The Northwest Arkansas Council has started offering $10,000 in free bitcoin to tech workers who relocate to the area, the latest incentive in its campaign to attract top talent to the growing region.
The offer is aimed at workers with expertise in the blockchain, the decentralized system on which cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are exchanged. In addition to free bitcoin, recipients will receive a street or mountain bike to take advantage of the region's renowned trail and path systems.
Alternatively, recipients can choose a free membership to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Momentary, TheatreSquared or the Walton Arts Center.
"This expanded incentive offer – Bitcoin and a Bike – not only embraces the growing trend toward the use of cryptocurrency as a payment option by employers, but also helps increase our pipeline of talent to benefit tech employers, startups, cities, local businesses and the region overall," Northwest Arkansas Council CEO Nelson Peacock said in a news release.
The council said northwest Arkansas, which is home to the Blockchain Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas, is the first region to offer cryptocurrency to potential transplants. The offered amount equals 0.23 bitcoin, based on the $43,354 price the cryptocurrency was trading at Thursday morning.
The offer is part of the council's Life Works Here initiative, which has made waves with its direct overtures to tech workers in Austin, Denver and Seattle. The campaign's initial offer of $10,000 in cash and a bicycle remains open to science, technology, engineering and math professionals.
More than 35,000 people from 115 countries and all 50 states have applied, according to the council.