Today we're excited to announce a new addition to the BitPay advisory board. Jim Aviles has a distinguished career spanning over 28 years in the payments industry, most recently co-founding Merchant e-Solutions, which was acquired by Latin America's leading payment processor Cielo S.A. for $670M in 2012. As a member of our board, Jim will be working with our Latin American manager Alberto Vega to continue bitcoin's growth in the region, which exceeded 1,700% in 2015.

Prior to founding Merchant e-Solutions, Jim was the Senior Vice President of product, technology, and marketing at Bank of America Merchant Services, Inc. (BAMS). Today he serves as a partner in Avigo Ltd., a firm that provides funding and guidance to early-stage Brazilian startups. Jim brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on payments and the Latin American fintech community, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him on board.

Here's what Jim had to say about joining BitPay and the bitcoin ecosystem:

I have spent virtually my entire 31-year career in financial services and financial technology – the latter 20 years in financial technology. I have been fortunate to see many of the technology shifts that have helped shape our industry, and I feel fortunate to be a part of such a dynamic industry. Interestingly, I started out my career in banking and have seen my career gravitate towards payments and financial technology. The answer to why this happened explains why I am now a part of BitPay.

The financial services industry has been shifting and continues to shift to a technology driven industry – and this shift is accelerating rapidly. Our whole industry – the entire way we find and consume these services – is being less driven by the banks that are available and increasingly driven by the technology available to us.

And this is important. It used to be exclusively the case that the technology served the product and operational needs of the banking community. Interestingly, we have been seeing more and more cases where the banking industry is trying to determine its role in the technology. Electronic payments is perhaps the oldest example. An industry that was completely dominated by banking institutions came to be dominated by technology companies like FDC, Paymentech, TSYS, Global Payments and others. Non-banks offering technology-based services came to dominate the credit and debit card payments landscape. Banks got pushed to the back-end of the process and became financial utilities, plug-ins.

And now there is bitcoin, a truly digital financial instrument, completely based upon technology. For me, it represents where our world of financial technology is going. But we have to shape this future. We have to find and vet bitcoin's relevant applications.

I joined BitPay because I find bitcoin technology compelling. I think it is going to greatly influence the way we transact and the way we use financial services. BitPay is a company that sees that bitcoin has a very relevant place in financial services, but they also see that bitcoin's place has to be defined and nurtured. The company has brought in executive talent at all levels to develop bitcoin as a financial instrument and to find its applications for daily life. For me, BitPay is a wonderful combination of practical execution and strategic exploration. There simply are not many companies that offer this kind of opportunity.