Executive Team


Board Members


Brian Popelka

Chief Executive Officer

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 Féral-Pierssens

Chief Operations Officer

Laurent is Chief Operating Officer at Bitt and Partner at boutique consulting firm BlockZero. He 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.

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, crypto assets and artificial intelligence.

Simon Chantry

Co-Founder and Chief Information Officer

Simon Chantry is Co-Founder and CIO at Bitt. He has a background in nuclear commissioning engineering, co-founded Bitt in 2013, and has since been working within the global digital currency space. Simon is a board member of the OECD’s Blockchain Expert Policy Advisory Board, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Digital Currency Governance Consortium and has been a featured blockchain and DLT expert at numerous international government, regulatory, and technology centered forums.

Simon brought Bitt’s Digital Currency Management System (DCMS) – a solution critical for the operationalization of CBDC and digital currencies for all ecosystem participants — to market and was instrumental in its deployment in multiple jurisdictions across the world. By the end of 2021, Bitt's software will be deployed in markets approaching 300 million people.

Simon is currently working to establish Bitt’s CBDC standards and best practices to enable interoperability and effective CBDC project collaboration among international central banks.

Jim Martin

Chief Technology Officer

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 as Vice President of Technology at Overstock, Jim brings enterprise software development and blockchain experience to Bitt.

Patrick Hidalgo

Chief Financial Officer

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

Chief Economist

Marla Dukharan brings 20 years’ experience as an economist in the Caribbean financial services sector to Bitt and is internationally regarded 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 that boosts financial and economic inclusion, while lowering the cost of financial services, thereby enabling the developing economies 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 sectors and to 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

General Counsel

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

Vice President, Marketing

Natalie Hartman is the Vice President, Marketing at Bitt.

She brings a wealth of strategic marketing experience based on over 20 years in key marketing 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 Khan

Executive Vice President, Partnerships

Imran Khan is the Executive Vice President, Partnerships at Bitt.

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 CBDC Committee, composed of leaders from all international markets.

He delivered several blockchain-based solutions for clients, including a digital asset and management solution for a large Canadian financial institution. Imran is a member of the Standards Council of Canada’s committee contributing to international blockchain standards (ISO TC/307).

Stephen Phillips

Vice President, Special Projects

Stephen Phillips, Vice President, Special Projects, is an award-winning technology scientist and international consultant, possessing expertise in successfully managing multiple simultaneous technology initiatives. Stephen has developed and implemented next-generation blockchain and CBDC technologies with Bitt, since 2016.

He is also co-founder at IMHOTEP Consulting, a technology consulting firm (founded in 2011) specializing in data science, digital transformation, advisory and technology implementation for large international clients.

Stephen possesses an engineering and business background, honed while consulting at world-leading organizations. During his time at Ericsson and Vodafone UK, he managed full P&L responsibility for telecommunications and financial services products.

At Bitt, Stephen leads expertise in the conduct of research and development for their industry-leading CBDC products and manages Bitt’s strategic alliances, owning relationships with clients and technology partners.

Stephen continues to influence the evolution of digital assets and digital currencies, with thought-leadership contributions and speaking events with universities, central banks, and features by world renowned publications like Forbes.

Bus Wagoner

Director of Software Engineering

Bus Van Wagoner leads the Software Engineering team at Bitt.

Bus is a software engineering leader who has been leading IT operations and software development teams over the past 10 years. He is passionate about building successful software development organizations with great cultures in order to create products that delight customers. Bus is an avid practitioner and perpetual student of Agile software development practices, continuous improvement and servant leadership.

Omar Watson

Sales Lead

Omar C. Watson leads the Sales and Account Management team at Bitt.

With a background in commercial banking at the regional level with one of the most globally recognized names in the financial sector, Omar has been on the front lines of sales and payment product innovation for over a decade.

Whether streamlining efficiencies in MSMEs or building new payment integration strategies for regional conglomerates, he has gathered a wealth of knowledge and experience in the payments arena.

Omar joined Bitt’s business development team in 2017 and played an integral role in the conceptualization and execution of the Caribbean’s first synthetic CBDC payment network, mMoney. Since then, he has held several leadership positions within Bitt, contributing to sales, product development, account management and strategic delivery, as the company has grown and scaled to meet demand.

Omar holds a bachelor’s degree in management and business studies from the University of the West Indies as well as a tertiary degree in office administration and management.

Mani Tran

Customer Success Manager

Manilay Tran, or Mani, as she prefers to be called, is Customer Success Manager at Bitt.

Mani is a customer success expert with over 15 years’ experience in leading and executing game-changing strategies for international companies. Having spent most of her career in the online retail space, leading teams in excess of 100+ people that focus on the customer experience, she has converged all these learned experiences and talents to develop an agile, efficient, multinational customer success team.

Luke Bishop

Product Manager

After spending over a decade in management within the luxury tourism sector, in 2013, Luke made a career switch to finance and technology. Having spent most of his career in managerial roles focused on delivering customer excellence, Luke made a seamless transition to product management within the technology industry in 2016.

After seeing Bitt’s ambition for creating technological advancements within the Caribbean, Luke joined Bitt in 2018. Since then, Luke has been a leader in product and software development and continues to contribute to the company’s major technological advancements. He was pivotal in the success of its first digital currency application by helping to secure government integration of the payment platform. Additionally, Luke was critical to the product development and roll out of DCash – the world’s first CBDC in a currency union.

Luke holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Liverpool with emphasis on finance and technology applications.

Nicholas DeFreitas

Business Development Officer

Nick has been working with emerging and disruptive technologies for almost 20 years. He was an early contributor to the successful roll out of Musson Group’s mobile/airtime distribution company, Facey, in the early telecoms market growth phase.

Discovering Bitcoin and DLTs in 2012, Nick moved his focus to the blockchain world, becoming a stakeholder in Bitt, launching the first central bank digital currency (CBDC) network for the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

Nick is a co-founder of Fortitude Circle/NetZero Capital, a leader in the digital asset product space, and an experienced digital asset investor.

Braden Jensen

IT Administrator

Braden Jensen is an IT administrator with experience in managing multiple environments at a time through automation. He lives and breathes technology. He always says, "change is life, and life is change, so be prepared for it."

Steve Glover

Chief Financial Officer, Pelion Venture Partners

Steve’s responsibilities include management company oversight, the fund’s financial reports and audits, valuation analysis of portfolio companies, investment allocations and distributions, and limited partner communication. Prior to Pelion, Steve was an Associate Dean and K . Fred Skousen Distinguished Professor at the BYU Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University.

Carine Clark

General Partner, Pelion Venture Partners

Carine Clark is the President and CEO of Banyan, and a three-time president and CEO of high-growth tech companies, specializing in helping companies scale from $10 million to $100 million and more. Her reputation as a data-driven marketing executive at Novell, Altiris and Symantec opened doors to lead Allegiance, MartizCX and Banyan as president and CEO.

Chris Campbell

Chief Strategist, Kroll

The Honorable Christopher E Campbell is the Chief Strategist at Kroll, based in the New York office. Prior to Kroll, Chris was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate, in 2017, as the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions. He is a frequent commentator on radio, television and written Op-Eds on economic issues.