Marc O’Brien, the former CEO of Visa UK has been named the CEO of Crypterium, a digital currency startup. O’Brien was the CEO of both Visa UK, and Visa Ireland for six years, between 2008 and 2014. In his new role as CEO of Crypterium, O’Brien hopes to expand the use of cryptocurrencies as a method of payment for everyday users.
Crypterium raised $52 million during their ICO in 2017. O’Brien suggests that it is currently very difficult to use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as everyday methods of payment, and that a turnaround time of 3 to 7 days for converting cryptocurrency on an exchange into fiat is too long. The company’s goal is not just to be a multi-currency wallet, but rather the world’s first mobile cryptocurrency bank.
Having filled the CEO role through executive recruiter Sheffield Haworth, the company is now looking to fill its financial services team as they scale the business into a global operation. O’Brien may also be instrumental in their other objective, to partner with Visa or MasterCard to market cryptocurrency-backed cards or virtual cards.
According to O’Brien, the cards would be attached to a multi-currency wallet and transactions would be approved in a fraction of a second, as long as there is a sufficient balance. Crypterium is keeping their method for solving the volatility issue of cryptocurrencies under wraps. They consider this their “secret sauce” with the reported IP well-guarded.
O’Brien acknowledges that using cryptocurrencies as a method of payment isn’t something that appeals to everyday users. However, he has suggested that it is a viable solution in high inflation markets such as Argentina and Turkey, where crypto offers a “safe haven” for consumers in those countries.
Crypterium is organized as a multi-national company. Originally incorporated in Estonia, the company is looking to gain licensure in the US, Latin America, and Singapore. Presently, there are small teams in London and Moscow, with possible plans for offices in New York, Singapore, and Miami.
Besides serving as a Visa CEO, O’Brien was an advisor to Revolut, an app-based fintech bank. There, he worked closely with the company’s founders, Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, where it can be presumed he garnered the experience required to move Crypterium into the mainsteam.
Austin Kimm, chief operating officer of Crypterium said, “We are genuinely very excited by Marc’s appointment. He brings the experience and know-how to build a global banking solution that will have no peers.” Austin has served on the leadership team of companies with a total valuation in excess of $500 million.
Crypterium believes that cryptocurrencies will not only shape how we do business, but that they will disrupt the distribution of wealth on an international level. This includes giving two billion presently “unbanked” people access to the financial services that exist in the modern world. In addition to supporting multiple cryptocurrencies, Crypterium wants to link their digital debit cards to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, and plans to release its first products by the fall.
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