Kraken Hires Gemini’s Former Head of U.K. Blair Halliday as its New U.K. Managing Director

Blair Halliday will expand and oversee Kraken’s operations in the U.K.
Image source: Blair Halliday/Kraken

Quick take:

  • Blair Halliday announced his new role at Kraken today.
  • He was previously Gemini’s U.K. managing director.
  • He has vast experience as a chief compliance officer in global financial institutions.

Crypto exchange Kraken has hired Gemini’s former U.K. managing director Blair Halliday for the same role in the company. 

In his new role, Halliday will expand Kraken’s reach in the U.K., a key market for the company, and oversee Kraken’s commercial, regulatory and political relationships in the country. 

Halliday joined Kraken this month after almost three years at Gemini, where he joined as chief compliance officer – Europe in 2020 before being promoted to managing director. Prior to Gemini, he was head of compliance at Circle, the fintech company behind stablecoin, USDC. He brings almost two decades of experience in the fintech industry to Kraken, most of which were in compliance roles. 

His career in finance began in 1998 at Scottish bank, NatWest, where he held various roles including fraud officer, investigator and senior analyst during his 14-year tenure. He then joined London-based financial services company, PaySafe Group as director of group compliance in 2012 before moving on to J.P. Morgan in 2014.

Halliday has also held the roles of group chief compliance officer at International Currency Exchange and executive director, financial crime and compliance at CashFlows.

With this new hire, Kraken’s former Europe and UK head Curtis Ting will be promoted to global senior managing director, overseeing operations in multiple regions worldwide. 

This news comes after Binance poached Kraken’s former chief compliance officer in September and that Kraken co-founder Jesse Powell plans to step down from his role as CEO but will become chairman of the board of directors. Kraken’s COO Dave Ripley will step into the role of CEO after Kraken hires a new COO.

Kraken also plans to expand its legal, compliance and operations teams as the exchange came under federal scrutiny after being suspected of violating U.S. sanctions by allegedly allowing users in Iran to trade cryptocurrency using the platform. The company also has plans to launch an NFT marketplace. 

In the U.K., Kraken is regulated via its subsidiaries Crypto Facilities and Payward, both of which are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The company has 3,300 employees, with 350 based in the U.K. 

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