Global crypto exchange Kraken today named a new UK managing director.
Bivu Das, a fintech entrepreneur and former Starling Bank executive, will succeed Blair Halliday in the role, according to an announcement. Halliday, who will soon leave the business, took over roughly a year ago after joining from a similar role at Gemini, a rival exchange.
Das previously ran Unblock, a crypto payments gateway startup, and a small business finance platform named FIBR UK. He also spent a year as head of operations strategy and scaling at Starling Bank, the British neobank founded by Anne Boden and backed by Bahamas-based billionaire Harald McPike.
Building out the UK business
In his new role, Das will oversee Kraken’s efforts to build out its business in the UK, where it boasts 275 staff and a substantial client base, according to today’s announcement. The firm is registered with the FCA as a cryptoasset exchange and custodian wallet provider, in addition to holding authorizations linked to its derivatives and benchmarking units. The exchange claims to account for 50% of GBP spot trading volume in crypto.
“It’s very important,” Das said of the UK market. “It’s one of our strongest and biggest markets and even in the market that we’re in today volumes have stayed relatively consistent.”
Das’s appointment comes at a precarious time for UK crypto firms, thanks to new marketing restrictions that have disrupted offshore exchanges, in particular. The enhanced regime has already prompted Bybit to suspend its UK operations, while Binance has been forced to pause onboarding new customers.
But Das said Kraken is well-placed to navigate the stricter regime.
“We’ve been working with the regulators to come to a position where we feel now that it’s time for the next chapter. We can start to build upon all of the things that’ve been laid out,” he said.
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