Kraken wants to expand beyond crypto and beyond the US. The team is working on getting an European license and probably launching an NFT marketplace
The crypto exchange Kraken does not want to lag behind in the race to dominate the global cryptocurrency market and is actively working on expanding beyond the United States.
The first and also the most challenging destination is Europe. In an interview for the German news outlet Handelsblatt, Jesse Powell, CEO of Kraken, said that the exchange is in the process of getting a license to operate legally on the continent.
Powell expects everything to be ready before the end of 2021. He did not reveal the status of the negotiations but assured that the company is very interested in Malta, Luxembourg, or Ireland, countries with which the Kraken team is already conducting the respective consultations.
Kraken vs. Coinbase
For Kraken, obtaining this license is crucial for its expansion into global markets. The company had the approval of the UK regulatory authorities, but after the Brexit, the license lost its strength as it could only apply to the UK jurisdiction.
Another notable thing is that this strategic move would allow Kraken to compete with its north-American rival Coinbase. This exchange recently went public and is licensed to operate in Germany.
Unlike Coinbase, Kraken has no interest in dealing with German regulators at the moment. Powell explained that the company had had discussions with Germany’s BaFin, but Germany’s regulations are too complex, restrictive, and expensive to be attractive to the company.
However, Kraken does have one advantage over Coinbase: In mid-September 2020, the Wyoming Banking Board voted to approve its application for a special purpose depository institution (SPDI) charter. This recognized Kraken as the first exchange with SPDI bank status in Wyoming and the state’s first newly chartered (de novo) bank since 2006.
A Bank + NFT Marketplace + DeFi Booster
In addition to its expansion into Europe, Kraken is working on other strategies to further spread its influence within the crypto ecosystem.
Following in Coinbase’s footsteps, the exchange is also looking to go public. Powell explained that they are dealing with all the complex regulatory paperwork, but Coinbase’s direct listing cleared the way for them.
“We have to work through a huge checklist with 1000 tasks. For us, it’s good that Coinbase was the first to go public.”
In addition, Kraken is looking to enter the NFTs and Decentralized Finance segment. Powell said that in addition to allowing its users to access the governance rights of DeFi token staking, Kraken follows the scene of games like Axie Infinity or phenomena like Crypto Punks.
“We would like to have a marketplace through which people can trade NFTs. I believe we will see a number of applications for NFTs in the coming years.”