We’re pleased to announce Jeremy Welch, co-founder of the popular Casa wallet service, is joining Kraken as our newest VP of Product.
In addition to his expertise as a cryptocurrency entrepreneur, Jeremy brings to Kraken a decade of experience leading product development at both startups and tech giants like Google. In his new role, he will be tasked with making it easier than ever for clients to buy and sell crypto assets with Kraken.
This will include launching strategic improvements across Kraken’s product suite and leading the charge on new features to improve our existing user experience.
Jeremy will also continue to serve as an advisor to Casa as it seeks to grow its non-custodial wallet offering, praised by users for enabling them to safely and securely store Bitcoin without the need for a custodian or exchange.
To mark the occasion, we sat down with Jeremy to learn about his new position and to get his perspective on the industry’s past, present and future.
Kraken: Welcome to the team Jeremy! What makes you most excited about leading the product experience here at Kraken?
Jeremy: I’m most excited about building a better future with such a talented team. It’s an incredible honor to learn from and work with Jesse and the other Krakenites around the globe.
Kraken is the quiet juggernaut in the cryptocurrency world. We have a strong security stance and a culture focused on solving real problems for our large global customer base (we’re not just reinventing Wall Street on the blockchain).
Despite already being a customer, it was honestly a surprise to see the breadth of initiatives Kraken is quietly building globally.
There are very few teams that understand the real implications of Bitcoin and other new decentralized technologies. There are even fewer teams out there that have both the resources and the courage to invest in the big technology breakthroughs that are now starting to emerge. I feel very lucky to be working with a team that is aggressively pushing this world forward.
Your prior position was as a co-founder at Casa, a non-custodial wallet service. Why make the jump to a leading global exchange?
I spent almost four years building Casa before stepping away in January to focus on a family health issue. It was an incredibly tough decision to make, but I knew that my family needed my focused attention, and that I wouldn’t be an effective CEO while that was the case.
After several months off, I started thinking about what would come next. It wasn’t just a question of the type of product or industry.
My search for a new role was guided by three priorities: 1) Working with great people 2) Finding a culture focused on building a better future and 3) Flexibility to focus on family.
Those seem like straightforward requirements – but most companies out there offer a mixed bag when it comes to work impact, culture, location, etc. You might get to work on something important and new, but location flexibility or pay might be low.
Kraken is a rare company – investing heavily in its teams, working on some of the most impactful technologies in the world and also enabling teams to work anywhere and anytime.
Working at an exchange is extremely fast-paced, and we are still in the early stages of the cryptocurrency revolution. There’s so much to build. But within Kraken’s great team culture and work environment, I’ve found the pace of work to be strongly sustainable.
The Kraken team has made it very easy for me to get things done while also finding time for family. This company is just phenomenal and I feel very fortunate to work here.
Tell us a bit about your experiences as a cryptocurrency user. What challenges did you encounter and how will this inform your strategy for your new role?
Using cryptocurrencies, and more broadly any kind of encryption or decentralized computing technology, is still too complicated. When we started Casa, it was out of a personal need and also out of concern for friends and family. I knew people who were attacked, who lost funds, and I saw centralized services fail directly.
We made it easy for anyone to manage their funds directly with the best possible security using a carefully designed multi-signature personal key system. Today, it’s super easy-to-setup and easy-to-use with simple apps and 24/7 client service.
At Kraken, I plan to use the same approach to improve overall user experience, but at an even larger scale. Exchanges are getting more complicated, not less. Increased scale, new security risks, new fintech experiences, new regulatory frameworks and new layer 1 and layer 2 technology improvements are all converging at the same time.
If that wasn’t enough, something tells me that we’re about to see a whole new wave of customers coming into the market. For this group especially, I want to make their first experience a lasting one.
Given your past experience, what do you see as the role for cryptocurrency exchanges in the customer journey? What trends do you think will most shape the sector in the next decade?
Cryptocurrency is no longer a niche industry. More than just wider awareness by the financial industry and by consumers, the bigger sign is the new technologies like Microsoft’s ION project and Facebook’s Libra project. The future of fintech, consumer apps, and much much more will all be built on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
And timing is fitting. The Internet needs a new business model. The Internet also needs an updated and more resilient architecture. I think Bitcoin could be foundational for both of those, and I think the exchange plays a fundamental role in that foundation.
Money isn’t just about taking and paying debt. It’s an information system. With cryptocurrencies we will see many more unexpected use cases emerge.
For all these use cases to work, exchanges must work flawlessly and at massive scale. It’s both an exciting and a daunting future we are heading towards.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
Right now, we’re focused on making many improvements to the core exchange experience, but there are also many new product areas we are investing in that I think will completely take people by surprise. I’m excited to be contributing to both, and to continue to build a great team.
Kraken started as one of the first exchanges, and its strong security stance has now enabled it to scale into one of the largest globally. But we are still just getting started. We are working to bring better financial and data access to billions globally.
Please reach out if you want to help us build a better future! You can review our jobs page. We are hiring across Product Management, Engineering Design, Product Marketing, Growth, support and much more.
Can’t wait to share more of what we’re working on soon!
Once again, welcome Jeremy!
– The Kraken Team
Bank of Korea Head Says Cryptocurrencies Have No Intrinsic Value
The head of the Bank of Korea, Lee Ju-yeol, said that Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies lack intrinsic value. However, he believes that all assets will continue to experience significant price fluctuations.
Price Surge Because of Pro-BTC Institutional Investors?
The chief of the Bank of Korea said cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, do not possess inherent value. In a recent news report, Lee Ju-yeol blasted the highly volatile nature of the digital asset industry.
“There is no intrinsic value in crypto assets,” said BOK Gov. Lee Ju-yeol at a parliamentary session on 23 February.
The news report quoted lawmakers asking BOK’s chief if the recent surge in the price of BTC is temporary or not.
“It is very difficult to predict the price, but its price will be extremely volatile,” Ju-yeol added.
The bank executive has also said that the recent rally in Bitcoin’s price followed by other significant digital assets may be led by multiple factors. Among them, Elon Musk’s Tesla – investing $1.5 billion. He highlighted that the latest price surge might be a continuation of institutional investors using Bitcoin as a hedge.
Ju-yeol also emphasized that BOK shouldn’t buy bonds issued by the country’s government directly. Otherwise, this would raise worries about fiscal stability and undermine the central bank’s trust.
Bitcoin Volatility Bringing Some More Hard Times For Investors?
The primary cryptocurrency’s volatility has been causing quite some troubles for both retail and institutional investors. This particular character of the digital assets has been a stumbling point for many, thus, causing some hesitations in whether to allocate funds in it or not.
BTC’s price managed to initiate another notable surge during the last couple of months, marking a consequent all-time high. Just a few days ago, it skyrocketed above $58,000, dragging other altcoins like Ethereum behind it for a while.
However, almost immediately after its upgrowth, BTC suffered a significant correction, settling unsteadily around $50K as per the time of the writing. As a result, the cryptocurrency market capitalization lost more than $300 billion in two days.
Interestingly, JPMorgan strategists said recently that Bitcoin’s illiquidity could bring more problems. Analysts from the US multinational banking institution argued that BTC is in a liquidity shortage, warning investors that the primary crypto-asset could suffer another price drop.
Featured Image Courtesy of WSJ.
Cross-chain bridges and DeFi integration are pushing these 3 altcoins higher
The cryptocurrency market is showing signs of progress following a multiday sell-off that saw the total market capitalization drop by more than $400 billion as Bitcoin’s (BTC) price briefly fell below $46,000.
While the majority of altcoins have entered a consolidation phase that includes a retest of underlying support levels, several projects have started to regain lost ground after new developments reignited investors’ optimism.
Cardano’s ADA started the year with a bullish spark that saw its price increase 624% from $0.165 on Jan. 2 to a high of $1.20 on Feb. 20. This week’s sharp correction pulled the price to a swing low at $0.80, but it is clear that traders bought the dip.
Since hitting a swing low at $0.80, ADA’s price rallied 30% to $1.05 following the news that community members at Venus Protocol had approved a proposal to bring ADA to the Venus mainnet.
— Venus (@VenusProtocol) February 23, 2021
VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for ADA on Feb. 14, prior to the recent price rise.
The VORTECS™ score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historic and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.
As the chart above shows, Binance introduced staking on Feb 10., and the VORTECS™ score for ADA rose to a high at 88 on Feb. 14
On Feb. 9 the Matic network rebranded to become “Polygon” as part of a strategic change to become a layer-two aggregator. The move was done in response to the growing momentum of Polkadot and a desire to build an interoperability protocol on top of Ethereum.
High gas fees on the Ethereum network have increased the need for layer-two solutions, and Polygon has emerged as one of the top solutions with projects like Aavegochi and Golem already operating on the protocol.
The rebrand helped lift the price of MATIC from $0.07 on Feb. 9 to an all-time high of $0.197 on Feb. 20 before the market downturn pushed it back down to $0.111 on Feb. 23.
Since that time the MATIC has recovered 62% to trade at $0.16 as the community and total value locked on Polygon continue to grow.
Stacks (STX) was the breakout star on Feb. 24 as the layer-one blockchain solution designed to bring smart contracts and decentralized applications to Bitcoin saw a record $166 million in trading volume that elevated STX to a new all-time high of $1.17.
Excitement for the project comes after the Feb. 23 announcement that STX holders can now participate in delegated staking from the Stacks wallet, allowing them to earn BTC rewards.
According to data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro, market conditions for STX have been favorable for some time.
As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ score for STX hit a high of 87 on Feb. 23, around 30 hours before the price increased 75% to its new high of $1.17.
Interoperability, cross-bridge solutions and staking have emerged as drivers of growth that help incentivize investors to hold their tokens and also attract new participants to old and new blockchain projects.
Following the recent market downturn, it’s clear that projects that offer tokenholders multiple ways to earn a yield and operate across separate blockchain networks are beginning to stand out from the rest of the field.
Former London Stock Exchange Group CEO Urges UK Government to Explore Cryptocurrencies
The former CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group, Xavier Rolet, has advised the UK government to look into cryptocurrencies and SPACs to minimize the adverse impact of Brexit. In a recent report, Rolet claimed that the UK has trailed behind other countries in both aspects.
The UK Should Turn To Crypto And SPACs?
Born in France, Rolet is a businessman and the Chief Executive Officer of the London-based credit-focused asset management firm CQS. Before assuming this position, though, he served as the CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group and was named as one of the 100 best CEOs in the world in 2017 by the Harvard Business Review.
In a report cited by Bloomberg, Rolet touched upon the potential consequences to the UK economy following the withdrawal from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, better known as Brexit.
The executive believes that the UK has two viable options to consider if it wants to minimize the risks and help the nation flourish.
In the first one, he urged the government to “promptly consider the SPAC revolution.” Also referred to as “blank check companies,” these special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC) operate as shell corporations listed on a stock exchange with the idea of buying out a private company, thus making it public. Ultimately, this strategy eliminates the need to go through a traditional initial public offering (IPO).
While the US has seen significant adoption in the past year with a 10x increase in the raised funds compared to 2019’s results, the UK regulators have halted their progress on the London markets.
Rolet’s second advice involved digital assets as he noted that “all relevant UK government agencies should be resourced to thoroughly understand cryptocurrencies.”
With proper regulations, the crypto ecosystem could “place London and the UK at the center of a reputable and safe financial market.”
The UK’s Regulatory Approach To Cryptocurrencies
While UK’s regulators have hindered SPACs’ progress within the country, the nation’s financial watchdog, the FCA, has also been rather harsh against the cryptocurrency industry.
As of the start of this year, the Financial Conduct Authority banned crypto derivatives and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) to retail customers.
Additionally, the watchdog has issued several warnings to investors that they could lose all their funds if allocated in digital assets.
The regulator also announced that all UK-based digital asset businesses need to be registered with it but extended the deadline for applications to July 9th, 2021.
Featured Image Courtesy of TheGuardian
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