Podcast conversation: NEAR Foundation CEO Marieke Flament on building USDC issuer Circle, business neobank Mettle, and growing the NEAR ecosystem
Hi Fintech Futurists,
Welcome back to our podcast series! For those that want to subscribe in your app of choice, you can now find us at Apple, Spotify, or on RSS. If you enjoy it, throw us a rating here — it helps spread the word!
In this conversation, we chat with Marieke Flament, CEO of Near Foundation. Marieke is a French-born computer engineer who has worked across the globe in a diverse range of companies that include Boston Consulting Group, LVMH, and Expedia’s Hotels.com. In her previous role, she was Managing Director of Europe and Global CMO for Circle, one of the world’s largest crypto companies. At Circle, she pioneered the consumer application of blockchain, taking several products to market and building a user base of over two million in less than two years. She also helped move the blockchain agenda forward by working with key decision makers, including governments and financial policy makers across Europe.
She 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. Marieke was recognised in the Women in FinTech Powerlist for 2019 and frequently provides media commentary on technology and the future of finance.
More specifically, we touch on the journey from Fintech Web2 to Layer-1 protocols and Web3, the neobanking ecosystem and comparatives, the role of the NEAR protocol and its Foundation, the three foundational pillars of NEAR, and so so much more!
Go deeper in Fintech and DeFi by upgrading below. Our value prop is simple: experienced judgment, accurate vision. If you knew the shape of the tomorrow, what would you do today?
…and so, the foundation is one pebble in an ecosystem that is growing every day and very rapidly. Today it's over 500 projects, it's over 500 active DAOs. I mean, it's just continuously growing with more and more engagements and more and more projects, which can be anything from DAO, NFT, gaming, DeFi, anything as you can imagine. So, within that ecosystem, the foundation does three things. One is we exist to help raise awareness of not only NEAR Protocol, but also open web and Web 3.0, right? Because I think sometime in the crypto community we are in our bubble, we understand each other, but reality is there's a lot of jargon. The mainstream media is also not necessarily always playing favor to what real things are happening.
So, I deeply believe we have a really big role of education. It's really important for the next generation of students to understand actually what this technology is, because I believe everybody's career is going to be impacted by that, right? So, to that effect, we have NEAR University, which is a program where whether you're a developer and entrepreneur, you can start getting your hands into it and figuring out what this could mean for you. And then we also engage in strategic partnership, right? So, for example, I mentioned earlier Sweatcoin, Orange DAO. We engage in strategic partnership to bring to life real use cases, again, in a sense of awareness and education. So that's one big pillar of the work the foundation does.
The second pillar is actually…