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Bitcoin start-up nabs Goldman board member

December 27, 2013: 5:02 PM ET

Exclusive: Michele Burns, a board member at Goldman Sachs and Cisco, is joining Circle's board.

M. Michele Burns

M. Michele Burns

FORTUNE -- The Bitcoin economy just got another vote of confidence.

M. Michele Burns, a finance industry veteran who sits on the board of Goldman Sachs is joining the board of Circle Internet Financial, a Boston start-up that is building a payment processing system for Bitcoin.

Circle launched earlier this year, and was founded by Jeremy Allaire, who has led other Internet start-ups, but recently has become a Bitcoin evangelist. The company got $9 million in funding from a number of venture capitalist firms. Jim Breyer, a partner at Accel and an early backer of Facebook (FB), is also on Circle's board, as is Raj Date, who recently left a top post at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

MORE: Overstock CEO: I don't own Bitcoin, but I am a fan

Circle declined to comment about Burns. Two sources with knowledge of her move confirmed it.

Burns's move is another sign that Bitcoins are starting to gain some following among established financial players. She is the former CEO of human resources consulting firm Mercer. Along with Goldman (GS) , she is also on the board of Cisco Systems (CSCO) and the Elton John Aids foundation. She is also a former board member of Wal-Mart (WMT).

And her Wal-Mart connection might be the most valuable to Circle, and Bitcoin in general. A growing number of retailers are considering whether to accept the digital currency. Last week, Overstock.com said it would start taking payments in Bitcoins.

Earlier this month, the venture capital firm co-headed by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, Andreessen Horowitz, said it was leading a $25 million investment into CoinBase, which is a competitor to Circle.

Dan Primack contributed to this story.

An earlier version of this story said that Burns was a Wal-Mart board member. In fact, she left Wal-Mart's board earlier this year.

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About This Author
Stephen Gandel
Stephen Gandel

Stephen Gandel has covered Wall Street and investing for over 15 years. He joins Fortune from sister publication TIME, where he was a senior business writer and lead blogger for The Curious Capitalist. He has also held positions at Money and Crain's New York Business. Stephen is a four-time winner of the Henry R. Luce Award. His work has also been recognized by the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the New York State Society of CPA and the Association of Area Business Publications. He is a graduate of Washington University, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

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