Jesse Powell is to step down as CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Kraken and become its chairman.

COO Dave Ripley will succeed Powell, who co-founded the business in 2011, once Kraken has identified a new COO.

Powell told Bloomberg that he first revealed his intention to step aside to the board over a year ago.

“As the company has gotten bigger, it’s just gotten to be more draining on me, less fun,” he said.

Powell came under fire this year for criticising “woke activists” within the company while Kraken has been investigated by the US Treasury Department for allegedly allowing Iranian users to use the platform in violation of international sanctions.

Kraken’s website states that its services are not available to users in Iran.

Ripley has served as Kraken’s COO for six years, helping to grow the company from 50 to more than 3,000 workers, complete more than 16 acquisitions and secure a significant number of global regulatory licences and partnerships.

He joined through its acquisition of Glidera, a crypto wallet funding service where he was co-founder and CEO. 

“Dave’s proven leadership and experience give me great confidence that he’s the ideal successor and the best person to lead Kraken through its next era of growth,” said Powell. “I look forward to spending more of my time on the company’s products, user experience and broader industry advocacy.”

Ripley added: “United by our crypto-first culture, we will empower people to transact and connect in new ways. 

“My vision, along with the rest of the leadership team, is in lockstep with Jesse’s – to accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrency.”

Over the past 11 years, Kraken has evolved from a bitcoin exchange into a crypto platform offering a suite of trading tools and educational resources, staking services, futures trading and an OTC desk. It will soon launch an NFT marketplace.

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NFT platform to let fans buy stake in song royalties

A platform which claims to allow fans to buy a stake in song royalties has launched.

Renowned musician Matt Bond is behind PopEx, a digital collectibles platform specifically designed for the music industry. 

The platform claims to make it easy for musicians to create and sell non-fungible tokens and other exclusive items and experiences, and for fans to own official, authenticated limited-edition work by their favourite artists and even stakes in the artists’ royalties. 

The vision behind PopEx is to build a community in which NFTs are more accessible for everyone by removing the barriers and paywalls normally attached to NFTs.

Built on Polkadot, billed as the world’s most carbon-efficient blockchain, Popex is also donating a percentage of all sales to help fund global carbon reduction projects through its climate partners Aerial and Senken.

Bond is the co-founder of songwriting and production collective NBLM, which has signed over 100 record deals and yielded hundreds of millions of streams through releases with Universal, Sony and Spinnin Records. 

He is also a founding member of rock band The Dirty Youth, which has toured with Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Soundgarden, Iggy Pop, Status Quo, Feeder and Korn. 

Cryptocurrency shorts

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has told US lawmakers that crypto tokens identifying as currencies – such as Bitcoin – are “decentralised Ponzi schemes”. He says he sees value in “tokens that do something” such as ledgers and smart contracts.

Crypto research and analytics firm Messari has raised $35 million Series B funding led by Brevan Howard Digital alongside new investors Morgan Creek Digital, FTX Ventures and Samsung Next. Existing investors Point72 Ventures, Kraken Ventures, Uncork Capital, Underscore VC, Galaxy and Coinbase Ventures also participated.

Blockchain gaming studio Vulcan Forged has raised $8m Series A funding led by SkyBridge Capital to grow ‘Metascapes’, a play-to-earn immersive metaverse game that allows users to build their own land in the metaverse and store the data through NFTs.

Integral, a real-time accounting platform for Web3 businesses, has closed an $8.5m round of funding led by Electric Capital. Former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, Color Genomics co-founder Elad Gil, Hustle Fund, Mantis, Maple VC, Anchorage founder Diogo Monica and Dapper Labs founder Roham Gharegozlou also participated.

Nomura, one of the largest investment banks in Japan, has established a venture capital arm aimed at investing in companies focusing on crypto and blockchain.

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Crypto prices

The overall market cap of the more than 21,000 coins is at $907 billion at the time of writing (7am UK), a 2.1% decrease in the last 24 hours.

For round-ups of recent cryptocurrency news developments, click here.

For valuations of the top 100 coins by market cap in US dollars, plus 24-hour price change, see below.