As far as cryptocurrency exchanges go, Kraken has withstood the test of time. Founded in 2011, just a couple of years after the first Bitcoin block was mined, Kraken officially opened its doors to traders in 2013. It’s worth noting that even in the early days of crypto, Kraken was already committed to rigorous internal testing and safety standards, having kept its exchange in a closed beta for two years before launching.
Jesse Powell, Kraken’s founder, had already stood at the helm of several internet tech and gaming companies before becoming inspired by Mt. Gox to found his own exchange. Powell’s theory at the time, which was proven correct in hindsight, was that if Mt. Gox were ever to be hacked, traders would need another place to call home. Surely enough, Mt. Gox went down in a flaming wreck after being hacked for over $300 million. Kraken, however, still stands and is stronger than ever.
What are the keys to Kraken’s longevity? So many exchanges have come and gone, and yet Kraken has firmly held its ground through a shifting crypto landscape. From a philosophical standpoint, Kraken has maintained cryptocurrency’s techno-anarcho spirit perhaps better than any other stalwart in the space.
In 2015, for example, the New York Attorney General’s office declared that any crypto exchanges operating within the state would need to comply with licensing procedures. Those licensing procedures gave the state unprecedented access and data to Kraken and its customers. Powell refused to give in, and in a landmark moment, pulled out of New York operations — opting to give up on New York entirely rather than betray its principles. In fact, Powell didn’t just stop at refusing — he refused with a choice description that many remember to this day.
In 2017, the cryptocurrency market picked up in earnest. Up until then, Kraken had mainly offered Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, having made its name as the biggest fiat to BTC/ETH onramp in the industry...