Holding the position of Managing Director with VISA UK & Ireland for over four years, and Senior Vice-President of VISA Europe for six years before that it’s safe to say that he brings a wealth of experience to the job.
Crypto Disrupt got the chance to talk exclusively to Kevin about what drew him to become involved with Nuggets, and what he sees in the future of payment management.
CD: First of all, thanks for taking the time to speak to us, we appreciate it. As has been highlighted, you’ve had a very extensive career in finance up to this point, including holding the position of Managing Director with VISA UK & Ireland. Can you tell us what attracted you to blockchain payments company Nuggets?
KJ: I think the current model in retail whereby an individual’s personal data gets stored on hundreds of merchants’ databases is broken. We’ve had 25 years plus of major data breaches, and we need to find new ways to protect customers’ personal data — and ultimately control their privacy.
The blockchain-based platform Nuggets has created is a breakthrough in this respect. It protects customers’ data because they no longer have to give away personal data. And it reduces friction by taking away the need for multiple usernames and passwords. Your biometrics — whether your fingerprint or scanned face — provides access to your personal identity stored on the blockchain, which you control and own.
So quite apart from the team at Nuggets being impressive and great to work with, I was attracted to them because I think they have hit on the right solution at the right time — it’s all about timing.
Successful innovation requires distribution to achieve adoption. In this respect, I think Nuggets are the one to watch. Signing up WeChat and Alipay in China via QF Pay speaks volumes together with other key distribution deals in AP to drive scale and ubiquity. My role is to help bring that success into the UK and Europe.
Having been involved in many successful pioneering innovations over the last 20 years, I think the timing is right for this proposition, and I am delighted to be giving it my backing.
CD: You mentioned the word “revolution” after joining Nuggets. Can you expand a little on how you think the platform can change the way things are done in the payments ecosystem?
KJ: It feels like 1992 all over again! What I mean by that is that back in the early ‘90’s when the internet and the world-wide-web were at a very early stage of their development, nobody would have had the foresight to have understood quite what an impact it would have on commerce and our daily lives. I think the same can be said of blockchain technology.
The way we conduct commerce today remains very siloed, even following 20 years of internet revolution. For example, the payment piece isn’t integrated to the logistics value chain. The blockchain provides the thread to bring these components together, reduce friction and ultimately reduce costs. This is a revolution in that it will drive huge benefits and cut out massive amounts of administration effort in the back office in much the same way that email cut out the need for us to communicate via the post.
CD: Nuggets CEO Alastair Johnson is obviously thrilled to have you on board and pointed to your ability to build relationships as one of the huge positives you can bring. Can you expand a little on what you hope to bring to the table?
KJ: As mentioned above, successful innovation requires distribution to achieve adoption. Most recently, I led the strategy to get contactless payments adopted at scale in the UK and Ireland. There are parallels with what we are going to be doing with Nuggets. I’ve worked with the card financial services institutions, payments and technology providers, telecom operators, corporates, merchants, and government organizations. I hope to be able to use my experience to help build the right strategy for Nuggets to go to market in Europe, to scale up, drive growth, and to find effective routes to market and distribution — working alongside the existing payments rails.
CD: There is a lot of cross-over between the traditional financial industry and the newer digital asset space. As someone who has extensive experience in one, and who is now making the jump to the other, what do you believe both can learn from the other to help improve services for those who really matter?
KJ: What we all need to keep in mind is that whether we’re talking about the traditional world of financial services or new digital assets, we need to keep focused on finding solutions which make the lives of end-users and consumers easier and make commerce more efficient and frictionless.
Lover of all things crypto, blockchain and AI, professional tech scribe & part of the editorial team at Crypto Disrupt.