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Former Visa CEO Joins Cryptocurrency Startup


The former CEO of Visa UK and Ireland has joined a cryptocurrency startup looking to make cards for everyday shopping.

Marc O’Brien, CEO of Visa UK and Ireland from 2008 to 2014, was announced as CEO of cryptocurrency payments startup Crypterium on Thursday. Crypterium calls itself a “cryptobank” that lets you pay with tokens via NFC, QR codes or in online stores.

The startup plans to partner with Visa and Mastercard to make cryptocurrency cards that charge your virtual wallet in “a fraction of a second,” he said in an interview with Business Insider.

O’Brien explained:

“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.”

It can sometimes take up to a week to exchange cryptocurrency into your bank account, but O’Brien said the startup will speed up the process so people can make everyday purchases.

“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,” he said.

The startup also has global ambitions. O’Brien said Crypterium has a “unique opportunity” to appeal to consumers as a “safe haven” in high-inflation markets such as Turkey and Argentina.

“The concern that many of them might have about getting access to that currency in a short space of time for immediate spending,” he said, “we’re going to be in a position to bridge that gap and make it an instant gratification,” O’Brien said.

Crypterium was incorporated in Estonia in 2017, reportedly raising $52 mln through an initial coin offering (ICO) at the end of last year. The company is focused on developing technology to launch crypto-supporting payment cards and hopes to partner with either Mastercard or Visa to launch its first products this fall.

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