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Marieke Flament Appointed CEO of NEAR Foundation to Spearhead Growth

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.

The appointment comes at an exciting time for the NEAR ecosystem. The NEAR blockchain is a permissionless, proof-of-stake carbon-neutral blockchain designed to be super-fast, incredibly secure, and infinitely scalable. NEAR is backed by top VCs including A16Z, Pantera Capital, and Electric Capital.

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. In addition, NEAR recently closed partnerships with Opera and The Wharton Business School, started working with crypto payment provider MoonPay to make NEAR accessible in 150 countries worldwide, and continued collaborating with Near Inc. to launch Simple Nightshade, the first step towards a fully sharded blockchain.

“We are delighted to have Marieke join NEAR to help accelerate our next phase of adoption and help us realise our vision,” shared Illia Polosukhin, Co-Founder of NEAR. “Her skills and experience are the perfect blend to help NEAR reach its next phase.”

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Flament brings a wealth of international business experience to the role, as well as an in-depth knowledge about the world of crypto and fintech. Born in France, Flament trained as a computer engineer and 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, crypto giant Circle and more recently Mettle by Natwest.

During her time at Circle she was Managing Director of European operations, where she took to market several products and built a user base from 0-2 million in less than 2 years. Shortly after that she became the company’s first Global CMO, leading the branding and rollout of USDC – one of the world’s most successful stablecoins.

After her position at Circle, Flament became the CEO of SME banking app Mettle by Natwest, targeting the passion / creator economy. During her time in the role she launched the app and grew the team from 50 to 250 employees. Mettle has gained widespread customer acclaim (above 4.8 app store rating) and has become one of the bank’s biggest product success stories.

Flament 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.

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“I am absolutely delighted to be joining NEAR,” said Flament. “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.”

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“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,” added Flament.

”With its permissionless, proof-of-stake 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 more than 50 million transactions, across more than 1.7 million accounts, and helped incubate and foster over 200 projects and 300 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 to help advocate and grow the NEAR ecosystem,” said Polosukhin.

Excitement continues to build around the potential of the NEAR blockchain. Unlike other networks, NEAR gives software developers easy 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 – capable of 100,000s of transactions per second, versus ETH’s 45, and charges 1000x 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. To date, the foundation has allocated over $45m to new projects.

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