- 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 firms.
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 volumes.
Here’s one crypto-trader who took to Twitter Friday to lament about server problems on the exchange.
Trying to get my money of Kraken, another 502. Sigh. Might come back when they relaunch with a decent platform, but enough is enough. pic.twitter.com/WixTXtWvRI
— Dennahz (@Dennahz) November 24, 2017
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 will contribute to the index, also experienced a server outage in November.
In a Q&A with Business Insider earlier this week, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell outlined the exchange’s strategy in light of recent developments.
Powell said Kraken is actively hiring to build out a number of units, including one to build tools for high-frequency crypto-traders.
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 length.
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 standards.
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 open.
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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