New Payments Networks and Virtual Currencies: Are They the Future of Payments?

Thursday, October 17, 2013 Industry Leadership Series

New payments networks, some utilizing virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Ripple, have the potential to improve the financial system by reducing payment-transaction costs for consumers, small businesses, and nonprofits, both domestically and internationally. Public acceptance and usage is growing fast, but from a small base. At the same time, these alternate payment schemes have attracted the attention of regulators and law enforcement concerned about their potential usage for money laundering and criminal activity. Are they the future of payments or a playground for criminals? Come listen to two CEOs directly involved in growing these alternate networks and FWSF’s former president and payments strategist, Erin McCune.

Featured Speakers: Brian Armstrong, Coinbase; Chris Larsen, Ripple Labs; Erin McCune, Glenbrook Partners

Moderator: Bill Haraf, Managing Director at Promontory Financial

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About the Speakers

Brian Armstrong, Coinbase

Brian Armstrong

Brian Armstrong is a tech entrepreneur, and software engineer living in San Francisco, CA. He is the Co-founder and CEO of Coinbase. During the 2011-2012 time frame he worked on fraud prevention at Airbnb as a software engineer. He also co-founded in 2004. He holds a BA in economics and a masters in computer science from Rice University in Houston, TX. His personal blog can be found at

Chris Larsen, Ripple Labs

Chris LarsonChris Larsen is CEO and Co-founder of Ripple Labs, the organization that first built the Ripple protocol. Ripple is an open source decentralized payment network and a math-based currency. More information can be found at Mr. Larsen is also a cofounder and former CEO of Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, which he ran for eight years and a cofounder and former CEO of E-Loan, a publicly traded online lender, which he also ran for eight years. During his tenure at E-Loan, he pioneered the open access to credit scores movement by making E-Loan the first company to show consumers their FICO scores. Mr. Larsen also played a pivotal role in the passage of the strongest consumer financial privacy law in the nation and was hailed by Congresswoman Jackie Speier as being, "critical to the success of the bill." Mr. Larsen serves at the Board and Advisory levels at numerous companies and organizations including: Progreso Financiero, Betable, CreditKarma, and Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). Mr. Larsen holds an M.B.A. degree from Stanford University and a B.S. degree from San Francisco State University, where he was named the 2004 Alumnus of the Year.

Erin McCune, Glenbrook Partners

Erin McCuneErin McCune focuses her efforts at Glenbrook on client engagements in social payments, business-to-business payments, bill payment, cross-border transactions, and global eCommerce. Erin has over fifteen years of experience leading increasingly complex payment initiatives for corporate clients/merchants and advising financial institutions and payment technologists on the development of their payment capabilities. She is the immediate past president of the FWSF. She lives in San Francisco, bakes her own sourdough bread, and relies on her bicycle to get around town.

About the Moderator

Bill Haraf, Promontory

William S. HarafBill Haraf is a managing director with the Promontory Financial Group, a leading strategy, risk management and regulatory compliance consulting firm focusing primarily on the financial services industry. Bill brings an exceptional blend of experience and insights to his work with clients, having been a banker, California’s commissioner of financial institutions, and a member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council. He works with financial institutions on corporate governance and organizational design, compliance program design and implementation, anti-money laundering programs, senior management reviews, and strategic planning.

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