Laurent Féral-PierssensCo-Founder and CIO
Patrick HidalgoChief Economist
Marla DukharanGeneral Counsel
Stanton M. HuntingtonVice President, Marketing
Natalie HartmanHead of Partnerships
Brian Popelka previously served as Senior Vice President of Supplier, Customer and People Care at Overstock. He was responsible for the strategic direction and operational effectiveness of Overstock's award-winning Customer Care Department. Under his direction, the department repeatedly ranked in the top four of the former NRF Foundation/American Express Customer Choice Awards, and earned the Gartner Gold Award and the 2011 Stevie Award for the Retail Customer Service Department of the Year. Popelka was also responsible for all relations with the company's drop-ship fulfillment partners.
Popelka held several positions after joining Overstock in 2002, including Business-to-Business Manager, Director of the Books, Media, Movies and Games Department, and Vice President of Customer Care. In these roles, Popelka contributed greatly to the success of Overstock, helping to set the tone of the company's culture, while at the same time spearheading development of a media channel, travel site, and auto sales site.
Brian holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, Broadcasting, Film and History from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Laurent is a business leader specializing in the evolution of the financial and payment infrastructure. He has been focusing on blockchain innovation, digital assets and the crypto-economy since 2016. Laurent helps organizations, institutions and governments design and build products and services based on digital assets transformation, financial technologies and decentralized infrastructure.
Laurent is Chief Operating Officer for international financial technology company Bitt and Partner at boutique consulting firm BlockZero. Amongst other roles, Laurent was previously Global CBDC Leader at Deloitte, where he built the team’s delivery capabilities, market activation and partnerships. He was also Executive Director, Partner at venture capital firm Inception Block Ventures, and Leader of the Emerging Technologies practice at KPMG Canada.
With a unique combination of business, scientific and technical skills, and over 20 years of experience leading technology companies in Canada, the United States and Europe as a founder and CEO, Laurent has anchored himself as a strategic early investor and advisor.
Today, Laurent is an international thought-leader on emerging technology. He is a regular speaker on the subject of fintech, transformation of the financial infrastructure, blockchain innovation, cryptoassets and artificial intelligence.
Simon began his professional career as a Nuclear Systems Commissioning Engineer, and after discovering Bitcoin in 2012, he co-founded Bitt. Simon has held multiple roles with the firm including Director, Chief Operations Officer, and Chief Business Development Officer, and he brought the company’s Digital Currency Management System to market in Q4 2017.
Simon is a Board Member of the OECD’s Blockchain Expert Policy Advisory Board (BEPAB), a member of the World Economic Forum’s Digital Currency Governance Consortium, and has been a featured blockchain and DLT expert at numerous government, regulatory, and technology-centered forums.
Simon is currently working to establish central bank digital currency (CBDC) standards and best practices to enable interoperability and effective CBDC project collaboration amongst international central banks. He also follows the evolution of decentralized finance, and digital currencies of various types.
Jim is a technology leader with over 25 years experience in software development, architecture and management, in many different business domains. Previously serving as Principal Developer at Medici Ventures and a Vice President of Technology at Overstock.com, Jim brings enterprise software development and blockchain experience to Bitt.
Patrick has spent most of his career on the buy-side of fixed income capital markets. However, prior to Bitt, Patrick wrote code for a year and then helped to manage development workflow at Granicus, a govtech software firm.
He helped grow Proprietary Capital, a mortgage derivative hedge fund, from $100MM to $600MM assets under management (AUM), doing everything from analyzing collateral and stress testing the portfolio to building strategic partnerships for repo lending, hedging and regulatory compliance.
While at Countrywide, the world’s largest mortgage lender at the time, he securitized ~$15B residential non-conforming loans, managed three product lines, and helped transform business models and consumer behavioral research into usable internal software and analytics.
He has been an active blockchain investor since 2015. His volunteer work has included mentoring aspiring Cleantech Open and Rockies Venture Club startups seeking to gain funding from angel investors, and performing due diligence on startups that have traction from angel groups. Patrick has an undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an MBA in International Business from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and a 13-week Ruby on Rails Certificate from the DaVinci Institute.
Marla Dukharan brings 20 years’ experience as an economist in the Caribbean financial services sector to Bitt and is regarded internationally as a chief point of reference on regional economic issues. Her resolve to play an active role in supporting solutions to the Caribbean’s economic and social challenges led her to join Bitt in 2017. At Bitt, Marla contributes to the adoption of technologies in the Caribbean that boost financial and economic inclusion and lower the cost of financial services, enabling the region to transcend the constraints of traditional business and banking channels. A clear and deep commitment to making a difference in the Caribbean is the driving force behind her career and work. She has taken a leading role in driving discussion, action and public policy choices that foster gender equality, reduce income inequality and promote new models of fiscal and economic resilience to lead the region toward a more prosperous and sustainable future.
Marla is passionate about resolving the dichotomy of slow economic growth in a region with limitless potential and works openly to bring important issues to the forefront of public awareness, enabling the transition from attention to action on topics that directly hinder growth, such as the region’s high level of debt, financial exclusion, crime and vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters.
As an active supporter of regional initiatives Marla contributes to the IDB’s #Unfollow campaign and is a member of their Next Generation Board and Member of the Caribbean 2030 Leaders Network. Marla frequently uses her platform to facilitate enhanced engagement between the public and private sector and bring greater attention to the research and work done by others to put the region on a more sustainable socio-economic path.
Stanton M. Huntington
Stanton Huntington is currently General Counsel at Medici Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Overstock.com, Inc., which was created to advance blockchain technology. Medici Ventures has invested in and provides support to 19 blockchain technology companies serving industries from identity management, to capital markets, property administration, money and banking, supply chain management, and voting systems. Huntington serves on the board of directors for four of these Medici Ventures’ companies.
Prior to joining Medici Ventures in 2018, Huntington worked in Overstock’s legal department for four years focusing primarily on corporate and contract work.
Before joining Overstock, Huntington was the Executive VP, General Counsel and Compliance Officer at an emerging payments and merchant services provider where he played a key role on the executive team that oversaw a turnaround and return to profitability and a subsequent nine figure exit to a strategic buyer.
Huntington holds Juris Doctor, Master of Business Administration, and Bachelor degrees from the University of Utah.
Natalie Hartman is the Vice President, Marketing of Bitt.
She brings a wealth of strategic marketing experience based on over 20 years of key positions across various industries including Fortune 500 business intelligence, tourism, retail, customer service, and telecommunications.
Natalie's skills in graphic design, digital marketing, and social media management and analytics advises her leadership of Bitt's highly-skilled diverse and globally dispersed marketing and corporate communications teams.
Natalie holds a Bachelor's degree, with Honors, in Marketing Management from Coventry University.
Imran possesses over 15 years of technology experience, spanning all aspects of information technology, which allows him to bring technology aspirations from idea to reality.
Over the years, he has assumed roles in IT advisory, project management, software development, and IT operations. While in Deloitte’s core digital asset and blockchain practice, he was the Global CBDC Leader and chaired the central bank digital currency committee, composed of leaders from all international markets.
He delivered a number of blockchain-based solutions for clients, including a digital asset and management solution for a large Canadian financial institution. He is a member of the Standards Council of Canada’s committee contributing to international blockchain standards (ISO TC/307).
Through his broad set of roles in technology, he has built a reputation as a versatile leader, with demonstrated success in business strategy, leadership, finance, sales, advisory, and delivery.
Imran holds a B.Eng. in Computer Engineering, and an MBA. He is fluent in English and French.