Kraken, one of the oldest and most trusted crypto platforms in the world, today announced the appointment of Vishnu Patankar as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Patankar brings over twenty years of technology expertise to Kraken and has helped Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Intel and Groupon scale products that have impacted millions of customers worldwide.
At Kraken, he will lead the engineering team and work with company management to deliver the next generation of products and services. His goal will be to scale the company into the most promising areas of crypto while maintaining its security-focused, customer-obsessed ethos.
“Vishnu is a true leader in his field. He is a seasoned executive with deep expertise in all aspects of product development and technology leadership. He has built and led large engineering teams spread across the world in some of the most innovative companies,” said David Ripley, CEO of Kraken. “He is a strategic and technical leader who is well equipped to build and optimize Kraken’s technology to deliver the most secure and scalable product experiences. We are delighted to have him join our team. »
An engineering leader with business acumen, Patankar helped create the first scalable decentralized technologies by driving product and infrastructure development to serve millions of customers around the world. Prior to joining Kraken, he was CTO at StockX where he played an integral role in facilitating the growth of the business and the launch of its NFT offering.
The Kraken blog sat down with him to talk about his past and the future of the company under his leadership.
Kraken: You have a long and extensive background in technology, including “traditional” computing and cryptography. What drew you to cryptocurrency?
Patankar: I recently realized that I have been working with certain aspects of blockchain technology for the past sixteen years, more than half of my nearly 25 years of experience. First, in 2006, we invented the first industry-strength key-stock store at Amazon, called Dynamo. The project used Merkle trees to validate data integrity. Then, in 2022, I participated in the launch of the NFT offer for StockX. In fact, I’ve been involved in some of the foundations of cryptocurrency and blockchain itself for years, sometimes without realizing it!
Kraken: People often compare crypto today to the technology of the late 90s. As someone who has worked in both industries in both eras, do you think this is a useful/accurate analogy?
Patankar: The underlying mathematics of cryptography has remained largely stable. However, modern applications of cryptography have had a considerably wider reach.
One analogy that works, I think, is the Internet itself. It was hard to believe in the 1990s that an email message could transcend physical boundaries and find its way through a distributed naming system called DNS. If Web3 were to become so ubiquitous, the effects could be similar, if not greater.
Kraken: What are you most interested in about Web3?
Patankar: The inclusiveness of decentralized technologies like blockchain itself is powerful. Outside of the primary use case of digital currency, there is potential in tokenization applications using blockchain in real estate, collectibles, art, vehicle titles, identity, healthcare health and AI training data watermark.
Kraken: Among the biggest tech companies, who is doing the most interesting work in crypto?
Patankar: The most work was in Meta. This is no surprise given their pivot to the Metaverse and Web3. That said, the current macro environment is moderating adoption of some of this work, with a shift to AI applications through LLaMA. I also think that due to the added computing power to help with AI training by the larger cloud providers, there could be implications for the same power being harnessed by crypto.
Kraken: What do you expect in 2023, from a technological point of view? Could AI play a role in crypto in the future?
Patankar: It’s hard to ignore the power of big AI language models. However, it will be interesting to see which business models hold up through the initial hype cycle and journey to product market fit, revenue and Ebitda.
Both AI and cryptography are probabilistic, although in different ways. So, for example, it may be acceptable to have a 90% correct answer from an AI chatbot, but a 90% correct password is less useful. On the other hand, there is early research on the use of AI to generate random numbers that can be used in cryptography, although pseudo-random number generators still dominate.
More broadly, AI applied to customer experiences around crypto is still in its infancy – for example, generative AI and personalization applied to NFTs. Other symbiotic areas between AI and crypto are cybersecurity and fraud prevention.
Beyond that, AI and cryptography explore large amounts of data with massive computing power. Some areas of computing and physics could lead to new breakthroughs in the next two decades. One area that interests me is quantum computing and its interaction with the factorization of large numbers.
Kraken: What is your five-year plan here at Kraken? What do you hope you can do here?
Patankar: Kraken is among the most trusted brands when it comes to crypto. Given this base, over the next five years, the mission is the focus – to develop and create products for the general public. This concentration will mean scaling product offerings and a scale of transactions well beyond our current pricing. In order to accomplish our mission, we will adapt the platform to the most promising aspects of Web3, while remaining true to our security-focused and customer-obsessed philosophy.
Kraken: If you could have dinner with one historical figure, living or dead, who would it be?
Patankar: Satoshi Nakamoto – I would like to know if he has read the 2007 Dynamo Paper and the play around the Merkle trees and the gossip protocol!