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Kraken Intensifies Institutional Focus with New Division and Custody Services

Kraken unveils a new division for institutional clients, offering advanced trading and custody services, led by industry veteran Tim Ogilvie, to compete in the growing Bitcoin ETF market.

In an ambitious bid to cater to the surging demand from institutional investors, Kraken has announced the launch of Kraken Institutional, a division specifically tailored to meet the sophisticated needs of asset managers, hedge funds, and high-net-worth individuals. This initiative marks a significant step in Kraken’s strategy to establish a strong foothold in the competitive Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) arena.

Leading the charge is Tim Ogilvie, co-founder of Staked, which Kraken acquired in December 2021. Ogilvie brings a wealth of experience to the table, and under his leadership, Kraken Institutional is poised to drive the company’s efforts in capitalizing on the rapid institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies. “The recent ETF approval has spurred broader institutional demand,” Ogilvie stated, highlighting the momentum building within the sector.

Kraken Institutional aims to differentiate itself by offering a suite of services that go beyond traditional trading platforms. The division incorporates spot and over-the-counter trading, alongside crypto staking services, tailored for clients outside the United States. A key component of Kraken Institutional’s value proposition is the introduction of a “qualified custody” service, an initiative backed by Kraken Financial, a Special Purpose Depository Institution chartered in Wyoming. This service is designed to provide institutional clients with a secure and reliable storage solution for their digital assets, addressing a critical need in the market.

The landscape of institutional crypto services is becoming increasingly competitive, with heavyweights like Coinbase Institutional and Binance Institutional already established in the market. Coinbase, serving as the custodian for eight of the ten newly launched Bitcoin ETFs, is poised to reap significant benefits, setting a high bar for Kraken to meet. However, Kraken’s comprehensive approach, combining trading, staking, and custody services, positions it as a formidable contender in the space.

The timing of Kraken Institutional’s launch coincides with a period of significant growth for spot Bitcoin ETFs, which have attracted billions of dollars in investment amid a rallying cryptocurrency market. Industry giants such as BlackRock and Fidelity have led the charge, amassing substantial inflows into their ETF offerings. This trend underscores the increasing appetite among institutional investors for crypto-related products, a demand that Kraken Institutional is well-equipped to satisfy.

In the midst of expanding its institutional offerings, Kraken has also been proactive in addressing regulatory challenges. The exchange recently filed to dismiss a lawsuit by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which alleged that Kraken’s parent companies were operating an unregistered securities exchange. Kraken’s response to the lawsuit emphasized the lack of a direct “contract” between buyers on Kraken and token issuers, challenging the SEC’s stance and defending the exchange’s operations.

As Kraken Institutional forges ahead, its blend of advanced trading, staking, and custody services, underpinned by robust leadership and a clear strategic vision, sets a promising course for the exchange. With institutional interest in cryptocurrencies continuing to rise, Kraken’s latest initiative could well be a pivotal moment in its quest to become a leading player in the digital asset ecosystem.


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