Former Visa UK Head recruited as the new CEO of a crypto startup

Another case of brain drain in financial world is reported today as the former head of VISA UK & Ireland Marc O’Brien took over position of CEO of cryptocurrency startup Crypterium.

Crypterium, aims to create a crypto bank available to anyone. The platform is being designed to offer similiar services to conventional financial institutions, but catered to the world of cryptocurrencies.
Overall, Crypterium aims to be a ‘leading cryptobank for the cryptoeconomy’. the goal, according to the official website,’is to provide a complete vertically integrated service that encompasses the best ideas from the community of the world’s best blockchain enthusiasts’.

O’Brien, was CEO of  Visa UK & Ireland from 2008 and 2014, has joined the Estonian-based startup that raised raised $52 million through an initial coin offering (ICO) at the end of 2017.

O’Brien told Business Insider:

“The idea is that cryptocurrency is actually quite difficult today to use as an everyday method of payment. If you were to go to an exchange with your bitcoin or your ether it would probably take you 3 to 7 days to get that money paid out into a normal bank account.

“What Crypterium will do is make that whole process seamless and give an opportunity for a consumer to actually use their cryptocurrency to pay for everyday items.”

O’Brien was hired after a search by executive recruiter Sheffield Haworth. O’Brien said: “They’re looking for an experienced financial services team now.

“They’re very good at recognising that they were the right team for the concept and the initial coin offering but now that they’re moving into the operating model they need to bring in experienced professional staff that are used to dealing with large-scale, global operations.”

Crypterium now hopes to use the connections of their new CEO to team up with either Visa or MasterCard and launch cryptocurrency cards or virtual cards.

O’Brien said:

“That card will be attached to a wallet that we’ve created and every time the consumer makes a transaction we will receive a request for that transaction in our systems, we will check the bitcoin or ether account and provided that they’ve got sufficient balance we will execute a trade and mark their bitcoin balance for a trade and approve the transaction. You can be in a store and all of that’s done in a fraction of a second.”

The issue with crypto credit cards is unwillingness of VISA or other card issuers to work with crypto startups due to the high price volatility of cryptocurrencies. And according to the new Crypterium CEO, they have a proprietary solution, a “secret sauce” as he called it to solve this burning issue and biggest snag for VISA-crypto partnerships.

Having an option to spend your coins might not sound too appealing if you leave in a western country with stable economy and monetary system, but people in Argentina, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and lately even Turkey would definitely welcome a new alternative to the collapsing local currencies.

“We have a unique opportunity to provide a safe haven to some extent for consumers in those countries,” he said. “The concern that many of them might have about getting access to that currency in a short space of time for immediate spending, we’re going to be in a position to bridge that gap and make it an instant gratification.

“We are now looking at how we organise to be a global operating business and that means we are taking top-level legal advice on how to structure ourselves so that we can actually launch in the US, launch in Latin America, launch in Singapore, with the right and appropriate licenses in each of those jurisdictions.”

Crypterium has multiple teams in different cities across the world, with the biggest team of 10 people being situated in Moscow. O’Brien plans opening new offices in US and Singapore as well.

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Sarah Wurfel
Sarah Wurfel

Sarah Wurfel works as a social media editor for CaptainAltcoin and specializes in the production of videos and video reports. She studied media and communication informatics. Sarah has been a big fan of the revolutionary potential of crypto currencies for years and accordingly also concentrated on the areas of IT security and cryptography in her studies.

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