trading deskCarl Court / Getty Images


  • The exploding market for digital assets has caused
    headaches for some cryptocurrency exchanges. 
  • Customers of Kraken, one of the largest exchanges in
    the space, recently experienced connection problems caused by
    record-level trading volumes. 
  • Still, the firm is hiring across departments, including
    one to build products for high-frequency trading


Kraken has not been immune to the problems facing cryptocurrency
exchanges as money continues to pour into the scorching-hot
market for digital coins such as bitcoin

Cryptocurrency exchanges, which don’t have the industrial
infrastructure of traditional exchanges such as the New York
Stock Exchange or Nasdaq, are under pressure to handle
record trading volumes.

Just this month, customers of Kraken, one of the largest
crypto-exchanges in the world, experienced
delays and connection time-outs
triggered by record-high

Here’s one crypto-trader who took to Twitter Friday to lament
about server problems on the exchange.

Kraken is one of the four crypto-exchanges that is set to
contribute to the index on which Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the
exchange giant, will base its
bitcoin futures markets
. Bithumb, another exchange that’ll
contribute to the index, also experienced a server outage in

In a Q&A with Business Insider earlier this week, Kraken CEO
Jesse Powell outlined the exchange’s strategy in light of recent

Powell said Kraken is actively hiring to build out a number of
units, including one to build tools for high-frequency

A number of high-frequency traders have plunged into the
cryptocurrency market. Business Insider previously reported that
Chicago-based DRW, Hehmeyer Trading, and DV Trading

are among the firms making markets in cryptocurrencies

The following has been lightly edited for clarity and

Frank Chaparro: You guys appear to be
expanding your development team. Was that triggered by the
explosive volume in crypto-trading we’ve seen? Has
the recent server failure put more pressure on you guys to
hire more people/build-out faster?

Jesse Powell: Development team growth has been
part of our strategy all along. The increased
volume has validated our hunch. The key to hiring though
is to ensure we are preserving Kraken’s extremely high

Chaparro: You’re looking to hire
for an active traders
product manager
. What are some of the products you plan
on rolling out in trading?

Powell: The active trader product manager will
be focused on our professional cryptocurrency trading tool,
Cryptowatch and associated APIs that high-frequency traders
need. In addition to market and data depth; we are focused
on scaling and performance, too. We are also working on
aggregate views across any exchange the trader may
be trading across. So, yes, the new product manager will
certainly be helping us achieve our vision of the best all
around digital asset exchange by working closely with our
high-frequency traders to ensure we are bringing them the
tools they need to be better traders.

Chaparro: The company acquired CryptoWatch, the charting site,
recently. What are the next steps for that unit? How does that
acquisition play into the broader strategy?

Powell: We see an amazing opportunity in the
market for a tool that can aggregate market data, allow trading
across any exchange and provide actionable content for traders.

Chaparro: What kind of talent are you guys
looking for? Do you think Wall Streeters are better equipped to
build out a mature cryptocurrency ecosystem?

Powell: We are seeking a variety of backgrounds
and experience levels across our open positions. Where a
Wall Street vet may not have the most relevant experience
(i.e., cryptocurrency gateways), they could certainly help us
with trading system technologies.

We are hiring in almost every function. In addition to
developers, which we are always actively hiring, we are looking
to bring on a VP of engineering, regulatory affairs counsel,
trader, compliance manager, product manager, recruiter, and
treasurer, just to name a few. 

Experienced folks from Wall Street bring tremendous value to
certain roles such as traders, while other roles require
expertise in crypto and financial technology, and many of these
talents are outside of New York, so we keep our recruiting funnel
as wide as possible given the various diverse roles that we have

Chaparro: Have you recently brought anyone on
from a traditional Wall Street firm?

Powell: Several talented individuals who used to
work on Wall Street have become part of the Kraken trading desk
team, crypto-analyst team, and corporate development team.

Chaparro: What relationships or partnerships are
you engaged in with traditional Wall Street firms?

Powell: Kraken has several things going on but
nothing that we are at liberty to disclose. We have always been
and will continue to be open to strategic partnerships with
traditional Wall Street firms. 

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