Jesse Powell

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Jesse Powell
Occupation Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Employer Kraken
Location San Francisco, CA
Twitter @krakenfx
Personal Twitter @jespow
LinkedIn Profile
Website Kraken Home
Blog Kraken Blog

Jesse Powell is the CEO and co-founder of Kraken and its largest shareholder.[1] [2] On September 21, 2022 it was reported that he would step down from his role as Kraken's CEO, to be succeeded by the current COO, David Ripley. Powell will become chairman of Kraken’s board, the company said.[3]

Powell was embroiled in conflict with Kraken employees in 2022 after he posted inflammatory messages relating to race and gender on the company’s Slack. He told employees who disagreed with his values to leave the company.[4] He also was criticized when the company refused to block accounts of Russian users after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, citing the “libertarian values” of cryptocurrencies as a major reason for that decision.[5]


Powell is the founder and CEO of numerous organizations, including Kraken. He was also the founder and CEO of Lewt, Inc., a company that delivered services for assisting players in online-based video games with account management and in-game currency, from 2001 to 2011. He was also the founder and CEO of another company, Internet Ventures & Holdings, which also provided services to the online gaming community. From 2007 to 2010, he started the Verge Gallery & Studio Project in Sacramento. He became a board member for the Verge Center for the Arts in Sacramento in 2010, a position he holds to this day.[6][7]

Cryptocurrency career[edit]

Powell has been involved in a number of controversies within the cryptocurrency space over the years.

Opposition to regulation[edit]

Powell has long been a strong proponent of cryptocurrency adoption and a strong critic of attempts to regulate crypto.[8] He has made multiple strong public statements responding to attempts by the New York Attorney General's office's attempts to regulate, or acquire operational data about Kraken. In 2015, when Kraken announced it would no longer support users in New York due to legal business requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges (such as its Bitlicense), Powell wrote a post on Kraken's blog calling New York's legal system "a creature so foul, so cruel that not even Kraken possesses the courage or strength to face its nasty, big, pointy teeth."[9] When a report from the NY AG's office published in September 2018 concluded that several cryptocurrency exchanges, including Kraken, may be operating illegally, Powell responded over Twitter by calling the state of New York "that abusive, controlling ex you broke up with 3 years ago but they keep stalking you, throwing shade on yoru new relationships, unable to accept that you have happily moved on and are better off without them." He punctuated his post with the hashtag, "#getoverit."[10][11]

His statements have included assertions that "most crypto traders" don't care about protection for market manipulation or risky investments, that legal protection from such threats "doesn't matter," and that the cooperation of some cryptocurrency exchanges with the New York AG's office is "placative kowtowing" to the AG's "abuse."[12][13]

Mt. Gox[edit]

Though he was not an employee of the Mt. Gox bitcoin cryptocurrency trading platform when the site went down amid hacking attacks, Powell and Roger Ver travelled to Tokyo, Japan to assist Mark Karpelès in bringing the site back online.[14]

Bitcoin ABC lawsuit[edit]

In December, American telecommunications firm United American Corporation (UAC) sued Powell, as well as Roger Ver, Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu, and key Bitcoin Cash (Bitcoin ABC) developers.[15][16] The United American Corporation lawsuit alleged that Ver and the others manipulated the cryptocurrency market by making Bitcoin Cash too "centralized," allowing them to direct the network to become "unjustly enrichment" by this conduct.[17]


Jesse Powell went to California State University at Sacramento. He received a degree in philosophy with a concentration in Ethics and Law.[18]