by Hannah Lang
(Reuters) – New CEO Dave Ripley said Thursday that cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has no plans to delist tokens designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or to register with the agency as a market broker.
The stance of the San Francisco-based platform, which says it has more than nine million customers, highlights the challenges the securities regulator is facing in its efforts to rein in the cryptocurrency industry.
Kraken, which made the news earlier this year when it rejected requests to block digital wallet addresses from Russian users after the invasion of Ukraine, has long championed the libertarian values associated with cryptocurrency. Its new CEO promised to continue the path in the company’s culture.
Kraken announced Wednesday that controversial co-founder Jesse Powell will be stepping down and that Kraken’s chief operating officer, Ripley, will take on the role of CEO after the company appoints a new COO.
Ripley will take over Kraken not only as the cryptocurrency market faces a major defeat, with bitcoin down nearly 60% this year, but also as the fast-growing industry has been at odds with regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Despite reports that the SEC is examining Coinbase (NASDAQ 🙂 for listing several tokens on its platform that the regulator identified as securities in an insider trading lawsuit in July, Kraken has no plans to remove these tokens. From the exchange, Ripley said.
Ripley added that Kraken also sees no reason to register with the SEC because his company does not offer securities, despite calls from SEC President Gary Gensler for crypto platforms to register.
“There aren’t any tokens out there that are securities that we are interested in listing,” he said. “There might be some new tokens that get interesting and also happen to be security() in this case, we should probably be interested in that path.”
In a summer when massive crypto market players such as Celsius Network and Voyager Digital filed for bankruptcy, and others such as Coinbase announced layoffs, Kraken managed to avoid a downturn in the market and is now eyeing the opportunity.
“To the extent that there are opportunities for mergers and acquisitions in this environment, and perhaps if a company is already going through bankruptcy, that is a possibility that we should definitely consider,” Ripley said, adding that the company hasn’t made any moves yet.
However, he said that Kraken will consider acquisitions that enhance its product and technology portfolio, especially as the exchange looks to expand its offering with an upcoming non-fungible token platform and banking services for institutional clients.