Now more than ever, Kraken remains deeply committed to Canada.
But our commitment to the Great White North isn’t just hype. It’s a relationship that stretches back to the earliest days of Bitcoin itself.
The early years
Kraken’s Canada story begins in 2011 – the year CaVirtEx, an early Canadian crypto trading platform based in Calgary, first opened its doors. CaVirtEx was busy maintaining the infrastructure that facilitated the earliest Canadian dollar (CAD) to bitcoin (BTC) trades. Right around the same time, we were finding our own sea legs as one of the earliest crypto trading platforms in the United States.
Like most Canadian crypto trading platforms, CaVirtEx faced challenges finding reliable banking partners. Nonetheless, the team managed to establish connections with many local banks and develop a reliable way to execute fiat-to-crypto transfers. Through CaVirtEx, Canadians began their crypto journey and discovered the potential of decentralization through Bitcoin. CaVirtEx built a reliable way to bridge traditional finance with the emerging cryptocurrency industry.
The company was small but mighty, offering trading services for the nascent Canadian crypto industry. CaVirtEx soon built a reputation as a major player in Canada. However, a security breach and a bear market forced the site offline. This ultimately led to an acquisition by CoinSetter, who helped improve CaVirtEx’s security posture before subsuming the platform’s technology and customers.
Kraken lands in Canada
In January 2016, Kraken bought CoinSetter, and in the process acquired CaVirtEx and its clients. The integration was seamless, as CaVirtEx employees moved into major roles in compliance, banking and even customer service. Kraken launched a small office in Halifax where early crypto adopters began organizing events and hosting meetups.
At the time of the acquisition, CoinSetter/CaVirtEx supported 37 U.S. states as well as the Canadian region with a robust offering for an early crypto trading platform. One early CaVirtEx employee, who still works for Kraken, recalled the early days in Halifax fondly:
“We had fun. It was a really fun atmosphere. It was also important for Halifax to have a cutting edge fintech company. It was a huge benefit to the people based here to have exposure to Kraken. Most of the people there had previously had no exposure to and no understanding, really, about financial services.”
Halifax became a hotbed for fintech as Kraken grew and expanded in Nova Scotia. In fact, Kraken succeeded in Canada without any promotion or advertising. Word of mouth about our cutting-edge operation echoed through online forums and in-person meetups. Early Canadian crypto adopters were well aware of the significance of the movement.
Our Canadian commitment
Despite regulatory headwinds and multiple bear markets, Kraken has stayed committed to Canadians over the years. Our Pre-Registration Undertaking (PRU) with the Ontario Securities Commission signals our commitment to enhanced investor protection guidance.
We’ve long understood the importance of developing practices that place our clients first and enhance the long term potential of our industry. “Kraken in Canada succeeded as a result of being early in the space and having great partners,” said another early employee. “We’re proud to have a strong reputation with Canadians.”
Today, there are over 250 Canadian Krakenites and we are well known for our transparency, security and great customer service. We also offer five native spot pairs in CAD, something few crypto platforms can claim.
Kraken services continue to be available in Canada and we remain committed to helping Canadians achieve financial freedom and inclusion. Now more than ever, Kraken is here to support Canadians looking to harness the transformative power of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.