Kraken’s Jesse Powell on why he’s stepping down as CEO of the crypto exchange

Powell joined the Chain Reaction podcast to discuss past controversies, future plans

Jesse Powell is stepping down from the CEO role at U.S.-based crypto exchange Kraken, The Wall Street Journal reported last month. Co-founded by Powell and Thanh Luu in 2011, Kraken is now the fourth-largest crypto exchange by volume, according to CoinMarketCap.

It’s a critical inflection point for the company, which was valued at $10 billion earlier this summer and has been rumored to be considering going public. We invited Powell to join us on this Tuesday’s episode of Chain Reaction to discuss some of the drama that unfolded prior to his exit and talk about what’s next for the company under its new CEO, Dave Ripley.

The news that Powell was stepping down came shortly after The New York Times reported he had sent controversial messages to employees regarding his views on race and gender. The Times also reported that Kraken is under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department over allegations that it violated sanctions by allowing users in Iran to transact on its platform.

Under Powell, Kraken has been vocal about its “crypto-first” values, releasing a manifesto outlining its libertarian ideology and offering employees the option to take an exit package and leave the company if they disagreed with those values. Some employees took the offer, though the majority chose to stay at the exchange.

Powell addressed these topics and shared more about his post-CEO plans on the episode, which you can listen to in full here:


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