In Crypto, Some Trust Is Necessary — and Kraken Is Trustworthy

By Frank Corva

A prominent saying in the Bitcoin space is “don’t trust, verify” — which means you shouldn’t trust the counterparty with whom you transact. Instead, with Bitcoin, you verify your transactions on the blockchain.

But this approach only works when you directly transact on the blockchain.

When it comes to crypto exchanges — the on- and off-ramps from and to fiat currencies — trust is important.

We have to trust that when we deposit our fiat from a bank to an exchange, the fiat is safe in the custody of the exchange until we make a crypto purchase.

We have to trust that the exchange will successfully facilitate the trade from fiat to a digital asset when we decide to make a purchase.

If we choose to leave our assets in the custody of an exchange — even for a brief time — we have to trust the exchange will safely custody the assets and remain solvent.

And we have to trust that the exchange will have our assets on hand when we choose to withdraw them from the exchange to another crypto wallet.

One such exchange that people have trusted to execute all these functions for over 10 years is Kraken.

A key difference between Kraken and an exchange like the now-defunct FTX is that Kraken was founded by a true believer in the crypto space — a crypto idealogue, Jesse Powell — and not like someone who’s only in the space for a cash grab, like Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), FTX’s former CEO.

Disclaimer: Although Kraken is an active partner of Finder’s at the time of writing this article, all editorial opinions shared in this article are my own.

Jesse Powell, a true believer and a crypto OG

Powell — a staunch libertarian who believes in the promise of financial self-sovereignty that crypto offers — is the polar opposite of SBF in that he actually encourages Kraken users to get their funds off the exchange versus spending them for his own gain.

He’s been vocal about the fact that users’ funds are best kept in the hands of users and not the exchange.


Maybe he first became so aware and vocal about this after his 2011 visit with Mark Karpelès — the former head of the no-longer-existent Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox — after Mt. Gox was hacked and 25,000 bitcoin (BTC) were stolen from 478 accounts on the exchange.

The visit reportedly inspired him to create a more secure replacement for Mt. Gox. And so Kraken was born in July 2011.

In the exchange’s 11-and-a-half-year history, it’s never been successfully hacked. This fact alone has made it one of the most trustworthy exchanges in the industry.

At Kraken, you get what you pay for

Not only has Kraken never been hacked nor had client funds stolen from it — but it provides users with 24/7 customer service from a live agent: something that other major exchanges like Binance and Coinbase don’t offer.

Kraken is also highly compliant with regulations. 

And when it does overstep particular legal boundaries, as it did when it reportedly violated US sanctions against Iran, the exchange paid the imposed fines and moved forward in a nondefiant manner, despite Powell’s personal views.


Trading fees on Kraken are slightly steeper than those on Coinbase or Binance, but trustworthiness comes at a price.


New leadership, same vibe

In September 2022, Powell announced that he would be stepping down as Kraken's CEO, but would continue working on product development for the platform as well as focus on advocacy for the entire crypto space. 

Dave Ripley — Kraken’s former COO — has taken over Powell’s position. He, too, seems like a true believer in the crypto asset class and has been outspoken about the need for crypto exchanges to be more transparent — especially in the wake of the FTX collapse.

Ripley has argued for a “holistic approach and commitment to customer funds” that includes undergoing Proof of Reserves (PoR) audits — or public attestations about crypto holdings.

Such audits — while not a cure-all — would be yet another factor that increases customer trust in Kraken.

Restoring trust

Getting people to trust crypto exchanges again after FTX’s implosion will be an uphill battle.

The mainstream media is far more focused on all that’s gone wrong with FTX — a crypto exchange that was only founded three years ago — compared to all that’s gone right with an exchange like Kraken for more than the past 10 years. 

With outspoken crypto veterans like Powell assuring everyone that there are still many people in the crypto industry who are there for the right reasons, it’s difficult to lose faith.


However, many have been hurt and many are angry. 

And while Bitcoin was created to help us do away with our trust in third parties, we must acknowledge that third parties like crypto exchanges are still a necessary part of the equation for many when it comes to getting our hands on an asset like BTC. 

For this reason, we must remain conscious of who we trust. And we must elevate the true believers in the crypto space who’ve been here for some time now — like the Jesse Powells of the world — if we are to successfully restore trust in the space.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Finder is a global financial technology platform which allows members to save, invest and spend via the Finder mobile app and website. Finder’s mission is to help people make better financial decisions and work with partners to connect via API into the Finder platform to offer saving and investment services and products. Finder was founded in Australia in 2006 and now operates in 50+ countries with 2,600+ product partners and 10+ million visits every month, serviced by 500+ crew passionate about helping our members achieve their full financial potential.

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