Jesse Powell, veteran CEO of early Bitcoin exchange Kraken, isn’t overflowing with love for government entities, to put it mildly.
When New York announced its controversial BitLicense regulatory framework for crypto in 2015, Powell immediately and permanently pulled Kraken out of the state, later referring to New York as “that abusive, controlling ex you broke up with 3 years ago but they keep stalking you.” Last month, Powell added another ex to the list: Kraken’s San Francisco headquarters.
In early April, Powell shut down Kraken’s global headquarters in San Francisco’s financial district, citing rampant crime, mental illness, and drug abuse in the area as dangers to Kraken employees that were no longer tenable. On the latest episode of Decrypt‘s gm podcast, he expanded on why.
“I used to live a 12-minute walk from the office in SOMA [South of Market],” Powell said, “and every day it was like playing hopscotch over human feces, and used needles, and guys with machetes.”
It wasn’t always like this, according to Powell. “San Francisco has fallen quite far. I first moved there, around 2013, and it was a very different place than it is today,” he said. “It was much safer, it was much cleaner, and since then, I’ve just seen it deteriorate.”
A particular target of Powell’s ire is city District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Boudin was swept into office in late 2019 by a nationwide push for police reform, one culminating in the historic protests that occurred across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police. Boudin’s…