Crypto exchange Kraken hires its first chief marketing officer

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken named Gannett Co.

executive Mayur Gupta its first chief marketing officer as competition in the fast-growing category intensifies.

Mr. Gupta has been chief marketing and strategy officer at publishing company Gannett since 2020, and before that he held senior marketing roles at meal subscription company Freshly and audio streaming service Spotify Technology. . HER

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Kraken, part of Payward Inc., intends to increase its marketing after releasing a consumer app last year, said Jesse Powell, chief executive and co-founder. It previously focused on customer experience as the main way to attract users since its inception in 2011, he said.

Cryptocurrency companies have quickly ramped up their marketing efforts, punctuated by several appearing in high-profile ads during this year’s Super Bowl. Coinbase Global Inc.

aired a 60-second Super Bowl ad showing a bouncing QR code, for example, and an in-game Crypto.com ad featured LeBron James.

This year’s Super Bowl attracted advertisers willing to pay up to $7 million for a 30-second spot. WSJ publicity editor Suzanne Vranica and journalist Paul Vigna explain what to watch out for from both new cryptocurrency brands and old-timers like Budweiser. Photo illustration: Alexander Hotz/WSJ

Gupta said he plans to use marketing to increase consumer understanding of cryptocurrencies and drive Kraken’s growth in the process. He also plans to help Kraken develop emotional and cultural connections with consumers and customers such as individual investors, drawing on his experience in subscription-driven businesses where such relationships were important, he said. -he adds.

“We’re not in a race to be the loudest voice,” Mr. Gupta said.

Several other crypto exchanges have also hired CMOs in recent months. Coinbase has hired Kate Rouch, formerly an executive at Meta Platforms Inc.,

as its first CMO last August.

And Bittrex Inc. hired Paul Grier as CMO in January. Regulatory challenges have spurred the adoption of CMO roles in the crypto industry, said Bittrex chief executive Stephen Stonberg.

“The role of the CMO is invaluable in helping to speak to our customers,” Mr. Stonberg said. “They must make the complexities of our industry understandable to new retail investors, while making the experience familiar to institutions accustomed to the traditional financial space.”

Kraken has been criticized by some for refusing to shut down all Russian user accounts following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as closing its headquarters in San Francisco, calling the city dangerous. .

Kraken is monitoring developments in Ukraine and Russia and has acted in accordance with US sanctions, the company said. Kraken has no plans to establish a new global headquarters, he said.

These decisions reflect the company’s values ​​of independence, transparency and security, values ​​that align with what crypto stands for, Gupta said.

“While marketing will be responsible for growth, it will add to goal-driven efforts,” he said. “We won’t drive growth absent that purpose, or the cost of our souls, which can sometimes happen in growth-stage startups.”

Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at ann-marie.alcantara@wsj.com

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