Business 7 September 2018

Ed Drake

Kraken shoots down rumors it’s closing Canada offices

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has denied rumors that it is shutting down its operations in Halifax, Canada, in response to an alleged security breach.

Reddit users claiming to work for the firm have been discussing the closure on a thread created by a user called “throwaway34034324,” which surfaced after the U.S.-based exchange allegedly “just laid off hundreds of people in response to a security [breach].”

On the same thread, user MysteriousPlankton said staff had been offered eight weeks’ pay as voluntary redundancy, or the likelihood of losing their jobs sooner rather than later.

According to the Reddit user, “Security everywhere, required to hand in door fobs. Sitting in lunchroom, get told that due to volumes being down (both trading and support ticket), and in light of the opening of a new office in Asia, we need to reduce costs, and layoff of recently hired (<3 months, approx 57 people) was not enough.”

The user continued, describing how this was affecting staff in back office functions, including those working with compliance and anti-money laundering obligations, as well as teams processing deposits and withdrawals, and even staff in security.

Kraken directly responded to customers asking questions about the rumors, via its customer support feed on Twitter, stating, “We can confirm that we are not shutting down any operations in any specific place, and there has been no security breach. Everything is fine & secure.”

The firm has yet to release an official statement on the matter, and with the seemingly credible reports emerging from the Halifax facility, some commentators have suggested there may be more to come on this story.

Kraken CEO Jesse Powell said that while around 10% of the client services team had been laid off to save costs, there was no truth to the rumors about the Canadian facility.

Despite suggesting they were set to increase staffing numbers by 800 in 2018, Kraken recently also shelved operations in Japan, citing the “costs and resources required to maintain service in Japan.”

If the rumors around the Halifax site are to be believed, this would spell yet further bad news for the exchange.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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