Bitcoin has recently started entering the mainstream, and this has necessitated a full featured, professional platform for trading Bitcoin. The beta version of Kraken was released in May 2013. Thereafter it moved out of the beta phase and launched a live trading platform in September 9, 2013.
Kraken, a virtual currency exchange, is the brainchild of Jesse Powell, the CEO of San Francisco-based company Payward. Powell is a founding member of DATA, the self-regulatory organisation created to develop finest practices for the transfer of digital assets. The management team also consists of Michael Gronager (COO), Constance Choi (General Counsel) and Walter Stanish (Founder/Architect). Kraken had raised $260,000 initially in the first round of funding. This was followed by a $3 Mn fund as equity in the second round. The main investor in the second round is Roger Ver.
Kraken has been designed to bring digital currency traders some of the same features enjoyed by forex traders such as stop orders and margin trading. It is an upcoming exchange for crypto currencies. Kraken is headquartered in San Francisco, California. It let’s individual traders and institutions in the US and abroad trade fiat currencies like the US Dollar and the Euro against digital currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, and Ven.
Key features offered by Kraken are:
Kraken has, by far, the most advanced digital asset exchange. The key features offered are:
- Secure platform on protected hardware
- Margin trading and advanced ordering
- Fast deposits and withdrawals
On Kraken, currently 13 pairs are currency are traded. Trading a “pair” means trading Bitcoins (Symbol: XBT) for Dollars (Symbol: USD) and so on. Kraken would be directly competing with MtGox in terms of prices and other offerings.
The uniqueness of Kraken is elucidated by the fact that it is an above average exchange. It offers the first completely professional trading platform for Bitcoin and other math-based currencies. It offers advanced strategies to protect the positions of its users. Kraken deals with lag and instability efficiently. It also ensures speedy turnaround on deposits, withdrawals and support requests.
Kraken takes special care to provide comprehensive security for users’ money and their account information. It employs experts who built in a number of sophisticated measures to prevent the theft of any money or information. It also ensures that, being a professional exchange, it offers financial stability, with full reserves, healthy banking relationships and the highest standards of legal compliance.
Kraken also offers its users the freedom to experiment. It also offers multiple order forms for beginning, intermediate and advanced traders, along with feature explanations to enable users to trade (and learn) at their own pace.
The fee schedules are tier-based: the more one trades in a particular pair of currencies, the lower is the fee on subsequent trades for that pair (once the next volume tier is reached). Fees are charged on a per-trade basis. Processing fee for paper copies of communications is $60/page.
Apart from other currencies being traded on the exchange, Ven has been recently introduced at Kraken. Before Bitcoin, there was Ven, a digital currency launched six years ago as a closed currency as part of the Hub Culture social network. It is one of the world's leading digital currencies. On 7th October, 2013, Hub Culture and Payward Inc. announced the launch of trading for Ven on Payward's Kraken digital currency exchange. Now approved users of Kraken will have the ability to purchase, trade and sell Ven as part of the suite of digital currencies currently available on the exchange.
The Kraken exchange offers new entry points to Ven through other virtual currencies like Bitcoin, greatly expanding the ecosystem. Ven is super stable, and it's a great asset to hold in portfolios seeking stability at large. This partnership will enable Hub Culture to expand liquidity for Ven and give users the ability to cash-out with the advanced regulatory oversight Payward provides.
Kraken has nearly 3000 active users as on October 2013. After a soft launch on 9th September, currently Kraken’s user base is expanding by 200 users per day. Its customers are distributed globally. 65% customers are based in EU, 20% in US and the rest 15% in other countries.
As 65% of Kraken’s customers are located in the EU, on 9th October 2013, Kraken inked an exclusive partnership with a German online financial institution, Fidor Bank, regulated by German Financial Supervisory Agency BaFin, to provide its customers in the EU with traditional banking facilities. In return Kraken will become Fidor's exclusive provider of digital currency trading and payment services throughout the EU, except in Germany. Kraken is the first currency-neutral digital currency exchange to partner with a regulated, licensed and insured banking institution. This partnership would facilitate security for its users, and assisting the growing legitimacy of Bitcoin, Ripple, Ven and other digital currencies.
Jesse Powell believes that complying with legal requirements is a core focus for the company. He aims to make Kraken the first fully compliant bitcoin exchange in the US. In a corporate statement, Powell said, “Our goal from the beginning has been to establish Bitcoin and other digital currencies as wholly legitimate complements to the Euro, the Pound and other traditional, government-issued currencies.”
On some other interesting news regarding Bitcoin, the virtual currency has crossed $500 (18th Nov 2013) and a Canadian mining company is set to pay a contractor in bitcoins for tungsten exploration work in Canada’s western province of British Columbia. The two companies chose bitcoin amid expectations that the crypto-currency