Banking News

Stellar blockchain’s commercial arm appoints Zelle founder as CEO

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Interstellar, the commercial arm of blockchain payments network Stellar, has a new CEO Mike Kennedy who founded payments company Zelle. Kennedy has been on Stellar’s advisory board since 2017 and replaces Adam Ludwin.

San Fransisco-based Interstellar was formed last year by acquiring and merging Ludwin’s Chain.com with Lightyear. The aim is to help businesses build on the Stellar Network.

One of those corporates is IBM and its World Wire payment solution which uses Stellar’s Network. However, Jesse Lund who fronted the initiative has since left IBM, and there have been unconfirmed rumors about IBM getting cold feet. That’s the result of Stellar having some technical issues in May and the lack of Tier 1 banks joining the network.

Jed McCaleb, Interstellar board member and founder of the Stellar Development Foundation said, “Mike’s record of success founding and growing Zelle [fka clearXchange], his innovation in mobile payments, FX and banking, and his history as a high-impact advisor to Stellar make him the perfect fit to lead Interstellar.”

Kennedy was the President of North America for payments provider OFX before he was approached by Interstellar. Previously, he was also the Executive Vice President of Payments for Wells Fargo. “I am excited about leading Interstellar, helping solve the real-world problems of making international payments faster, cheaper and more efficient,” said Kennedy.

Stellar’s blockchain is a competitor of Ripple, both engaged in enabling low-cost cross border payments. McCaleb is also the co-founder of Ripple, but he left in 2013 and founded Stellar.

Stellar is increasingly being used for ICO tokens and has its cryptocurrency lumen (XLM). In the payments space, XLM is used for transactions over the Stellar network for the corresponding parties to convert to local currency. And to pay fees.

Meanwhile, Interstellar has spun off an app-focused company called Pogo to work on interoperability between mobile wallets. Pogo will leverage the Stellar blockchain and outgoing CEO Ludwin will head the company.

“In my new role leading the spin out, I look forward to collaborating closely with Mike and the team to leverage the world class infrastructure Interstellar continues to build for the Stellar ecosystem,” Ludwin said.