Yet another cryptocurrency company has hired a professional from the world of traditional finance. Howard Bernstein from Merriman Capital, Inc. takes up a position as a CCO at Kraken.

The bitcoin exchange Kraken has added a specialist on compliance and regulation to the team. Howard Bernstein, previously employed by a publicly-held investment bank Merriman Capital, Inc., has accepted the role of Chief Compliance Officer at the bitcoin company.

The bitcoin exchange stated its commitment to find a well-balanced approach to compliance in a blog post:

“Kraken takes a proactive approach to compliance, in order to anticipate the evolving regulation around Bitcoin and to help ensure it is regulated in a way that protects consumers while allowing the game-changing Bitcoin ecosystem to flourish.”

An accomplished lawyer, Bernstein brings 20 years of experience in compliance solutions for financial institutions. As CCO at Merriman Capital he put into practice a new compliance program designed to meet SEC and FINRA requirements and the bank’s current AML program. 

At Kraken Bernstein will manage day-to-day compliance operations, engage regulatory officials and lawmakers on bitcoin policy, and help the bitcoin exchange to prepare for future regulatory changes. Though regulators are more focused on bitcoin payments at the moment, the digital currency may end up as a regulated tradable asset at exchanges, the company believes. 

Bernstein commented on his appointment:

“I’m very excited to be entering the Bitcoin space at this crucial moment of regulatory development. I’m looking forward to joining CEO Jesse Powell and the rest of the Kraken team in their ongoing effort to provide clients with an exceptional exchange experience.”

Bernstein has strong professional credentials. He began his career at J.P. Morgan and NYSE and served as a General counsel and Director of compliance at Pacific Growth Equities, LLC. He graduated as Doctor of Law from New York Law School.

This April, the Chamber of Digital Currency launched a fundraising campaign to send bankers from Wall Street to the AML Compliance Bootcamp. The organisation believes banks will be more willing to provide digital currency companies with banking services if they understand the latter’s AML compliance efforts and the steps that can and are being taken to reduce risks better. Now Kraken seeks to close the gap between the digital currency industry and traditional financial institutions from the other side – by implementing the level of compliance typical for banks.


Nadya Krasnushkina