Kraken cryptocurrency exchange, one of the largest and longest-established crypto exchanges in the US, is offering private equity shares of the company to accredited investors for a minimum investment of $100 000.
Kraken sent an email soliciting equity contributions this week to “our most valued clients.” The company says it is profitable, “is sitting on significant reserves,” and has been valued at $4 billion.
Kraken CEO Jesse Powell confirmed that the email is authentic in an email to crypto media outlet Coindesk.
“There is presently a limited time opportunity available to a very small, select number of clients to purchase Kraken shares.”
He added that the amount raised will depend entirely on levels of interest and that no limit on contributions has so far been set.
While the email to clients does mention the current bear market in crypto- in which Bitcoin is currently trading 82% below last year’s high price and Ethereum is down 94% from its highest price in January- the correspondence also claims that “fundraising is not a necessity. “ The money is being sought to line the company’s “war chest” rather:
“We’re profitable and sitting on significant reserves so fundraising is not a necessity, however, further aligning interests with our top clients while building a war chest for acquisitions in the bear market presents a win-win opportunity.”
When asked about previous acquisitions by Kraken, Powell named Coinsetter, CAVirtex, CleverCoin, and Cryptowatch, but wouldn’t name any names or describe particular companies of interest for forthcoming acquisition:
“We’d be looking for more…anything that would have strong synergies with our existing product/service offerings, and with great teams.”
The release also doesn’t get into the market shake-up currently afoot in the US, where the SEC has now ordered a handful of companies that raised funds by ICO to return those monies to investors. Kraken has been relatively conservative so far about the coins it adds for trading.
Fellow American exchange Coinbase, also based in San Francisco, raised an estimated $300 million earlier this year in a private funding round after it was valued at $8 billion.
Unlike Kraken, Coinbase is reportedly not looking to pick up acquisitions now.
In September, Kraken surprised workers at its Halifax offices when it gathered staff in the lunch room to announce broad layoffs as guards from a private security circulated manned checkpoints at the office’s entrances and exits.
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