December 15, 2017 / 5:38 PM / a year ago

France's Umalis Group to allow billing in bitcoins

FILE PHOTO: A Bitcoin logo is displayed at the Bitcoin Center New York City in New York's financial district in NY, U.S. on July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) - Consultants at Umalis Group (MLUMG.PA), an umbrella company for freelancers, will be able to choose to bill clients in bitcoins from January, the French firm said on Friday.

Umalis Group’s announcement follows the decision of Japan’s GMO Internet (9449.T) to start paying up to 100,000 yen ($888) monthly to its employees in bitcoins from February 2018.

While payment in bitcoins may appeal to employees looking to cash in on its enormous increase in value — more than 1,700 percent since the start of the year — warnings have grown that the bitcoin bubble may soon burst leaving investors out of pocket.

However, since the launch of bitcoin futures from CBOE Global Markets, trading in the cryptocurrency has calmed from the violent price swings seen in recent weeks.

“The inauguration on Monday 11 December 2017 of the first bitcoin futures contract ... was a crucial factor in our decision,” Umalis Chief Executive Christian Person said in a statement.

Umalis Group provides services whereby freelancers seek out and negotiate contracts before allowing the umbrella company to take care of administrative formalities, to 200 consultants, all of whom will be able to bill in bitcoins.

Umalis Group said it would provide security for its consultants by stipulating that if the price of the bitcoin invoice for the consultant’s services is lower than the price initially agreed in euros, the invoice must be paid in euros.

GMO Internet will offer payment in bitcoin to around 4,000 employees.

Reporting by Alan Charlish, editing by David Evans

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