Maximilian Marenbach, Head of Banking and Payments/Business Development at Kraken Digital Asset Exchange
, takes us through his professional journey with Kraken - one of the largest and oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Read on as he talks about the Kraken Bank, the significance of digital currencies and their impact on our financial system.
Client security and privacy are critical to everything an exchange must do: customers need to feel completely confident when they buy or sell their assets.
MEDIA 7: You have a long career experience in diverse fields. How has all this experience helped you play your current role at Kraken Digital Asset Exchange?
MAXIMILIAN MARENBACH: I feel most of it boils down to one thing and that is the mindset. I have always been intrigued by new things and innovation. Things that somehow can have a severe impact on the lives of people. I did start working in the traditional payment industry where I learned a lot but fairly quickly switched over to the Fintech and mobile banking sector. I have always been extremely motivated in tackling new challenges and working on new projects that are different. Having this explorer mindset was really helpful in switching over to the cryptocurrency industry. Four years ago, the landscape and the opportunities were severely different from what they are today. The industry was way more like a wild west and finding someone who was actually interested in working with you was a huge challenge. Now things have changed and the cryptocurrency industry is an established juggernaut.
M7: What differentiates Kraken Digital Asset Exchange from the competitors?
MM: Kraken was founded in 2011 and is trusted by almost 8 million clients around the world. Apart from our competitive offering, what makes us stand out is our unique product offering, our relentless focus on customer service, and our industry-leading security track record. As one of the largest and oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, Kraken is consistently named one of the best and most secure places to buy and sell crypto. Our clients – big and small - can access Kraken’s platforms via a mobile app, as well as desktop, with our support team ready to help 24/7. Our fast response rate constitutes the backbone of our customer service. And it has earned us the trust of some of the world’s most demanding clients. And we’re continuously investing to provide our clients with the best possible customer support and to minimize the time it takes to onboard new clients.
To illustrate this: Over the past year, we’ve grown exceptionally fast with trading volumes and new clients signing up to our website and mobile app shattering previous records, but our customer service infrastructure is able to handle almost double the number of all-time-high requests. We have 24x7 live chat support in multiple languages and have recently introduced phone support which has received an average satisfaction rate of 95% from our clients. In terms of security, Kraken maintains the highest standards, so clients can be assured that they are trading on a leading-edge, secure platform. Client security and privacy are critical to everything an exchange must do: customers need to feel completely confident when they buy or sell their assets. Security and privacy earn trust, which drives mainstream adoption, making crypto accessible and credible.
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Security and privacy earn trust, which drives mainstream adoption, making crypto accessible and credible.
M7: When did you first get an inkling that cryptocurrencies were going to be the next big thing?
MM: It must have been around 6 years ago. I was working at a bank in Amsterdam, and a colleague of mine started talking about this thing called Bitcoin. He told me how he was certain that it could change the monetary system. At first, I thought he was exaggerating but after digging deeper I had to agree with him. I was intrigued by the immense potential of cryptocurrencies and how they can really help shape the future. Enabling people access to a new, independent monetary system that is not governed by central banks and governments. A system that would especially help people in less developed countries.
M7: What are your predictions on blockchain and digital currencies transforming the financial system as we know it?
MM: I think people aren’t yet fully grasping the significance of what’s to come. Right now, the industry has firmly established itself, but mostly it’s seen as an investable asset and access to that asset class is quickly improving. But what will really open the floodgates is when crypto is seamlessly integrated with all the different applications and platforms people use. For example, decentralised finance, or DeFi, is replicating, improving and ultimately democratizing, complex and sophisticated financial processes at an incredible pace. The result is a more efficient model that more fairly distributes the rewards across all participants in the system.
And where the opportunity lies for us, is in providing our clients with the most secure and reliable products, the best customer experience and service and access to all these different parts of the space. That’s why we’re quickly growing from a pure exchange play into a crypto ecosystem player and Kraken Bank will play an integral part in that ambition. Kraken Bank can bridge the traditional and cryptocurrency space. At launch, Kraken Bank will be able to provide a highly secure package of fiduciary, custodial and depository services for both fiat currencies and crypto assets. As a chartered bank, Kraken can offer a plethora of different financial services, including global transfers, payment cards, as well as services offered by investment banks, like wealth management and treasury services.
Read More: Challenges in the crypto industry and how to overcome them
The traditional financial FIAT system and the cryptocurrency system will more and more blend together and coexist in the near future.
M7: What trends in the FinTech industry are you watching keenly right now?
MM: That is a tough question to answer. There are so many right now. Apart from crypto, there are so many exciting new developments that will take place. One thing I am certain of is that the traditional financial FIAT system and the cryptocurrency system will more and more blend together and coexist in the near future. We will see many more different partnerships between the two sectors as well as expansions into the other sector. Utilizing synergies and working together to improve the financial ecosystem will be the key to all of our success.
M7: Last but not the least, when you are not working, what else are you seen doing?
MM: Well, at this time, there is not really a lot of time left to be honest. What I enjoy doing the most is educating myself and learning. I always want to grow and expand my horizon. That is why I am currently pursuing a degree in Psychology. I find human behaviour and the mind fascinating and I am spending most of my scarce free time studying these days.
As one of the largest and oldest Bitcoin exchanges in the world, Kraken is consistently named one of the best places to buy and sell crypto online, thanks to our excellent service, low fees, versatile funding options and rigorous security standards -- but this is only part of the story. We’ve been on the forefront of the blockchain revolution since 2011.