update 18 August 2021

Kraken Exchange Acquires the Once-Powerful Circle’s OTC Desk

Founded in 2013, the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Circle is one of the earliest digital assets players. The OTC office once got recognized as one of the most profitable companies on the market. On 17 December, Kraken confirmed its purchase of Circle’s over-the-counter office.

In a blog post announcing the move, Circle co-founders Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville confirmed the firm’s OTC business’s sale to Kraken. They stated that they have known and admired Jesse and his team at Kraken for many years. They have every confidence and expectation that Circle Trade customers and partners will continue to find best-in-class OTC liquidity service and responsiveness through Kraken going forward.

With Circle Trade representing an enormous success for the industry and Circle, they are excited to see Kraken grow it further, as they stated.

Shaping Circle 

The announcement follows news that Circle laid off ten more employees earlier this month in its finance department. It accounts for approximately 10% of its entire staff. Circle attributed this to the challenging regulatory environment in the U.S. Its OTC business also suffered from an outflow of talent, including its former head of OTC trading in Hong Kong, Ryan Salame.

The Circle founders say OTC sales are part of a tightened company roadmap for 2020. According to the roadmap, the company needs to focus effectively on a stable coin platform to reach higher speeds. He wanted to achieve this by reducing complexity, reorganizing his team, and streamlining his product portfolio.

A spokesperson confirmed that the company is taking action because it wants to focus on its  USDC stablecoin.

Kraken hopes that the acquisition will significantly improve its services. The company hopes to attract new global trading partners, tighter spreads on all assets under management, and greater liquidity. It also wants to improve its trader tools, which allow a simple trading process from quote to settlement.

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