Kraken NFT’s Behind the Build: The NFT frontier


At its core, Kraken NFT is a product built for the people by the people. 

Building Kraken’s NFT product brought together a collaborative team across the company. It is also one of the biggest projects Kraken has ever completed, with thousands of hours focused on developing a dynamic marketplace in a little over a year. 

Kraken NFT isn’t your average digital art marketplace. It will be a cornerstone product for Kraken as we lay the roadmap for the future of Web3. In our Behind the Build series on Kraken NFT, we’ll explore the ideas and technology that went into building this product.


Kraken Co-founder and CEO Jesse Powell has been a supporter and founder of arts-focused businesses for years. 

In 2001, Jesse founded Lewt, Inc., a marketplace for virtual goods to use in virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online role-playing games. In 2007, Jesse further fell into art culture by founding the Verge Gallery and Studio Project, one of Sacramento’s largest contemporary art galleries he ran until 2010. Jesse then founded the Verge Center for the Arts, where he remained a board member until 2021. 

Around the same time, in 2011, Jesse started Kraken as a global digital asset exchange with the mission to bring crypto to the masses. 

Now that Kraken has just celebrated 11 years as one of the top exchanges in the world, it made sense that the company would build a first-in-class Kraken NFT marketplace.  

“Exchanges can continue to play a similar role they have over the last decade — to be that super easy onramp for people coming into the space,” said Jesse in a 2021 Yahoo Finance interview. “They’re the shepherds … they can help people get through that first stage before they go on to do more advanced things in DeFi.”

Over the past few years, NFTs captured mainstream consciousness alongside a massive crypto bull run. 

“[NFTs are] relatable to people because the kids who grew up over the last 20 years really are familiar with this idea of a digital store of value … virtual clothes, virtual gear for your virtual avatar,” Jesse said.

As a HODLer of NFTs, Jesse doesn’t see NFTs as something to flip and sell. 

“I have no intention of selling my NFTs. In fact, I tend to be a hoarder of things. I have over a thousand domains and I get attached to these things. I’m the same with NFTs and art in general.”

Kraken NFT creates accessibility on all levels.

“I think of it as supporting artists and their work,” said Jesse. “If you’re not one of the top globally known artists, the industry can be a really tough one to make money in. I buy NFTs to support the space while letting artists know that this is a lucrative avenue for them to monetise their work.” 

NFTs are evolving for mixed use cases every day. 

For example, musical artists can connect with their fans, give people revenue shares for their support, or obtain sponsorship for a new album — these are all opportunities being explored. For visual artists, everyday people can own artwork and support artists without needing to confront an inaccessible gallery process.

“NFTs are good for other things, too,” Jesse said. “You can have concert tickets or proof of ownership of anything as an NFT. You’ll see more of that as a commercial application.”

“I think a lot of people are going to come in through [NFTs] — not through Bitcoin or looking for a replacement to their national currency — but through things that we’ll start to do in everyday life,” Jesse said. “We want to be there to help people to enable those use cases.”

 


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