Most FX industry executives and electronic trading professionals live in an ultra-modern, international world in which modernity, technological advancement and cutting edge trade execution are everyday pillars of life.
In Wall Street, Canary Wharf, State Street or Wan Chai, plate glass institutions tower into the skyline, the world’s trading infrastructure a visible landmark of the epicenters of the multi-asset global markets.
Surely the absolute contrast would be the British pub. England being a land of complete extremes where the old meets the new, the ultra-modern high tech financial epicenter of London surrounded by a highway which separates it from the traditional villages which evoke Shakespearean prose, it would be appropriate that a village pub has become the unofficial meeting point of an entire village that has gone big time into cryptocurrency investment.
The village of Winchmore Hill, which is in Buckinghamshire and lies around 30 miles from Central London, has become Britain’s first ‘crypto village’, and the place in which its residents convene to discuss and invest in the decentralized tokens and digital assets that are very much part of the future of electronic financial services is far from a glass skyscraper; it is a traditional village pub called The Potters Arms.
Owned by cryptocurrency enthusiast Peter Gilbert, the Potters Arms is a meeting place for many Winchmore Hill residents, and Mr Gilbert believes that paying his staff their bonuses in virtual currency will help them save to buy a house.
According to media reports today, Peter Gilbert was initially interested in cryptocurrency as an investment, perhaps seeing its volatility as a more attractive and effective means of investing for the longer term than high street banks, which offer very low interest on savings.
In addition, interest rates have been kept low by the Bank of England so far, but with inflation at a 30 year high, it may come to pass that interest rates could rise, but as with previous examples of rising interest rates, these are usually applied to money borrowed rather than money saved.
Therefore, those with mortgages or loans could be hit, whereas those saving their money in traditional bank accounts would likely find that no such rate rise would be applied to their savings. Interest rate rises due to inflation or other economic factors are usually invoked in order to make people pay more into the monetary system to bolster it when it is stricken, not to make them save more and have banks pay them for the privilege.
As far as the employees at The Potters Arms are concerned, they currently receive salary in British Pounds, and the monthly bonus is paid out if the pub is doing well and the workers hit targets, which is paid in cryptocurrency.
According to newspaper reports Mr Gilbert has said that every member of his 25-30 staff had been offered bonuses in crypto, all of whom have accepted.
OK, it is not quite El Salvador, a nation in which Bitcoin has been adopted as national legal tender and in which the actual government is buying cryptocurrency and trading it due to its legal status as a national currency, but this shows the interest by certain entrepreneurs in decentralized currencies and that small, individually operated networks of cryptocurrency enterprise are being operated even in highly developed financial markets economies such as that of the United Kingdom.
During the past 2 years, there has been something of a staffing shortage for the hospitality industry across Britain, however Mr Gilbert also thinks that aside from the savings potential, paying bonuses to staff in cryptocurrency can help solve that problem in that he believes that it keeps staff engaged, working hard, and less likely to abandon ship for other jobs.
It is a novel and unusual idea, and whilst the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) takes a very conservative view on cryptocurrency investment in the United Kingdom, is certainly gaining the attention of many.