Kraken’s Jesse Powell on Why He Decided to Step Down as CEO

The news of Jesse Powell, the CEO of Kraken, stepping down from the position at the cryptocurrency exchange he founded in 2011 is a significant shake-up. The exec recently came under fire for allegedly “fostering a hateful workplace and damaging their mental health,” according to a New York Times feature.

But Powell believes the entire fiasco was a “blessing in disguise” and that it turned out positively for the company.

Powell’s Comments Post Step Down

Despite the market downturn, Kraken has posted relatively stronger financial results than its competitors. But certain comments by the former boss sparked outrage. In an interview with Protocol, the often-controversial exec said his decision to step back from the CEO position has nothing to do with media outcry.

“Following that, we actually got just a surge in new job applicants, an unprecedented number of new job applicants, a lot of people saying they’re tired of the woke workplaces where they’re at and they would love to work in a place like Kraken with the kind of culture that we have.”

Powell said the entire incident served to “embolden and galvanize” the team. He went on to add that the controversy helped Kraken to “get out a lot of bad fits from the company.” He now plans to focus more on product development and industry advocacy.

Work Culture Controversy

From questioning over women being of equal intelligence to calling American women “brainwashed” to saying staff should not be able to choose their pronouns and questioning who should be able to use the N-word, the New York Times feature made some astonishing claims about the work culture at Kraken and the former CEO’s conversations with the employees.

Powell had then retaliated in a Twitter thread,

“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.”

The controversial “culture document” became significant here as the leadership mandated against promoting diversity and inclusion. The culture document, according to Powell, is one of the high points of his tenure at the crypto exchange. He had said that it helped bring about greater cohesion at the company as well as a surge in job applications.


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