Kraken CEO Says Crypto Exchange Could Go Public in 12-18 Months

Kraken, one of the world’s largest exchanges for trading cryptocurrencies, could go public in 12 to 18 months, according to its chief executive officer.

Jesse Powell, who founded the San Francisco-based exchange in 2011, told Bloomberg TV the firm is “doing all the prep work” to become a public company, though he declined to give a target valuation.

“We’re on a mission to bring crypto to the world, and our valuation hopefully will be a reflection of our success in achieving that mission,” he said in the interview.

Kraken was recently in talks to raise new funding that would value it at more than $10 billion and could surpass $20 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. Tribe Capital co-founder and partner Arjun Sethi also recently joined Kraken’s board in a sign of its mounting ambitions.

Kraken has more than 6 million clients in almost 190 countries, making it the world’s fourth-largest crypto exchange by trading volume according to coinmarketcap.com. Kraken’s larger rival Coinbase Global Inc. went public earlier this year via a direct listing, citing skyrocketing revenue growth.

Powell said Kraken has seen more sign-ups this year than in any prior year and that the first two months exceeded all of 2020.

While trading volume has slowed since the Bitcoin selloff in May, he blamed “swing traders,” or people new to the market who trade based on momentum, for exacerbating the rout.

“Guys that have been holding for a long time continue to accumulate,” he said, citing MicroStrategy Inc., which recently issued junks bonds to fund Bitcoin purchases.

Powell remains bullish on Bitcoin, predicting that the token will hit a fresh all-time high this year.

“I’ve said one Bitcoin, one Lambo by the end of the year,” he said, referring to the Lamborghini sports cars popular with crypto investors. “It may be a Lambo with fewer options or a smaller engine at this point, but I think we’re still looking at very lofty price targets.”