A Chinese tech worker who refused to be paid in tether (USDT) and insisted on receiving fiat yuan has won his case against his former employers.
Per the Workers’ Daily, a branch of the People’s Court in the Chaoyang District of Beijing heard a civil case involving a now-defunct IT company and a former contract employee named by the court only as Shen (his surname).
Shen signed a contract with the firm in June 2019 and worked with the unnamed company for a period of over one year. After Shen tendered his resignation on June 16, 2020, the two (unnamed) main shareholders asked Shen to stay on until a project had been completed. He agreed and eventually left the company in October, the court heard.
But complications arose when he left the firm – and was not paid his salary for October. Moreover, the company failed to pay Shen his salary, target performance-related bonuses, annual performance bonus, and overtime pay during the entire period he worked with the company (from May 20, 2019, to October 17, 2020).
Shen claimed he was owed over USD 40,000 in total.
After some back-and-forth, the shareholders eventually agreed to pay Shen the amount he was due, but attempted to do so by paying him in USDT. Shen refused this offer, and demanded to be paid in fiat CNY.
A whole host of legislation was provided in an effort to back Shen’s claims:
- article 50 of the Labor Law of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that wages must be paid to workers “in the form of currency on a monthly basis”;
- article 5 of the Interim Regulations on Wage Payment dictates that wages “should be paid in legal currency, and cannot be paid in kind or by using securities instead of currency”;
- article 16 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the People’s Bank of China stipulates that “the legal tender of the People’s Republic of China is the renminbi [yuan].”
Furthermore, an edict issued last year by the central bank and top financial regulators explained that “virtual currency does not have the same legal status as legal tender,” and that tokens such as “bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), and tether” are “not legal compensation, and “should not and cannot be used as currencies.”
Despite the fact that the case predates last year’s edict, the other laws were all in place prior to 2019, the court noted – finally ruling in favor of Shen. The presiding judge ordered the former shareholders to make a yuan payment to Shen for the money he was owed.