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Former Libra Director Joins Polkadot Builder

Bertrand Perez is joining the Web3 Foundation as chief operating officer after resigning from the Facebook-linked Diem in July.

Sep 7, 2021 at 2:01 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 7, 2021 at 8:08 p.m. UTC

Bertrand Perez, the former chief operating officer (COO) of the Facebook-backed Diem stablecoin project, is joining the Web3 Foundation, a backer of the Polkadot blockchain, as COO.

Perez, who joined Diem (Libra as it was then known) as COO in early 2019, said he resigned from his position this summer as a result of the decision to move the project from the regulatory auspices of FINMA, the Swiss financial watchdog, to U.S. soil and supervision.

Perez wore two hats at Diem, one as COO and the other as managing director of the Libra/Diem Association, which he set up from scratch. Prior to spending two years at Diem, he was a senior director at PayPal for close to eight years.

“Diem has a great team in the U.S. which has started working with the U.S. regulators,” said Perez in an interview. “At this stage it wasn’t possible for me to move to the U.S., so it was time to look for my next move. I got into blockchain back in 2014 while at PayPal, and, of course, I wanted to stay in the space, and decided on the Web3 Foundation, which has incredible technology and a great future.”

Web3, helmed by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, is known as the leading firm behind the Polkadot blockchain. Polkadot is currently allocating coveted slots to projects on its 100 “parachains” via an auction process. Parachain auctions for its Kusama “canary” network have fetched large sums, as teams look to build on base layers unburdened by Ethereum’s high fees.

Diem mafia?

Given the considerable headwinds Diem has faced, it’s not surprising there has been an exodus, which has included other high-profile departures including Dante Disparte, Diem’s head of policy, who left the project to join Circle in April of this year.

Diem’s struggle to appease global regulators after announcing a global stablecoin backed by a basket of currencies has been well documented. As a managing director, Perez had to stand on the front line and defend the project.

Perhaps then, as a technologist who was brought in to make sure the blockchain and stablecoin operated correctly, there was a feeling that he hadn’t signed up for this?

“Yes, it was tough at times, but it was part of the job,” said Perez. “We were there to defend the project because the vision is powerful and relevant: cheap and fast payments for people worldwide who need it the most.”

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Ian Allison is a senior reporter at CoinDesk.

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