“It is not just about making money. We didn’t start this company to make PayPal 2.0.”
— Jesse Powell
Interview location: Skype
Interview date: Tuesday 13th Nov, 2018
Volatility in crypto is reflected in the businesses which have been built upon it. Only recently have we seen this volatility with Bitmain, where during the bull run of 2017 the business was generated $billions in revenue and profit, but as the market has corrected, both revenue and profit has seen a sharp fall.
The same can be said for exchanges, in 2017 most could not recruit support staff and engineers fast enough, but recruitment in crypto comes with risk. Exchanges are a honeypot for thieves and hackers with wallets containing vast amounts of crypto wealth. Not only must exchanges protect themselves from outside hackers but they too must be prepared for staff compromising data and wallets.
Under the leadership of Jesse Powell, Kraken has grown to a global team of over 800 people. To ensure smooth operations, Kraken must recruit the right people and develop robust processes to protect the security of the company, while ensuring that they maintain a healthy culture.
As an old-school, early days crypto enthusiast, Jesse has led by example, rebelling against the BitLicense and donating $2m to Coin Center to ensure regulations do not swamp the industry.
In this interview, I talk to Jesse about the journey he has been on growing Kraken, the challenges of building an exchange and broader industry issues from regulation to mainstream journalism.