“I wish I could give you a grand leading vision.”
It’s the first thing Heartland CEO Bob Carr says as he sits down in the media room at Money20/20, the modern white leather couch clashing with his holiday sweater. We’re talking about the buzz around the bitcoin blockchain, the technology’s decentralized ledger, and how it relates to the future of his New Jersey-based payments firm.
Frankly, I’m surprised he arrived. With all the chasing that goes into setting up meetings, it’s a bit startling the CEO of the fifth largest merchant acquirer in the US would venture down to the press room for the kind of theoretical conversations bitcoin and blockchain discussions often spiral into, especially when it was only loosely on our schedules.
My hesitation for the meeting was not without reason. We’re both not exactly sure what to talk about, both armed with the awareness that the narrative around the technology is shifting away from Heartland’s specialities like payment services and e-commerce.
When Heartland signed a deal to refer its merchant customers to BitPay in March of this year, the industry was just a few months removed from