Kraken is excited to announce Pete Rizzo has become the latest bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry veteran to join our growing global team.
Pete is best known for his foundational work as Editor-in-Chief at leading industry news-source CoinDesk. While there, he oversaw all content production for CoinDesk.com, as well as the company’s subscription emails, monthly research reports and internal training. Pete will serve as Editor-at-Large at Kraken and be responsible for driving content related to new products and services as we grow international reach, deepen our suite of innovative products and connect with new crypto users.
Through Pete’s efforts, the CoinDesk news team grew from a team of three U.S. journalists to a team of nearly 30 global content creators. Additionally, Pete authored more than 1,500 breaking news stories and in-depth features for CoinDesk during his six-year tenure.
We sat down with Pete to learn about his new role and get his overall perspectives on the industry.
Welcome Pete! What got you excited about cryptocurrency?
Like many people, it was around the time of Silk Road in early 2013. I was an aspiring freelance writer/journalist in Boston when I heard about this mysterious drug market. At the same time, I was just learning about finance and I had a friend who was an editor at a news publication and newsletter company focused on payments.
People may forget, but back then payments and finance weren’t the “exciting story” they are today. Your biggest story at that time might have been that Square was launching a new feature, which wasn’t exactly a way to make a name for yourself.
Also, it was partly sheer fascination that got me down the rabbit hole.
For my first article, I interviewed a few payments executives, but also an anonymous trader and a comedian who had bought bitcoin early. It was such a strange selection of people to be involved in anything, let alone something that was at the bleeding edge of finance.
I started to write for his company and realized if I learned enough about this new bitcoin thing, that nobody else could explain, I would add some unique value to the brand, and I did.
How has crypto shaped your worldview?
Crypto, bitcoin in particular, has since undermined my belief in all sorts of authorities and credentialism. But I’m also more optimistic about things in general.
I think bitcoin is a great example of how humanity is capable of change, even when it means rethinking processes that have been in place or even entrenched for centuries or millennia.
Bitcoin is, in a lot of ways, a continuation of the story of how humans and society continue to overcome obstacles and enact change for the better.
How has the industry changed in the years since you first found out about it?
One of the great, and sometimes frustrating, things about crypto is that it is constantly in a state of renewal. Two to three years ago all the hype was about private blockchains and distributed ledgers, and I cannot remember the last time I heard anyone mention either of those terms.
I find that fascinating. The industry keeps finding new ways to articulate the change it will bring.
There’s a great quote by author Douglas Adams:
“First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII — and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we’ve realized it’s a brochure.”
The good news is that the technology exists and isn’t going anywhere. The better news is it will likely impact our lives so much, it stretches our imaginations to think about what that will mean.
Why did you decide that now was the right time to join Kraken and move into the product side of the industry?
At CoinDesk, I spent years creating processes and doing traditional “product” work, although that was very much focused on what I’d call “editorial or content product” – standardizing work flows for how news and information reaches millions of readers.
At this stage in my career, I wanted the opportunity to work with a larger team that was trying to acquire users and get people interested in bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
I think there’s a huge opportunity to get more people engaged in what’s going on.
What stood out to you about Kraken?
Kraken has a great reputation with industry veterans and experts, which really isn’t very common.
Additionally, the scale and sophistication of its current users allow the exchange to offer exciting products and services that I don’t think can be ideated elsewhere. The company is big enough to acquire new users but still find synergies with crypto natives – that’s rare.
This is a very difficult balance to achieve, and one that I’m looking forward to helping accelerate with some new ideas.
Once again, welcome Pete!
The Kraken Team
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