Jesse Powell Will Step Down As Kraken CEO But Remain As Board Chair

Jesse Powell is stepping down as the chief executive officer of Kraken, the crypto exchange he helped co-found in 2011. Powell will transition to a new role as chairman of the company’s board of directors.

Powell To Step Down

The longtime CEO of Kraken, Jess Powell, will be relinquishing that role.

In an announcement on Sept. 21, Kraken said Powell would step down as CEO. He reportedly stated that as Kraken expanded, running the firm became “less fun” and more of a drain. But Powell intends to remain involved with the exchange as the board chairman.

“I look forward to spending more of my time on the company’s products, user experience and broader industry advocacy,” he opined.

Dave Ripley, Kraken’s current chief operating officer, will succeed Powell as CEO once another person is hired to fill his COO position. Ripley has worked at Kraken for the past six years. As the incoming CEO, he intends to accelerate crypto adoption by growing Kraken’s suite of products.

Kraken As A “Freedom Company”

Powell has been at the center of multiple controversies this year.

Powell ruffled feathers in June when he lambasted the “woke activist movement” and encouraged displeased employees to quit.

“We will never ask that our employees adopt any specific political ideology as a requirement for our workplace. We ask that our employees respect the individual rights, privacy, and freedoms of others. Crypto is a freedom movement, and Kraken will remain a freedom company,” Powell postulated, further suggesting that left-wing activists were free to get with the program or walk away from the company.

In July, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control launched a probe into Kraken. The inquiry commenced after five anonymous people affiliated with Kraken told the New York Times that the exchange was permitting customers in Iran and other sanctioned countries to use its platform despite the U.S. embargoes.

Last month, Powell condemned the Treasury Department’s takedown of Tornado Cash, arguing that the Ethereum mixer has licit uses and that individuals have a right to financial privacy.

It does not appear that these controversies triggered Powell’s resignation decision, as he has been in the process of leaving office for over a year.

Kraken remains one of the biggest exchanges in the crypto industry. It currently boasts a valuation of $11 billion, with over $846 million in trading volume in the last 24 hours.

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