Former Nike CIO and member of the exclusive Fortune 40 Under 40 list Anthony Watson has joined the Bitcoin bank Bitreserve as President and Chief Operating Officer.
“I am thrilled to join Bitreserve at such a pivotal moment in the evolution of cloud money and financial technology,” says Watson. “Money is a common language around the world, and Bitreserve democratizes how people access, hold and move value. We have the unique opportunity to craft a lasting legacy of delivering transparency, massive innovation and positive social impact to financial services and in peoples’ everyday lives.”
“Anthony will drive Bitreserve’s efforts to inform industry leaders and work with members of the global financial services community to deliver transparency, portability and independence to current and future customers around the world,” says Bitreserve founder and CEO Halsey Minor. “His knowledge and deep insight into financial systems is invaluable as we continue to grow and make strides towards a future that enables anyone to access and participate in the digital economy.”
“I was itching to make an impact,” Watson told Fortune. “I wanted to do something that is valuable for people broadly, not just in one industry. And what Bitreserve is looking to achieve really democratizes finance. It’s going to help people all over the world. The financial system is inherently unfair – it’s always the richest who have access, and the poorest don’t have access, or when they do, they have to pay astronomical rates.”
Bitreserve solves bitcoin’s volatility problem by enabling users to hold bitcoin as stable, real-world currencies. Bitreserve currently offers eight options: U.S. dollar, euro, U.K. pound, yen, yuan and the latest two additions – Indian rupee and Mexican peso.
Bitreserve, which also offers commodities – for now, the metals gold, silver, platinum and palladium – recently expanded to Mexico in partnership with its largest investor, Grupo Salinas CEO Ricardo Salinas-Pliego.
With this expansion, Bitreserve wants to grab a slice of the large market for remittances sent from migrant Mexican workers in the United States back to their families in Mexico. It is working in partnership with a major financial services company and community bank.
The plan combines the faster and cheaper remittances permitted by Bitcoin with the convenience of using the national currency.
Minor told Fortune that “the great magical beauty of bitcoin” is that it allows for the creation of financial institutions without having to go through the traditional financial system.
“We’ve taken the idea of Bitcoin and applied it to the world consumers already live in, rather than trying to force consumers into a new world that has high risk,” he said.
Minor’s thoughts about the future of Bitcoin are especially interesting: “I’ll be surprised if Bitcoin is here in five years,” he said. “It’s a means to an end. The value of Bitcoin isn’t the currency, but the technology. I think once the world becomes more accustomed and attuned to the platform of Bitcoin, the noise will go away, and the currency will go away, too.”
Watson is a high-profile spokesman for a growing number of workers who value work-life balance and refuse to sacrifice personal life for their career. As such, the Fortune article notes, he values the modern, distributed workplace at Bitreserve.
“Millennials don’t want to or need to work in one big concrete building in one location,” he said. “That’s not how the world works anymore,” he said. “Some people want to work remotely from home, some want to work from a coffee shop, some want to work at an office.”