We’re pleased to announce Jeremy Welch, co-founder of the popular Casa wallet service, is joining Kraken as our newest VP of Product.
In addition to his expertise as a cryptocurrency entrepreneur, Jeremy brings to Kraken a decade of experience leading product development at both startups and tech giants like Google. In his new role, he will be tasked with making it easier than ever for clients to buy and sell crypto assets with Kraken.
This will include launching strategic improvements across Kraken’s product suite and leading the charge on new features to improve our existing user experience.
Jeremy will also continue to serve as an advisor to Casa as it seeks to grow its non-custodial wallet offering, praised by users for enabling them to safely and securely store Bitcoin without the need for a custodian or exchange.
To mark the occasion, we sat down with Jeremy to learn about his new position and to get his perspective on the industry’s past, present and future.
Kraken: Welcome to the team Jeremy! What makes you most excited about leading the product experience here at Kraken?
Jeremy: I’m most excited about building a better future with such a talented team. It’s an incredible honor to learn from and work with Jesse and the other Krakenites around the globe.
Kraken is the quiet juggernaut in the cryptocurrency world. We have a strong security stance and a culture focused on solving real problems for our large global customer base (we’re not just reinventing Wall Street on the blockchain).
Despite already being a customer, it was honestly a surprise to see the breadth of initiatives Kraken is quietly building globally.
There are very few teams that understand the real implications of Bitcoin and other new decentralized technologies. There are even fewer teams out there that have both the resources and the courage to invest in the big technology breakthroughs that are now starting to emerge. I feel very lucky to be working with a team that is aggressively pushing this world forward.
Your prior position was as a co-founder at Casa, a non-custodial wallet service. Why make the jump to a leading global exchange?
I spent almost four years building Casa before stepping away in January to focus on a family health issue. It was an incredibly tough decision to make, but I knew that my family needed my focused attention, and that I wouldn’t be an effective CEO while that was the case.
After several months off, I started thinking about what would come next. It wasn’t just a question of the type of product or industry.
My search for a new role was guided by three priorities: 1) Working with great people 2) Finding a culture focused on building a better future and 3) Flexibility to focus on family.
Those seem like straightforward requirements – but most companies out there offer a mixed bag when it comes to work impact, culture, location, etc. You might get to work on something important and new, but location flexibility or pay might be low.
Kraken is a rare company – investing heavily in its teams, working on some of the most impactful technologies in the world and also enabling teams to work anywhere and anytime.
Working at an exchange is extremely fast-paced, and we are still in the early stages of the cryptocurrency revolution. There’s so much to build. But within Kraken’s great team culture and work environment, I’ve found the pace of work to be strongly sustainable.
The Kraken team has made it very easy for me to get things done while also finding time for family. This company is just phenomenal and I feel very fortunate to work here.
Tell us a bit about your experiences as a cryptocurrency user. What challenges did you encounter and how will this inform your strategy for your new role?
Using cryptocurrencies, and more broadly any kind of encryption or decentralized computing technology, is still too complicated. When we started Casa, it was out of a personal need and also out of concern for friends and family. I knew people who were attacked, who lost funds, and I saw centralized services fail directly.
We made it easy for anyone to manage their funds directly with the best possible security using a carefully designed multi-signature personal key system. Today, it’s super easy-to-setup and easy-to-use with simple apps and 24/7 client service.
At Kraken, I plan to use the same approach to improve overall user experience, but at an even larger scale. Exchanges are getting more complicated, not less. Increased scale, new security risks, new fintech experiences, new regulatory frameworks and new layer 1 and layer 2 technology improvements are all converging at the same time.
If that wasn’t enough, something tells me that we’re about to see a whole new wave of customers coming into the market. For this group especially, I want to make their first experience a lasting one.
Given your past experience, what do you see as the role for cryptocurrency exchanges in the customer journey? What trends do you think will most shape the sector in the next decade?
Cryptocurrency is no longer a niche industry. More than just wider awareness by the financial industry and by consumers, the bigger sign is the new technologies like Microsoft’s ION project and Facebook’s Libra project. The future of fintech, consumer apps, and much much more will all be built on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
And timing is fitting. The Internet needs a new business model. The Internet also needs an updated and more resilient architecture. I think Bitcoin could be foundational for both of those, and I think the exchange plays a fundamental role in that foundation.
Money isn’t just about taking and paying debt. It’s an information system. With cryptocurrencies we will see many more unexpected use cases emerge.
For all these use cases to work, exchanges must work flawlessly and at massive scale. It’s both an exciting and a daunting future we are heading towards.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
Right now, we’re focused on making many improvements to the core exchange experience, but there are also many new product areas we are investing in that I think will completely take people by surprise. I’m excited to be contributing to both, and to continue to build a great team.
Kraken started as one of the first exchanges, and its strong security stance has now enabled it to scale into one of the largest globally. But we are still just getting started. We are working to bring better financial and data access to billions globally.
Please reach out if you want to help us build a better future! You can review our jobs page. We are hiring across Product Management, Engineering Design, Product Marketing, Growth, support and much more.
Can’t wait to share more of what we’re working on soon!
Once again, welcome Jeremy!
– The Kraken Team