Nearly 40 Hours Later and the Kraken Exchange is Still Down - No ETA, No Need To Panic, All Right To Be Angry
"We can't launch like this. We don't know when this hell will be over." I hear the developers scream after nearly 2 days trying to make this 2 hour update work. Up front I'll say I still have deep sympathy for the devs here. Someone messed up, but management should have had a contingency in place to prevent the exchange from being down this long in case of a massive failure like this. At least they didn't go live without noticing whatever this problem is, but what happened to the old platform? Surely a 2 hour update would have only taken 2 hours to undo (I say knowing full well a few circumstances where that is not the case).
Twitter, and I'm sure Reddit and other social apps that I don't get notifications for, is going crazy. There are calls for lawsuits, accusations of Kraken being hacked and further accusations of them running off with the money. I'm doubtful of any lawsuits working on an unregulated exchange like this, not if they get things running within a week at least, but I'm no lawyer nor judge. Let's take a look at the other scenarios though.
First, Kraken almost certainly wasn't hacked. They had announced this maintenance through their twitter feed several hours before it happened and the site went down as expected. They're very likely upgrading their server infrastructure, so the servers need to go down. I started monitoring the situation when those servers went down and they have not been up since.
Know how not to get hacked? Unplug your internet. An old joke I remember from my High School computers teacher. But while there are some upgrade methods that would leave open a back door while they were upgrading this is a highly unlikely scenario. The servers are down, no one can access the site or API - no hacker is getting through that solid defence.
So are they running away with the money? Also unlikely. At 40 hours they would have easily gotten out of the country if that was their plan and there would really be no reason to keep these updates coming. Should they update more frequently and with more transparency? I think so, but then I suspect the person writing these updates is a developer that's working double or triple duty. If someone knows what the Kraken team really looks like please correct me, but I'm imagining a team of 5-10 who are understaffed, overworked and not getting nearly enough sleep because the people running the place didn't want to spring for a few more senior developers. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two people quit after this regardless of what the team looks like.
So, unless their assurances that the transaction records are safe is false, our money is safe.
It's odd reading through Twitter. For me this is a nice and needed vacation so it hasn't bothered me too much, but I do have pretty much everything invested in Kraken right now. It's not much, but it's rent for a couple of months that I otherwise don't have right now. So on one hand I understand how angry many people are getting and how nervous they are at the safety of their funds. On the other, Kraken has been such a flakey platform this past year that I kind of predicted an extended downtime due to some error or another. I never imagined it'd go longer than maybe 12 hours, but here we are. Expect people and companies to be consistently unreliable.
Assuming this doesn't force Kraken's doors closed, I still hold out hope that they will launch with a great platform when this is all over. Going to be cautious the first day it's up since who knows what else they might have missed, but I'm completely on board with continuing to use their platform if they start keeping up with the necessary upgrades. I suspect this will be the straw that broke the camel's back for many people though so there will likely be a lot of withdrawals once those are functioning again. I don't recommend doing so immediately just in case stability issues are a problem; don't be part of the guinea pig group that rushes in to test the system.
If you're looking for a more reliable platform right now I do have a couple of suggestions (because they offer referral links and I'm totally willing to be a sellout for a good product).
Canadian based QuadrigaCX is perfect for beginners in North America. It was my first exchange. It offers a very simple trading platform that shows live offers. Clicking on an offer allows you to autimatically fill out your trade order for a faster trading experience. Being a smaller (and competent) exchange they handle orders pretty much instantly. They trade in BTC, LTC, ETH, CAD and USD. Trading fees are at 0.5%.
So anyone that's taken the time to look into exchanges probably knows about the giant that is Binance. They offer crypto trading only, but have a pretty wide variety. I use them mostly for long term investments. Diversify my portfolio with whatever I don't want to use daytrading and hope that my picks do well over time. If you're looking for a diverse coin portfolio, as any good trader should, you could do much worse than signing up to Binance.
Thanks for reading! I'm somewhat new to the crypto news scene, but since I've been using Kraken for quite awhile I figured I'd dip my toe in the pool for this one. Any feedback or questions you may have please stick them down in the comments and I'll be sure to reply.
If you're feeling generous today and would like to help out a poor, down on his luck writer you can help me buy a tiny violin to play a very sad song by donating:
https://streamlabs.com/johnyliltoe (I do live streams over on my YouTube channel and DLive, so I set this up)
Whoever you are out there, wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing I hope you're having a fantastic week!