Another PayPal Exec Moves to Crypto Camp, Bakkt Adds Mike Blandina

Mike was head of payments and credit engineering at PayPal and director of engineering for Google Wallet

The CEO of cryptocurrency platform Bakkt, Kelly Loeffler, welcomed on her official Medium blog the appointment of former PayPal executive Mike Blandina, outlining that he will join the leadership team as Chief Product Officer.

With his vast experience in payments, Blandina’s direct responsibility is to drive the growth and expansion of Bakkt’s ecosystem to “help bring real world applications to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” Loeffler said.

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Blandina has approximately 25 years of experience in payment products and partnership-driven business.

He most recently served as a chief technology officer (CTO) at OneMarket, where he led product and engineering. Earlier in his career, Blandina was head of payments and credit engineering at PayPal and director of engineering for Google Wallet. He was also in charge of Blackhawk Network’s digital payment solutions and overseeing the company’s technological functions.

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Bakkt brings on new talents

Blandina joins the list of former PayPal executive that have crossed over to the crypto camp, including Tyson Hackwood who joined Crypto.com, and Erik Wilgenhof who was hired by FCA-regulated, cryptocurrency-focused broker Sequant Capital. Wilgenhof was also instrumental in building the compliance function of Singapore-‎based bitcoin exchange itBit across the US and Asia.

Bakkt continues to bring on new talents to build out its crypto platform which aims to facilitate cryptocurrency trading for Wall Street firms in a way that is just as easy as trading traditional assets. This also included poaching key executives from rivals such as its current COO, Adam White, who joined from Coinbase.

While announcing the appointment, Bakkt CEO has tried to remedy concerns that the firm might be sitting on its hands, saying, “as we work through regulatory approvals, we are mindful that the infrastructure we are building has the potential to create more opportunities for digital assets to grow in relevance and trust.”

Georgia-based Intercontinental Exchange, which controls Bakkt, said earlier this year that the proposed launch date of its Bitcoin’s first physically-delivered contract had been delayed for the fourth time to a new date.

The initial launch was set for November 2018, but the company announced last month it would push that debut back to 2019, subject to regulatory approval. However, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has reportedly declined to approve it so far.

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