In a recent interview on Trace Mayer’s Bitcoin Knowledge Podcast, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell discussed the tremendous growth of the cryptocurrency industry in 2017. While Powell admitted that Kraken has had issues scaling to meet the massive influx of new users to the cryptocurrency exchange, he added that the market for cryptocurrencies is still likely to grow at least another ten to a hundred times over in the coming years.
Massive Growth at Kraken
During the interview, Powell discussed how incredible the growth of the exchange and the cryptocurrency market as a whole has been recently.
“It’s been crazy,” said Powell. “The last quarter was by far – you know maybe 10x – above the largest previous quarter, so the growth has been immense.”
According to Powell, the exchange is now dealing with 4,000 new support tickets per day. At its peak, the exchange had a backlog of 50,000 support tickets, but they’re now taking care of the tickets faster than they’re coming into the site.
“This happens in any rally where you get a lot of newbies coming in, and they have a lot of newbie questions,” said Powell.
In addition to the growth in the cryptocurrency markets, Kraken also acquired Glidera late last year, which they rebranded to Kraken Direct. The service allows users to easily buy and sell bitcoin from the comfort of their own wallets.
Expanding Kraken to Deal with the Growth
According to Powell, Kraken has hired 150 people in the past two months. However, the CEO is worried about a possible scenario where cryptocurrencies enter a bear market and the need for all this additional personnel dissipates.
Powell claimed that a similar situation occurred during the bitcoin frenzy of late 2013 when the company expanded to 35 employees before eventually having to cut back to around 12 after the hype died down.
During the interview, Powell also indicated that their own exchange’s growth can also impact their banking relationships, which further compounds already existing issues for their users.
“[Our banking and payment partners] might be fine with what the usual volume is, but an overnight 10x in wire transfers or KYC requests – because they will often want to do enhanced diligence – and if they have to do 10x what their enhanced diligence is, they might need to hire more people themselves,” explained Powell.
Powell added that the banking partners then need to decide whether to let the bank wire requests pile up or go ahead and hire more people to handle the extra workload that may evaporate after the cryptocurrency markets calm down.
Bitcoin Will Continue to Grow
In terms of Bitcoin’s future potential, Powell claimed there is still plenty of room for further growth.
“If the source of many of our tickets is any indication, [cryptocurrency] is just going to continue to grow,” said Powell. “90 percent of our support tickets are related to some sort of fiat payments problem . . . On the [cryptocurrency] side, no problems.”
“I think the space has easily 10-100x room to grow and probably even further than that,” added Powell.
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