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Kraken unveils new institutional division as Chamber of Commerce steps in against SEC lawsuit

kraken-unveils-new-institutional-division-as-chamber-of-commerce-steps-in-against-sec-lawsuit
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Kraken unveils new institutional division as Chamber of Commerce steps in against SEC lawsuit

Crypto exchange Kraken announced the launch of Kraken Institutional on Feb. 27, a new division aimed at delivering specialized services to institutional clients. 

This move is part of Kraken’s strategy to secure a significant position in the Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) market. Kraken Institutional consolidates the exchange’s existing institutional services, such as spot and over-the-counter trading, along with crypto staking for clients based outside the United States. The division is geared towards serving asset managers, hedge funds, and high-net-worth individuals.

Tim Ogilvie, who became part of Kraken following the acquisition of Staked in December 2021, has been appointed to lead the new division. Ogilvie highlighted the quick pace of institutional adoption in the cryptocurrency sector, attributing part of this growth to the recent approval of Bitcoin ETFs. He noted that institutional adoption of crypto is “growing rapidly” and that “recent ETF approval” has spurred broader institutional demand.

The launch of nine Bitcoin ETFs in January has attracted significant attention, with an aggregate inflow of $6 billion, translating to an average daily inflow of $196 million. These ETFs also set a new daily volume record with $2.4 billion. While Grayscale’s ETF experienced outflows, others, particularly those managed by BlackRock and Fidelity, have seen substantial inflows. 

Coinbase, acting as the custodian for eight of the ten newly launched Bitcoin ETFs, is anticipated to see significant earnings growth. Kraken’s institutional services division aims to compete with Coinbase Institutional and Coinbase Prime, as well as Binance Institutional, which offers tailored solutions for a similar clientele.

Kraken Institutional also plans to introduce a “qualified custody” service, supported by Kraken Financial, a Wyoming-chartered Special Purpose Depository Institution. This service would be a part of Kraken’s broader effort to expand its offerings and compete more effectively in the institutional market segment.

The new launch comes amidst a recent twist in the legal saga between Kraken and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Chamber of Digital Commerce has intervened in the dispute by filing an amicus curiae brief in support of Kraken. This move by the Chamber challenges the SEC’s approach to regulating the digital asset industry.

The brief argues against the SEC’s efforts to enforce regulations without clear legislative authority, emphasizing the need for a regulatory framework that fosters innovation while protecting investor interests.

The Chamber of Digital Commerce’s filing highlights concerns over the SEC’s broad application of securities laws to digital asset transactions, asserting that such an approach is legally flawed. The trade body warns that the SEC’s aggressive enforcement actions could hinder the growth and adoption of blockchain technology, potentially impacting the digital asset market and the broader U.S. economy.