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American Express CEO: “Bitcoin is Going to be Important”

CEO and chairman of American Express Kenneth Chenault let everyone know his feelings towards bitcoin and related digital currencies on Thursday at the New York Times DealBook conference in Manhattan, and in a surprising twist Chenault’s words were rather, well… Respectful…

Bitcoin has garnered some angry and distrusting feelings from members in the traditional finance scope; particularly from credit card giant Mastercard, who’s president of its South East Asia division, Matthew Driver, went so far as to call bitcoin “unstable,” and therefore untrustworthy.

In an interview in January for CNBC, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon labeled bitcoin as “a terrible store of value” that could be “replicated over and over.”

American Express holds the third highest position in credit card transactions behind Mastercard and industry-leader Visa, and the company’s CEO more than likely shocked a few with his comments:

“The reality is, we compete with any form of payments… Everyone focuses on the displacement of Bitcoin and the credit card industry… There’s a reason credit cards were invented… The protocol of Bitcoin is going to be important… I think there’s room for a lot of players.”

Chenault also commented that he sees a lot of potential in bitcoin’s use as an underlying technology aside from its use as a currency.

Kenneth Chenault has served in his position with American Express since 2001.

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