Marieke Flament appointed CEO of NEAR Foundation
December 16, 2021 Zug, Switzerland
The NEAR Foundation, a Swiss non-profit that oversees the governance and development of the NEAR blockchain, has selected global executive Marieke Flament as its new CEO, effective January 1st 2022.
The appointment comes at a time of growing excitement for the NEAR blockchain, a new smart contract platform that is open to the public and supports community-driven innovation that benefits society.
Unlike other networks, NEAR gives software developers far easier access to build new crypto applications, from Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to decentralized finance products – and to launch new business models and consumer products. It’s also much faster than Ethereum – the world’s most used blockchain – and charges substantially lower transaction fees. However, instead of competing directly with Ethereum, NEAR runs in concert with it, along with other blockchains, allowing for the free flow of assets and communication between networks for the betterment of all.
NEAR’s foundation aims to help evangelise, raise awareness, support and grow this ecosystem and allocate grants on behalf of the ecosystem. It is also the guardian of $NEAR tokens, the cryptocurrency that runs on the NEAR network. To date, the foundation has allocated over $45m to new projects.
Commenting on the appointment, Illia Polosukhin, Co-Founder of NEAR, said : “We are delighted to have Marieke join NEAR to help accelerate our next phase of adoption and help us realise our vision. Her skills and experience are the perfect blend to help NEAR reach its next phase.”
Marieke brings a wealth of international business experience to the role, as well as an in-depth knowledge about the world of crypto and fintech innovation. She is a French-born computer engineer who has worked across the globe in a diverse range of companies from the luxury giant LVMH of Louis Vuitton fame to Boston Consulting Group, Expedia’s Hotels.com and crypto giant Circle.
At Hotels.com she was in charge of Europe, Middle East and Africa, a $2bn P&L. During her time at Circle she was Managing Director of Europe, where she pioneered the consumer application of blockchain, took to market several products and built a user base from 0-2 million in less than 2 years. As the first company’s Global CMO she led a major rebranding and helped launch USDC – one of the world’s most successful stablecoins.
More recently, Marieke was the CEO of SME banking app Mettle by Natwest, a proposition focused on providing better banking to the passion / creator economy. During her time in the role she launched Mettle to market and grew the team from 50 to 250 employees. Mettle is now a loved app (above 4.8 app store rating) and one the bank’s
Marieke is passionate about exploring the ways in which technology can be used to change people’s lives, and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in finance and technology. She was recognised in the Women in FinTech Powerlist in 2017 and 2019 and she is frequently quoted by the press; including The BBC, The Telegraph, Fortune, The Financial Times, Reuters, Forbes, and City AM.
“I am absolutely delighted to be joining NEAR,” said Marieke. “The tech, the team and the community are absolutely fantastic. I look forward to working with Illia and the NEAR Foundation team to help achieve NEAR’s vision and bring OpenWeb technology to millions of users. And most importantly I look forward to serving and supporting the NEAR ecosystem.”
NEAR is a unique, once in a lifetime global opportunity to shape the future by democratising access to the tools that people need to create service for everyday life – from digital concert tickets and to swift, crypto transfer payments that offer low transaction fees. Added Marieke: `”With its openweb blockchain, NEAR has the capability to help us unlock many of the long-promised uses of the technology and to create products and services that promote greater inclusivity and reflect the needs of the people they’re designed to serve. As the CEO, I am excited to play a role in achieving the foundation’s aim and to ensure that through collaboration and openness, the blockchain can be used as a true force for good.”
Since its launch in 2020, NEAR’s ecosystem has seen a surge of activity. To date, it has processed over 50m millions transactions, launched over 1.7m+ accounts, initiated over 200 projects and over 100 DAOs.
“A huge thank you to Erik Trautman, who has been instrumental in helping NEAR reach those major milestones and will continue as board advisor and help advocate and grow the NEAR ecosystem,” said Illia.
In October 2021, the NEAR ecosystem announced $800 million in funding initiatives targeted at accelerating growth. The announcement, which includes the $350 million in funding announced by Proximity Labs, is designed to build on the momentum in the NEAR ecosystem over the last 12 months.
NEAR enables the creation of OpenWeb, leveraging blockchain technology. At NEAR our vision is to create a world where users own their data, their money, their creations, their journeys. A world where all can engage and participate, a world where new business models can be invented, where creators, developers and users can be better rewarded.
NEAR’s tech, ecosystem and foundation are fantastic key pillars to help achieve its mission. NEAR is simple, scalable, green and open to all.
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