Blockchain payments startup Celo has added former Citigroup Chairman Dick Parsons as the first member of its external board.
Celo is a proof-of-stake blockchain built on Ethereum, designed to support stablecoins and tokenized assets while utilizing cellphone numbers to secure a user’s public keys.
The Parsons appointment adds heft to a mobile-first token project looking to thrive where Libra (now Diem) and others have largely failed.
"The Celo Foundation and its 130 global member organizations are addressing a critical need, especially for the bottom billion who don't have access to traditional financial services and tools," Parsons said in an emailed statement, adding:
The Facebook-initiated Diem created an environment in which central bankers began to question the macroeconomic impact of digital assets, said Celo co-founder Rene Reinsberg. (One of the Diem Association's first hires announced a move to stablecoin firm Circle just this week.)
"The experience that someone like Dick can bring to Celo is enormous," Reinsberg told CoinDesk in an interview, "because it requires a deep understanding of traditional finance, global economics and macroeconomics."
Decentralized finance "is something that traditional finance might have an opinion on," Reinsberg said, mentioning 2008's market crash. "I would argue that similarly in DeFi there are questions around composability and different protocols leveraging each other and leading to an increasingly complex ecosystem of structured products."
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