Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is to serve as advisor to bitcoin companies BitPay and Vaurum.
BitPay is the world’s largest bitcoin payment processor, while Vaurum is an institutional bitcoin exchange.
Levitt, the longest serving chairman of the SEC, will work closely with both companies to monitor business practices as well as help develop new ways to market and refine this new form of currency.
“Bitcoin is a fascinating new product in the rapidly changing world of financial service,” says Levitt. “I hope to help BitPay and Vaurum blend their new business models with core monetary methods and transparency practices in order to ensure their long term success.”
Bitcoin is a digital currency that has recently burst onto the financial sector and has not yet been tied to clear regulations. Since digital currency does not have the same characteristics of traditional money, regulators are seeking ways to set firm business practice standards without impeding innovation.
BitPay, a bitcoin payment processor, was founded in May 2011 and currently enables over 40,000 businesses around the world to accept bitcoin as a form of payment. The company has made a strong emphasis on compliance by hiring Tim Byun, former head of AML for VISA Inc, as chief compliance officer, and Azba Habib, a former Federal Reserve payments attorney, as regulatory counsel.
“Bitcoin is a technology innovation that offers capabilities and speeds of payments that have never been possible before,” says Tony Gallippi, BitPay co-founder and executive chairman. “Arthur’s experience and reputation are incredible assets to a rapidly innovative company like BitPay, and with his advice we hope to better navigate the financial industry and build a successful business.”
Vaurum is an escrow exchange for bitcoin, using high-performance exchange technology and offering secure storage solutions. Customers include banks, brokerages, hedge funds, and trading firms. Vaurum CEO Avish Bhama retained Levitt to assist the company in building a business involving the use of smart contracts in a new and innovative fashion.
“Blockchain technology is poised to transform the financial services world, but will continue to remain an intellectual curiosity until it has a compelling everyday use case. Arthur Levitt brings additional validation to the space, and we’re pleased to work with him on our financial controls, banking relationships and regulatory compliance,” says Bhama.