into the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector by introducing "High Yield" accounts, which will allow users to take advantage of DeFi interest-generating products. Although the team has been busy with other tasks and the feature is not yet available, they acknowledged that the current regulatory landscape has not been favorable for yield-generating products on the blockchain.
Rise is operating in a competitive space with Bitwage, DEEL, Request, Remote, ADP, and Utopia offering similar fiat and crypto payroll services through US-based exchanges, primarily Coinbase. Some of these services have already gained thousands of users. However, Finkelstein remains optimistic and believes that there is enough room for everyone in the market, especially with the increasing interest of companies in using crypto for payroll.
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