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Kraken is Still Hiring and HODLing Bitcoin During Bear Market, says CEO

Kraken CEO Jesse Powell recently affirmed that Kraken is at no risk of suffering any Celsius-style debt or liquidity crises. Rather, his exchange will stand out as one of the few that hire and stack Bitcoin during the bear market.

Kraken: Staying Humble, Stacking Sats

On Monday, a Twitter user asked Powell whether customers should fear any “risk of contagion” from bad debt in the crypto ecosystem.

On Monday, crypto lending platform Celsius announced that it would freeze customers’ funds as it struggled to pay its debts. The business used loans within the DeFi ecosystem to generate revenue, which it then offered as an attractive yield to its customers. However, Bitcoin’s recent drawdowns have put some of those loans at risk of liquidation.

“No. We don’t play these exotic shell games,” responded Powell, denying any sort of involvement in decentralized finance. “I get the benefit (and risks) in DeFi but we’re not operating a hedge fund either.”

Kraken CEO Backs Truckers And Bitcoin As Defense Against Canada's Weaponized Financial System
Jesse Powell. Source: Forbes

Rather, Powell said that his exchange is comfortable existing as a simple exchange, earning fees on crypto trades. He added that the company’s balance sheet is “mostly Bitcoin,” including “some ETH.”

Besides stablecoins, the two top cryptocurrencies by market cap are generally considered the most “stable” in a bear market. Bitcoin is frequently viewed as the one asset certain to remain relevant over time, and therefore the “safest” crypto to hold.

Indeed, though the current bear market hasn’t been kind to Bitcoin, it’s been most cruel to altcoins. Multiple top cryptos including Dogecoin, Solana, and Polkadot are down over 80% from their all-time highs. Meanwhile, the dominance of stablecoins is rising, with three different dollar-pegged assets now within crypto’s top ten.

Still Hiring?

Kraken also announced today that it has over 500 job positions up for grabs – an uncommon offer during a bear market. Most exchanges and crypto companies have tendencies to perform in tandem with the market, leaving little spare capital in a drawdown.

BlockFi,, and Coinbase have all announced large layoffs at their respective companies, citing macroeconomic conditions. The latter exchange admitted that it overhired during the 2021 bull market, and must now drop 18% of staff.

Binance, however, claims to have saved money in preparation for such events. It will also be hiring where other companies are not, planning to get building during the bear market.

Employee Trouble

Though open to applications, Powell explained today that Kraken has encountered trouble with new hires as of late. About 60% of employees have been with the company for less than 6 months, leading to troubles with assimilating them into the company culture.

Some of these new arrivals are unhappy with how the business operates, sapping energy and productivity from other workers. Things got especially bad when the bear market set in, raising tension among staff over relatively “minor slights.”

“Most people don’t care and just want to work, but they can’t be productive while triggered people keep dragging them into debates and therapy sessions,” said the CEO.

Powell described the “triggered” people as being “woke activists.” Some of their debates included matters of human sex, the use of racial slurs, pronouns, and identifying as other races.

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Kraken recently issued a “culture doc” to employees, laying out the rules, and telling unhappy employees to commit or leave.

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