• Fourth-largest crypto exchange in the world’s announcement follows Coinbase going public in April
  • Kraken has added 3 million new clients to its platform so far in 2021

Just two months after Coinbase became the first major crypto company to go public in the US, Kraken, one of the exchange’s largest competitors revealed it could also go that route by the end of next year.

Kraken is “doing all the prep work” to become a public company in the next 12 to 18 months, CEO Jesse Powell said during an interview with Bloomberg TV. 

The San Francisco-based exchange, which was founded in 2011, has clients in 190 countries and has more than 1,800 employees, according to its website. Kraken is the world’s fourth-largest cryptocurrency exchange — behind Binance, Coinbase and Huobi Global — and offers more than 50 tokens and seven fiat currencies. 

Since the beginning of 2021, 3 million new clients have signed up to use Kraken. The company launched its app in the US earlier this month, which has contributed to the growth in users.

The IPO plan comes after Powell said during an interview with Fox Business News in April that Kraken wanted to have the option to potentially go public. He noted at the time that there would be “no guarantees we pull the trigger,” and added that the company was mulling whether it would stay a US company or not due to the country’s lack of regulatory clarity in the space. 

Powell said at the time that Tokyo, the United Arab Emirates or the United Kingdom could be good homes for the company, which is the largest crypto exchange by euro trading volumes.

Coinbase decided to take a direct listing approach in April instead of a more traditional initial public offering. There are no new shares created or capital raised during a direct listing, as the company’s current shareholders offer the shares to the public. 

“It’s kind of nice to have Coinbase out there being the guinea pig for this and we’ll see if it affects their business and their ability to move quickly,” Powell said in April. “This is a very fast-moving space and that’s something that we’re very cognizant of. We definitely want to retain our ability to move quickly.”

Fortune reported last week that Powell was now considering going public by way of IPO, a process during which new shares of the company are created and sold to the public, in light of the direct listing performance. He added that he thought Coinbase’s stock was undervalued now due to “a lack of understanding,” noting that it was still early.

Though Kraken is considering going public next year, no final decision has been made, a spokesperson told Blockworks.

“We’re fully focused on scaling our business, filling key roles and making sure we’re giving clients the best experience and products in a time of unprecedented growth,” the representative said. 

So far in 2021 Kraken has processed more than $420 billion in trading volume, which is more than three times the volume reported in 2020, the company’s previous best year on record, the spokesperson added. May was the exchange’s best month, as Kraken processed nearly $12 billion traded volume.

Kraken is focused on boosting access to financial services for retail consumers, Powell has said. Brian Hoffman, Kraken’s crypto platform lead, told Blockworks last month that now is the time to focus on the infrastructure and services that will be critical to support the next bull run.

This story was updated on June 18, 2021, at 3:36 pm ET.

  • Ben Strack is a Denver-based reporter covering macro and crypto-native funds, financial advisors, structured products, and the integration of digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) into traditional finance. Prior to joining Blockworks, he covered the asset management industry for Fund Intelligence and was a reporter and editor for various local newspapers on Long Island. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism. Contact Ben via email at [email protected]