Two weeks ago, the global bitcoin exchange Kraken announced a multi-million dollar agreement with the Japanese powerhouse SBI Investment to invest in and lead the Series B round of financing in the firm. The news came after Kraken revealing only in January that they were taking over North American exchanges Coinsetter and Cavirtex.
Now we bring you an interview with Jesse Powell, the CEO of Kraken, explaining what he intends to do with the money, how he looks at the major markets around the world and the effects of the contentious block size debate.
Why did you decide to acquire Coinsetter and Cavirtex?
The acquisitions give us a head start in our entry to the North American markets. Coinsetter and Cavirtex both have good brand reputations and a clean compliance record.
What are the main differences that you see between the major markets?
In the US and EU markets, I think we see more actual use of bitcoin beyond speculation. My impression of the Chinese and Japanese markets is that uses outside of a speculative vehicle are limited.
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The Philippines, however, is seeing a tremendous amount of remittance activity over Bitcoin.
Should we expect to see further consolidation in the exchange space?
I do expect we’ll see more consolidation in the exchange space. Kraken is actively looking for more opportunities to consolidate.
What are you earmarking the funding for?
Kraken will be investing in further product development, service improvements, scaling the business, infrastructure, compliance, licensing, marketing, global expansion, and more acquisitions.
Is the “bitcoin civil war” affecting fund raising?
I don’t think it’s affecting fundraising. Kraken is not as affected as some others might be because, among other things, we’re not exclusive to Bitcoin. Kraken services seven digital assets, which investors appreciate. We’re betting on the digital asset space as a whole, not specifically Bitcoin. However, I do think that the conflict lately has affected consumer adoption. I’m confident that the “war” will be over soon and we’ll be stronger for it.
Do you find it easier to raise funds right now compared to a few years ago?
Yes and no. Raising Seed/A is generally easier than raising Series B. This time around there are a lot more investors that understand the space but we’re also looking for a lot more money. There is no shortage of interest but at this stage, we’re really looking for the right investors.