Ex-Citibank CEO Joins Bitcoin Startup Board

Xapo — a bitcoin services company based in Palo Alto that is in the midst of relocating its headquarters and operations to Switzerland — announced yesterday (May 26) that its board of directors has taken on several new members, including former Visa and Citibank executives and a former U.S. treasury secretary.

The company relayed in a statement that Visa founder Dee Hock, former Citibank head John Reed and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers joined Xapo and thus help create the formation of its advisory board.

Xapo’s platform includes secure bitcoin storage, a wallet and debit card and merchant payment processing services. Founded in 2012, the company has raised $40 million through the ensuing three years and financial backers have included Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Greylock Partners and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.

In a company statement announcing the appointments, Reed stated that as an industry, financial services “remained largely untouched by the digital revolution.” Bitcoin, Reed noted, stands as a progression above the “historical form of currency.”

Summers – who also currently serves as a member on the board of Bitcoin startup, 21 Inc. – stated that the digital currency marks the first time someone could send money without having to rely on a third party. In the financial services arena, that third party has traditionally included banks and clearing houses.

For his part, Hock stated that “We live in the 21st century but are still using command and control organizational structures from the 16th century.” Bitcoin, according to Hock, offers a lesson in how a “decentralized, peer-to-peer organization can solve problems that these dated organizations cannot. Like the Internet, Bitcoin is not owned or controlled by any one entity, so it presents incredible opportunities for new levels of efficiency and transparency in financial transactions.”


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