Sep 21, 2022 - Economy

One of crypto's longest serving CEOs steps down

Jesse Powell, Kraken CEO in 2014

Kraken CEO Jesse Powell in 2014. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Jesse Powell is stepping down as CEO of prominent U.S.-based crypto exchange, Kraken. As the company's largest shareholder, he will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Why it matters: Founded in 2011, Kraken is one of the longest running exchanges, currently ranked fourth for volume on CoinMarketCap. Bloomberg recently reported it had a $10 billion valuation.

  • COO Dave Ripley, who has been with the firm six years, will succeed Powell as CEO, according to a company press release.

Flashback: Kraken recently made news when it released its company culture document, basically warning that it might be a bad place to work for people who think of themselves as very progressive.

What they're saying: “My vision, along with the rest of the leadership team, is in lockstep with Jesse’s — to accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrency,” Ripley said in a news release.

  • Kraken has grown from 50 employees to 3,000 in the time that Ripley has been with the firm, according to a statement from the firm.
  • “I look forward to spending more of my time on the company’s products, user experience and broader industry advocacy," Powell said in a statement.

Of note: Kraken has recently been acquiring various crypto companies as it drives its profits into expanding its offerings.

  • It acquired Picks & Shovels, which makes tools for traders and investors; Staked, one of the earliest companies that facilitated staking services for smaller and institutional coin holders and the over-the-counter trading desk once held by USD coin firm Circle, Circle Trade.

What we're watching: While an imminent IPO has long been rumored, Powell declined to give a straightforward answer during an interview with Fortune following the announcement.

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