*Editor of this document: Michael Nguyen*
# Compensation at Bitmark
Compensation at Bitmark is split into three components: 1) Salary, 2) Equity and 3) Additional Benefits.
**Salary compensation is set to help each employee cultivate a comfortable and sustainable living situation.**
* It is based on a mix of independent market data from your region and Bitmark’s own research in discussions with CEOs local to your region.
* Our employees should feel that their salary is above average relative to their peers. When Bitmark does not have past experience in setting salary compensation (ex. Hiring someone in a new country), it will target 70% of the market range for that position.
* Salary is non-negotiable and consistent across the same level within the same role in the same region. For example: two engineers at “staff” level in Taiwan will earn the same salary, regardless of past experience, past salary, or tenure at Bitmark.
* Salary will increase when there is a change in an employee’s level or as part of an adjustment that affects everyone at the same level in your role within the same region - there are no pay reviews. Bitmark will continually review market information to determine when salaries have become out of sync with our goals.
* Salary compensation and market data is shared with all employees and prospective employees, except that of company Heads. (Salary for Heads is independently negotiated with the company.)
[Review our compensation across roles, levels, and regions.](https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GQNnvDu3xno9RUypzk0AGx4NHQ8pcT_f-FJeGtFh18Q/edit#gid=1165091299)
[Understand our approach to salary compensation](/99ZqEISTSVa693iUV9q7PA?view#Our-Approach-to-Salary-Compensation)
**Equity compensation is a reflection of an employee’s long term impact on the company. Salary is not a component of equity compensation.**
Equity is set at the employee’s level at the time of hire and over time is primarily based on two factors, 1) Impact 2) Level.
Over time, compensation can increase as the employee’s impact increases through:
**One time bonuses**
* Grants an additional $10K USD in equity.
**Automatic retention refreshes**
* Every two years after initial hiring grant
* 25% of the equity grant at your current employee level
**Equity Grants for Employee Levels**
* Percentage points (example: 1% of company)
* Value: Equity amount equivalent to $75K USD
* Value: Equity amount equivalent to $25K USD
All option grants are vested over four years with a one year cliff.
### Exercising vested options
1) Within your Carta Portfolio, please click on your Holdings. You should then see a screen like the screenshot below.
2) You can then download, print, and fill out the ESOP Notice of Exercise.
3) Follow the instructions and then provide the completed materials to your manager.
[Learn more about the current and potential value of your equity](https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1BIhtLhQ04dFkKfoiSSgUOsjglpXjWazd6-BwfnGHoPM/edit#gid=607331762)
[Learn more about how your options work.](https://hackmd.io/Ier7ZshYRTikkJm6zAeASg)
## Bonus and Promotion Review
* Every 6 months.
* Team Head writes an argument for why their employee should receive a bonus or promotion. There are no limits or budgets or specific formats for the argument.
* Team Head shares this proposal for consideration with other Heads.
* All proposals must be unanimously agreed upon by all Heads in order to be granted.
* Proposals and voting records are saved.
* Bonus award recipients are announced to everyone at Bitmark, along with the rationale as detailed in the Team Head’s proposal.
To learn more about how we thought about this, read:
* [Employee Equity: How Much?](https://avc.com/2010/11/employee-equity-how-much/)
* [A No B.S. Guide to Startup Stock Option Grants](https://medium.com/swlh/a-no-b-s-guide-to-startup-stock-option-grants-526a8bc33c2b)
## Additional Benefits
Certain additional benefits (ex. Health insurance) are currently provided in regions in which we have an official local presence: Taiwan and Vietnam. All benefits can be reviewed on the [employee benefits document](/nHCP0-vlSCSSHtiRIrt51A).
## Our Approach to Salary Compensation
At Bitmark, we are hiring you to fulfill a role. If you passed through our process, it's a binary decision: we are confident you can do the job well or we won't make an offer.
In the past, Bitmark followed a similar compensation process as many companies. Typically, salary offers are based on an opaque assessment of factors including your current:
While these can signal that someone is capable, we do not believe they are useful predictors of success at Bitmark. If they were, we would not need an interview process.
To understand Bitmark's approach, let's imagine you and another employee ("Sean") are applying for the same role at Bitmark.
Through our interview process, you are both considered capable of doing the job.
Under Bitmark's old process, we might consider Sean to be more valuable than you if they had come from a bigger, more reputable company. However, this is not fair to you if you joined a smaller company to develop your skills faster. Similar arguments can be made about title and salary. Someone who gets paid more than you is not necessarily a more capable employee, and titles are often exxagerated. (See: [Fancy posts: Why you should not get impressed while meeting a bank VP or MD](https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/banking/fancy-posts-why-you-should-not-get-impressed-while-meeting-a-bank-vp-or-md/articleshow/43185713.cms))
We don't have a way to contextualize these factors so that a candidate can be compared to another on an equal basis.
**That is why we believe that these factors should not affect how much you deserve to be paid at Bitmark.**
Another important impact on salary is negotiation. There's a very strange contradiction here. Most employees are not hired to negotiate agreements. Yet this skill that you use once every few years has a key influence not only on your current earnings but your future earnings as well.
Here are some elements that may affect your ability to negotiate with an employer:
* **Your past negotiation experience and current leverage**: You may have a job you are happy at, or you may be looking for a new job. Similarly, the best negotiators have another offer in hand to apply pressure. We believe your personal situation should not determine your value at Bitmark. After all, should Bitmark depress your salary if you are desperate? And should Bitmark reward you because you are actively trying to gather more offers?
* **Your personality**: You may be assertive about communicating your value, or you may be someone who prefers that their actions do the talking.
* **Your knowledge of market data**: How do you know what you should be paid? How do you consider the value of other types of value, such as equity, benefits, and work culture? If working were simply about money, it is unlikely you would be reading this now.
**Again, these factors should not have anything to do with what you deserve at Bitmark.**
Added to all of this is the fact that you will negotiate directly with a company's representative, someone likely to have more data and experience at negotiating than you. In a court case, it is extremely rare (and considered foolish) to represent yourself instead of getting a lawyer. In the entertainment and sports industries, it is similarly rare for a negotiation to occur without an agent.
**We do not feel that traditional job negotiations are fair for both sides**
Bitmark doesn't feel this is fair for employees. We are all owners in Bitmark. Thus, we wanted to create more equitable, sustainable models to reflect this relationship while sending a public signal about our collective values.
Previously, we noted that someone who looks better on paper (coming from a "better" company, title, or salary) or is a better negotiator will typically be paid more.
In the case of you and Sean, let's assume that both of you are fulfilling your roles at Bitmark. In theory, you should both be paid the same. However, that is rarely what happens in reality, even if you leave for another company. Over time, these differences compound over someone's professional career and are noted as system imbalances. This is partly why there are significant pay gaps between people of different genders or cultural backgrounds in the same role at many companies. (See: additonal reading at the bottom of this page)
What this means is that unless you are actively trying to maximize your salary at all times, you will likely be vulnerable to these pay gaps over your career.
We think this is a major distraction to your work. Bitmark doesn't believe there should be pay gaps in people who are expected to achieve the same output. To help prevent this from happening here, we thought about how can we help employees to:
1) Avoid being preocuppied with how much they get aid. (Help all employees cultivate a comfortable and sustainable financial situation.)
2) Be valued for their actual contribution through a fair relationship with the company, (Remove negotiations)
3) Trust in the company's stated values. (Salary transparency with market context)
We realize that there are times employees in the same role are achieving more than their peers. This is why equity bonuses are given for exceptional individual achievements. However, our greater goal is to increase everyone's value and remove interpersonal competition within the company. Everyone can be a lead(er) and everyone can be compensated for it.
**We don't claim to have the perfect solution for everyone, but we hope our approach acts a filter for retaining current and recruiting new employees.**
To learn more about how we thought about this, read:
[Some Companies Fight Pay Gap By Eliminating Salary Negotiations](https://www.npr.org/2015/04/23/401468571/some-companies-fight-pay-gap-by-eliminating-salary-negotiations)
[No Salary Negotiations Allowed](https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/Pages/0915-salary-negotiation-bans.aspx)
[How we pay people at Basecamp](https://m.signalvnoise.com/how-we-pay-people-at-basecamp/)