It sounds like everyone is learning from Coinbase. The popular cryptocurrency exchange in San Francisco, California, announced last year that it was getting ready to go public. The trading platform will begin trading on the Nasdaq next week on April 14, and now it looks like Kraken is going to follow suit.
Kraken Is Heading Down the Coinbase Road
Kraken is another large cryptocurrency exchange. Also stationed in northern California, it is a direct competitor to Coinbase, though it claims it was not directly inspired by the platform. Rather, Kraken saw its trading volumes skyrocket during the first quarter of 2021. With these volumes reaching new heights, executives felt now was the right time to expand.
Founded in 2011, Kraken is slightly older than Coinbase and has roughly six million customers at the time of writing. It is considered one of the top ten largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Co-founder and CEO Jesse Powell says that the company has really benefited by bitcoin’s sudden rally. Over the last few weeks, the world’s number one digital currency by market cap has jumped into the high $50,000 range and does not seem to want to leave.
In an interview, Powell explains:
For us, any volatility is good but it’s always better when it is on the way up. The first quarter just completely blew away the entirety of last year. We beat last year’s numbers by the end of February. The whole market has really just exploded.
Kraken says it saw roughly four times as many new clients signing up for the exchange’s services during the first three months of this year than it did during the last six months of 2020. Furthermore, exchange trading volumes skyrocketed to roughly 1.5 times higher than all the previous 12 months, making the first quarter of 2021 the most profitable in the company’s ten-year history.
As a result, Powell and his fellow Kraken heads think that now may be the time to go public. At press time, he and his team are pondering a 2022 release of the company’s stock. He says:
We’re looking at being able to go public sometime next year. It would probably be a direct listing, similar with Coinbase.
We Got to Get Some More Moolah First
Currently, the company is focused on a second funding round, which granted it is successful, will bring Kraken’s total valuation to a whopping $20 billion. Powell says:
We have been in some talks to do another round. We’ve kind of been delaying a bit to see where the Coinbase valuation comes in at. I suspect that the price is going to pump much higher than it has been trading at… We are not in a rush to raise capital. The reason to do it would just be to bring on some more strategic investors who can help us with geographic expansion and growth.