Former Head of Visa in UK Joins Crypto Payments Startup as CEO

Marc O’Brien, the former head of Visa UK, has joined crypto payments startup Crypterium as its new CEO, Business Insider reports. O’Brien was at the helm of Visa’s operations in the UK and Ireland for six years, from 2008 to 2014. Crypterium aims to make paying with cryptos in everyday situations easier and faster. O’Brien will be charged with leading a team of three people in London and ten in Moscow, with plans underway to open offices in New York, Miami, and Singapore.

Making the Process Seamless

Crypterium was founded to encourage the adoption of bitcoin, ether and other cryptos as everyday payment methods. This has continued to be one of the biggest barriers to mainstream usage of cryptos, with cynics describing the process as unnecessarily long and, particularly in the case of Bitcoin, expensive.

According to O’Brien:

What Crypterium will do is make that whole process seamless and give [consumers the opportunity] to actually use their cryptocurrency to pay for everyday items.

O’Brien’s business and leadership acumen was what attracted Crypterium to him, he revealed in an interview. With the founding team having handled the technical details of the project and successfully organized the ICO, it was time to bring in someone who could lead them to the next stage. O’Brien’s experience in large-scale global operations made him a perfect fit.

While developed nations may not fully appreciate the usefulness of cryptos, O’Brien views developing nations in Latin America and Asia as places where cryptos are needed the most to overcome runaway inflation.

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

The startup is also seeking to strike a partnership with either of the two leading credit card companies (Visa and MasterCard). Crypterium will launch a cryptocurrency card which will be attached to its wallet. Once a user transacts using the card, the company will receive the request and immediately check the account being accessed. If the account has enough bitcoins or ether, the trade will be executed and the user’s account balance will be adjusted accordingly. The company’s system will be automated, and all of this will be done in a fraction of a second, according to O’Brien. This would go a long way in facilitating the retail use of cryptos.

So, how will Crypterium protect itself against the very volatile nature of cryptos when executing transactions? We aren’t going to know that anytime soon. According to O’Brien, that’s a very well-guarded secret, with the intellectual property around the technology being carefully protected.

Crypterium is incorporated in Estonia and raised $52 million in an ICO held late last year.