Kraken Eyes Nuclear Power for Rising AI and DeFi Energy Needs

Kraken’s Chief Technical Officer, Vishnu Patankar, in an exclusive interview with CoinDesk, highlighted the significant energy demands from high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) firms, which are altering power stability requirements. To address this, Kraken is considering nuclear energy to power its data centers, anticipating a surge in decentralized finance (DeFi) and an increase in service demand. Although Kraken is not planning to build its own reactors, it is exploring partnerships with energy providers using small modular reactors (SMRs). These SMRs can be located near data centers and are not constrained by space or weather, Patankar noted.

Patankar stressed the growing need for reliable fiat onramps due to increased institutional investments in crypto assets and the shift to on-chain activities. Enhancing energy resilience would strengthen Kraken’s direct entry into the crypto ecosystem, supporting its ongoing growth. The crypto exchange is looking to secure its energy supply amid the rising demand from AI and HPC firms, which significantly impact power stability, he added.

Kraken is exploring nuclear power options in North America and Europe. Patankar explained that the 24/7 operations of the cryptocurrency business require a constant energy supply, especially as Kraken manages a large share of global trading volumes. To ensure operational continuity and reduced latency amid expected mass adoption of cryptocurrency, Kraken is considering scalable energy solutions. This investigation is part of a broader industry trend where tech companies partner with nuclear operators to power data centers necessary for AI demands. The Wall Street Journal reported that firms like Amazon Web Services are securing contracts with nuclear plants.

The growing energy needs of AI companies have led bitcoin miners to transition from crypto mining to providing infrastructure support for these firms. For example, Core Scientific recently signed a deal with AI firm CoreWeave. Patankar stated that having a nuclear energy backup would allow Kraken to continue operations despite local energy disruptions, enhancing energy redundancy and resilience for continuous global service delivery.

Kraken anticipates a significant DeFi boom, projecting exponential growth in its future energy needs. While no final decision has been made, nuclear power is under serious consideration due to the limitations of alternatives like wind and solar, which are weather-dependent and pose storage challenges. Despite criticisms of the crypto industry’s energy consumption and the controversial perception of nuclear energy, Patankar suggested that nuclear power could be a more environmentally sustainable option. Excess energy from reactors could be used to power data center cooling systems.

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