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Former Visa CEO Moves to Startup That Uses Cryptocurrency to Process Everyday Payments

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:07 PM
Joseph Young
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:07 PM

Last week, on May 19, former Visa UK and Ireland CEO Marc O’Brien said during an interview with Business Insider’s Oscar Williams-Grut  that he has been appointed as the CEO of a cryptocurrency startup called Crypterium.

Everyday Payments

During the interview, O’Brien, who served as the CEO of VISA UK for six years from 2008 to 2014, said that his team is attempting to increase the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether as currencies and legitimate payment methods by allowing users to spend cryptocurrencies on a daily basis to pay for products and services.

He said:

“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.”

The short-term strategy of the startup is to leverage the experience of O’Brien in the traditional finance industry and his connections in the credit card service sector to secure a strategic partnership with Visa or Mastercard and release cryptocurrency-backed debit cards.

While many projects and companies such as Xapo, TenX, and Coins.ph have utilized Visa-partnered banks to launch cryptocurrency debit cards, the companies were forced to shut down their debit card services due to the crackdown on cryptocurrency debit cards by Visa in 2017.

Last year, Visa emphasized that it had to close down the debit card services of cryptocurrency startups because the services were initiated without the permission of Visa through third party service providers. There exists a possibility that projects like Crypterium could release official cryptocurrency debit cards in the future if they can cooperate with either Visa or Mastercard directly.

“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,” said O’Brien.

Starbucks Chairman’s Skepticism

Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz has said that he is interested in a cryptocurrency that can be easily accepted by mainstream merchants.

Previously, CCN.com reported that Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz is interested in the cryptocurrency market and the adoption of digital currencies. But, Schultz stated that he would only be interested in a cryptocurrency that can be widely adopted and embraced by retailers and large-scale merchants like Starbucks.

“I personally believe that there is going to be a one or a few legitimate trusted digital currencies off of the blockchain technology. And that legitimacy and trust in terms of its consumer application will have to be legitimized by a brand and a brick and mortar environment, where the consumer has trust and confidence in the company that is providing the transaction,” said Schultz.

A separate cryptocurrency developed with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems to appeal to retailers is unnecessary if projects can use existing cryptocurrencies with market dominance like bitcoin and ether to process day-to-day payments, even if it requires a third-party service like Visa’s debit card network to kickstart the adoption of cryptocurrenies.

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