In yet another instance of Wall Street talent hopping on the crypto bandwagon, Marc O’Brien, the former head of Visa (V) in the U.K. and Ireland has joined Crypterium (CRPT), a startup working to facilitate the everyday usage of cryptocurrency in consumer payments.
O’Brien has more than two decades of experience in financial services and fintech. He was a long time advisor to MasterCard (MA) before joining Visa where he served in multiple roles. Prior to leaving the company, O’Brien had worked for 6 years as CEO of Visa U.K. and Ireland, the company’s second most important market. Notably, during this time, Visa’s business doubled from $250 to $600 million with the market share of debit card payments increasing to 97 percent.
When asked about the importance of cryptocurrency adoption in an interview with Business Insider, O’Brien highlighted the current issues with everyday usage:
“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.”
In the near future, Crypterium hopes to collaborate with Visa or MasterCard to launch dedicated cryptocurrency cards that will be attached to a Crypterium’s native wallet. When consumers use these cards in a transaction, the Crypterium system receives a request and works to verify that the associated Bitcoin or Ether accounts have a sufficient balance, similar to a normal debit card. Once the balance is confirmed, the trade is executed and the transaction is completed, all within a fraction of a second.
Crypterium currently has an app in beta testing that can be linked to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay, which enables users to pay at any NFC terminal, or via scanning the QR codes. Crypterium also completed an ICO earlier this year, raising $52 million while launching its native reward token, CRPT.