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Founded 2011
Headquarters San Francisco, CA
Key People Jesse Powell
Employees 500-1000
Products Kraken Exchange
Twitter @krakenfx
LinkedIn Profile

Kraken is an over-the-counter cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2011. The San Francisco-based exchange offers bitcoin, Ether and other crypto currencies with several fiat currencies including US dollars, Canadian dollars, British pounds, euros, and the Japanese yen.[1][2]

The exchange, with operations in the US, Canada and Europe, is recognized as one of the largest bitcoin exchanges globally,[3] although its ranking, based on volume, varies greatly.[4]

In 2018, Kraken announced it would be ceasing operations in Japan indefinitely, though it "might consider re-entering the market at a later point."[5]


Kraken was founded in July of 2011. It went into open beta on May 3, 2013, then went live on September 10, 2013. It emerged from a group called Max BTC, which was mining for bitcoins in 2011 and had about five percent of the network at one point, according to Kraken's co-founder Jesse Powell. Powell invested in computer equipment when bitcoin was priced at $1, but quickly exited the mining business and decided to focus on building the exchange.[6][7]

By February 2014, it was ranked as the number one exchange by volume in trading between bitcoin and euros. It began listing prices on Bloomberg terminals in April 2014.[8]

In March 2014, the exchange raised $5 million in Series A funding. The company raised more money in a deal with SBI Investment in February 2016, and another round of investment from Money Partners Group in April 2016, and grew quickly through a series of strategic acquisitions. Kraken purchased and integrated several other exchanges including Coinsetter, a New York-based exchange with operations in Canada, and another called CleverCoin, a Dutch-based digital currency exchange. It acquired wallet funding service Gildera in December 2016 and rebranded it as Kraken Direct. It bought charting and trading platform Cryptowatch in March 2017.[9][10][11]

In 2014, Kraken began offering yen trading in Japan.[12] In April 2018, the exchange announced it was exiting the country and suspending operations in Japan for Japanese residents. Before this time, it had been allowed by Japanese authorities to operate in Japan without a license.[13]

In April 2018, Kraken announced it would not comply with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's inquiry into the exchange, which was one of 13 exchanges to have received the request. CEO Jesse Powell released a scathing statement about the request, citing Kraken's decision to leave New York in 2015 as a "wise decision." Powell expressed frustration with New York's "disrespectful" treatment of cryptocurrency businesses, as well as its cryptocurrency regulatory framework, BitLicense.[14] He also described the nature of the demands as requiring a "massive" diversion of resources.[15]

In a post on Kraken's official corporate blog entitled, "Kraken's Position on Regulation," Powell said that the publication of the New York Attorney General's request lacked "any prior communication" and that "inclusion of exchanges which are clearly outside of the AG’s jurisdiction (including Kraken) raise questions about the true motive," and "comes off as a publicity stunt."[16]

Products and Services

Kraken offers trading in bitcoin, Ether, Dash, Litecoin and several others against US dollar, Canadian dollar, euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound.[17][18]

Key People

Jesse Powell, CEO and Co-founder