Remember Kraken? Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that the crypto exchange company had announced something called the “Jet Ski Program.” It involved a 31-page document sketching Kraken’s “libertarian philosophical values” and commitment to “diversity of thought” — a diversity of thought which, as far as CEO Jesse Powell was concerned, seemed to mostly involve debates about whether women are “brainwashed” and if anyone “can refer to another person as the N-word.”
Those who didn’t like the program were free to resign with four months pay, Powell told employees at a June meeting, if they “affirmed that they would never work at Kraken again.” Hence the program’s name: “If you want to leave Kraken,” read a memo quoted by the Times, “we want it to feel like you are hopping on a jet ski and heading happily to your next adventure!”
Well, this morning, some savvy communications director sent out a press release headlined: “Kraken hunts for lion’s share of crypto job market.” It detailed a recent study from Crypto Jobs List, which found that Kraken had posted more jobs in the past week than any other crypto company in America. Interesting.
Specifically, Kraken has posted “over 600 new job ads in the United States in the past seven days” (650, if you count the UK). By contrast, Cash App and Jack Dorsey’s Block had posted some 200 positions combined. Among the 3,103 listings the study surveyed, Kraken accounted for “almost one in five of all new job ads in America.”
It remains unclear whether Kraken’s hiring spree is in direct response to the Jet Ski Program, as the company did not immediately return our request for comment. Perhaps they needed exactly 618 new domestic staffers for other reasons. But as we noted last week, crypto is down bad — so it seems plausible some Kraken staff strapped on their life vests and vroomed off to other jobs. If you were one of them, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would still love to read the Jet Ski Program manifesto.
A spokesperson for Kraken got back to us and said that, of the 618 new roles, they had listed 500 of them as part of a separate hiring spree. They pointed to this blog post, published two weeks after the Jet Ski Program went into effect, that announces they are hiring people committed to their “crypto-first culture.”
The hiring plan bears distinct similarity to the Jet Ski Program’s “recommitment” to Kraken’s core values. Under a section titled “Differences of Opinion,” for example, the blog states that “hurt feelings are inevitable in a global organization,” and that the “ideal Krakenite is thick-skinned and well intentioned.” But Kraken denies that all of the new hires are related to the Jet Ski Program. They would not tell us how many people had accepted the buyout, though if one accepts that these 500 new roles are indeed independent hires, one might estimate that 118 other positions had recently freed up. But they claim that, of the people who did leave, only about 30 “explicitly stated culture or mission-oriented reasons to leave” — or less than a half of a percent of their 3,200 employees. Other staff had also taken the buyout, but the spokesperson claimed they cited “personal reasons including family and natural career transitions.”
As evidence of that statistic, the spokesperson pointed to this interview on FOX Business, in which CEO Jesse Powell claims that “about 30” people have left over cultural reasons. That interview came out two weeks ago. Has anyone left in the meantime? Unclear, but the spokesperson told us this: “We will be rehiring for positions that become vacant as a result of the Jet Ski transition program.”