Number of cryptocurrencies:

 

120+

Fees:

 

Maker/Taker

Centralized:

 

Yes

Accepts fiat:

 

Yes

Editorial Rating

Editorial Rating

Kraken Review

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Number of cryptocurrencies:

 

120+

Fees:

 

Maker/Taker

Centralized:

 

Yes

Accepts fiat:

 

Yes

Regulated:

 

Yes

KYC:

 

Yes

Editorial Rating

In June 2011, hackers infiltrated Mt Gox – the largest Bitcoin exchange at the time – and stole 850,000 Bitcoins worth $450 million.

Since then, many exchanges have fallen prey to the black hoodies, while the industry has lost more than $7.6 billion to cybercrime.

As heartbroken investors protested outside the company’s headquarters in Shibuya, Japan, one man was on a completely different mission. To find out exactly what had gone wrong with a view to seal the loopholes and create a bulletproof exchange.

This Kraken review takes an in-depth look at the platform that succeeded where Mt Gox failed.

Company Overview

Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States that allows traders to buy & sell, lend and trade cryptocurrencies.

It was founded by Jesse Powell in 2011. In a 2014 interview with Bloomberg, Powell said he started Kraken as a replacement for Mt Gox after suspecting that the latter was on the verge of collapse.

Kraken shot up to prominence in 2014 when it was selected alongside Coinbase to provide Bitcoin trading statistics to the Bloomberg Terminal. And today, Kraken is one of the most popular exchanges in the world.

Cryptocurrencies Available on Kraken

Kraken’s crypto list boasts 125 coins and 465 trading pairs, with BTC/USD being the most active combination.

Some of the cryptocurrencies available on Kraken include popular picks like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETC). Less prominent names such as Songbird (SGB) and ZCash (ZEC) are also available.

As of March 17, 2022, Kraken was available in all American states except New York and Washington. The platform can also be used in more than 170 countries worldwide.

Kraken Features

Kraken has caught the eyes of investors and fended off other trading platforms due to its unique features such as:

Top-notch security

While other exchanges have lost cryptocurrencies worth millions of dollars to hackers, Kraken hasn’t recorded any cyber-crime losses since its inception.

A Kraken crypto review by cybersecurity and certification site CER rates Kraken as the second-most secure exchange globally behind Crypto.com. The site awards both exchanges a AAA rating.

This is an impressive feat considering that even Binance, the world’s largest exchange by trading volumes, has been hacked. In May 2019, hackers infiltrated the market leader and stole $40 million.

Kraken has prevented attacks because 95% of its deposits are stored safely in cold units spread out across the world. To that effect, the company stations personnel to man its servers on-site while another group follows proceedings on video monitors.

Advanced trading features

Kraken is one of the few exchanges that offer margin & stop orders and crypto short sales.

The platform also has a feature known as a dark pool where high-volume investors can trade anonymously.

Investors can also leverage a currency pair up to 5x while Kraken Pro account holders can access up to a $500,000 margin.

How does this work? For instance, if you stake $100 in Tether and leverage that margin and prices go up, your gains will multiply 5x. Similarly, your losses will also be multiplied if prices go down.

Customer service

Kraken offers round-the-clock live chat support to its customers via its website and the Kraken app. This is commendable, considering most crypto exchanges only lend app and email support during business hours.

Kraken also offers its customers phone support from Monday to Friday between 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. EST.

Customer satisfaction and complaints

Kraken’s KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures are pretty stringent and are the main reason why the company receives complaints.

Kraken exchange reviews show most users complaining about lengthy approval periods. The platform’s tendency to hold funds longer than the initial security period also irks investors.

The exchange scores a 2.1 rating out of 5 on Trustpilot, where the sentiments are largely the same.

However, Kraken is always on call to assist its customers. Hence negative reviews shouldn’t dissuade you.

Do your research and weigh the pros and cons of using Kraken before making any decision.

Kraken vs Kraken Pro

Kraken splits its services into two platforms to cater to two categories of clients. Essentially, the main difference between the two is that one is built for beginners and the other for experts.

Kraken

The central Kraken crypto exchange is tailored for beginners and budding investors. The interface is easy to navigate, and the options are simplified for convenience.

One of the main advantages of using Kraken is that verified users don’t have to fund their accounts first, as the platform supports direct purchases from a linked bank account. It is also just as easy to sell or convert cryptocurrencies.

Besides buying and selling, users can also deposit crypto for staking and earn up to 23% interest depending on the currency.

Users are encouraged to enable two-factor authentication (2FA). This is an extra layer of security that prevents unauthorized logins into your account using randomly generated codes.

Kraken Pro

Kraken Pro is an advanced crypto exchange designed for experts. It contains detailed asset information, including active charts and a peek into open orders.

The platform is the only US crypto exchange that provides advanced trading tools like margin.

Anyone with a regular Kraken account can access Kraken Pro.

Kraken Pro is better than its central peer because it has a better pricing regime. That is why experienced investors prefer using the advanced platform.

Kraken Exchange Fees

Kraken employs a maker/taker fees model, which incentivizes investors who add liquidity to the market while charging more to those who reduce liquidity.

Transaction fees on Kraken are pegged between 0% and 0.26%.

Kraken pricing

For instant purchases, the central Kraken platform charges a 1.5% fee for most cryptocurrencies and a 0.9% fee for stablecoins using USD or an alternative stablecoin.

Kraken’s margin fees are also competitive. Depending on the crypto pair you trade in, the exchange charges up to 0.02% to open a position and up to 0.02% every four hours in rollover fees to keep it open.

Kraken Payment Methods Kraken Fee
Instant Buy 0.9% fee for any stablecoins and FX pairs, and a 1.5% fee for any other crypto
Trades 0.00% to 0. 26% (Maker-Taker)
Bank Account 0.50% (Instant Buy)
Purchases 0.00% to 0.26% (Maker-Taker)
ACH Transfer 0.50% (Instant Buy)
Wire Transfer $0 to $10 (depending on partner)
Crypto Conversion 0.00% to 0.26% (Maker-Taker)
Debit/ Credit Card 3.75% + $0.27 (Instant Buy)
USD Wallet 3.75% + $0.27 (Instant Buy)

Investors also get to earn by staking their assets. Kraken staking fees vary depending on the virtual currency.

  • Kava is the most potent crypto on Kraken, with an interest rate of 23%.
  • Ethereum yields a 4-7% interest.
  • Bitcoin yields a 0.25% interest.

Kraken Pro pricing

Kraken Pro’s fee schedule is much friendlier than the central platform. Its pricing is based on total trading volumes over the last 30 days, where most trades are subject to a 0.16% maker fee or a 0.26% taker fee.

Below is a breakdown of Kraken Pro cryptocurrency fees:

30 Day Volumes Maker Taker
$0- $50,000 0.16% 0.26%
$50,001- $100,000 0.14% 0.24%
$100,001- $250,000 0.12% 0.22%
$250,001 -$500,000 0.10% 0.20%
$500,001- $1,000,000 0.08% 0.18%
$1,000,001- $2,500,000 0.06% 0.16%
$2,500,001- $5,000,000 0.04% 0.14%
$5,000,001- $10,000,000 0.02% 0.12%
$10,000,000+ 0.00% 0.10%

Opening a Kraken Account

Opening a Kraken account is a pretty straightforward process. You will need to follow three steps.

  1. Register for a free account using your email address
  2. Verify your email address
  3. Secure your account using two-factor authentication.

Kraken has three different account levels with varying account verification levels. The higher the level, the more advanced the trading features are.

  • Starter: The account is available to users as soon as they verify their email address. It limits users to depositing, exchanging, and withdrawing cryptocurrency. Therefore, it is impossible to deposit and withdraw fiat without further authentication.
  • Express: Express accounts are an upgrade on starter accounts. To access this account, Kraken US customers are required to produce a Social Security Number and occupation information.
  • Intermediate: This type of account requires users to authenticate their identity by providing a photo ID, proof of residence, and social security number or ITN. This account allows you to withdraw fiat and trade futures.
  • Pro: To access a pro account, users must manually authenticate their identity and eligibility. This often includes filling in a Know Your Customer (KYC) questionnaire and taking a selfie. A pro account allows investors access to lower crypto trading fees and anonymous trading through the “dark pools” feature.

Instructively, new users are eligible for a 20% Kraken sign-up bonus.

How Kraken Stacks Up to Other Crypto Exchanges

Kraken stands out for several reasons, such as a wide selection of crypto-to-crypto pairs and advanced features like margin trading. But how does the platform stack up compared to its competitors?

Kraken vs Coinbase

  • Kraken’s trading fees are lower than Coinbase. However, both rake in additional fees by charging a spread.
  • Kraken offers margin trading to US investors with $10 million in investable assets, while Coinbase doesn’t. Kraken also allows its investors to leverage limit orders, an option that is not available to Coinbase users.
  • Coinbase is user-friendly and more suited to beginner traders.
  • Kraken supports a broader range of fiat currencies, while Coinbase only supports USD, GBP, and EUR.
  • Kraken’s crypto loans are available to all eligible users. On the other hand,
  • Coinbase only dishes out loans on invitation.
  • Coinbase offers insurance on its hot wallet while Kraken doesn’t.
  • Coinbase supports 150+ fiat currencies, while Kraken supports 120+ tokens. Check out our analysis of both platforms, for a more detailed comparison.

Kraken vs Binance

  • Binance supports 500+ cryptocurrencies, depending on your location, while Kraken counts 120+ supported coins.
  • Kraken stores 95% of its deposits in cold storage and enforces a Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Binance, on the other hand, offers 2FA and whitelisting addresses as opt-in security features.
  • Binance supports up to 15 fiat currencies. Kraken supports eight.
  • Binance charges a 0.1% general trading fee. Kraken’s trading fee, on the other hand, oscillates between 0% and 0.26%. For a more in-depth comparison, check out our review of both platforms.

Kraken vs Crpto.com

  • Both Crypto.com and Kraken Pro employ a maker-taker structure based on 30-day trade volumes, but Kraken’s crypto fees are higher.
  • Kraken supports eight fiat currencies, while Crypto.com supports 20+ fiat currencies.
  • Both Kraken and Crypto.com allow their investors access to margin trading and limit orders.
  • Crypto.com supports 250+ cryptocurrencies, while Kraken supports 120+.
  • Crypto.com supports PayPal deposits, while Kraken doesn’t accept transfers, to or from, third-party payments processors for compliance reasons.

Kraken vs Gemini

  • Gemini allows ten free cryptocurrency withdrawals per month and doesn’t charge fiat withdrawals. Kraken charges fiat withdrawals at varying rates depending on the cryptocurrency.
  • Gemini has limited deposit options, including ACH transfer, debit card, wire transfer, and crypto. Kraken accepts a wide range of options.
  • Kraken charges a 0.16%- 0.25% transaction fee compared to Gemini’s 0.25%- 0.35%.
  • Gemini offers 70+ cryptocurrencies while Kraken offers 120+ cryptocurrencies
  • Gemini supports seven fiat currencies, while Kraken supports eight.  Check out our analysis of both platforms, for a more detailed comparison.

eToro vs Kraken

  • eToro charges higher fees than Kraken, with varying transaction and trading rates ranging between 0.75% and 2.9%. Kraken’s trading fees oscillate between 0.16%- 0.25%.
  • eToro supports 29+ cryptocurrencies while 120+ cryptocurrencies are available on Kraken.
  • Kraken supports eight deposit options, while eToro supports 13.
  • eToro’s standout feature is its trading dashboard that allows investors to follow and reference the moves of expert traders. Kraken stands out for its security features.
  • eToro’s minimum trade size is $10. Kraken’s minimum deposit is $1. Check out our analysis of both platforms, for a more detailed comparison.

Final Thoughts

Kraken is a trading platform built on the right premise – to correct the imperfections of a good idea.

Years down the line, the exchange has managed to do just that and is now a well-rounded package.

On the one hand, a new trader will likely appreciate the central Kraken platform’s features. On the other, a Kraken Pro user will find its advanced trading tools very useful and appreciate its pricing structure.

The bottom line is that Kraken is a great cryptocurrency exchange. However, as an investor, make sure you understand the risks involved and how to get the best value from every transaction you make.

Pros

  • Wide range of cryptocurrencies
  • Top-notch security
  • Advanced trading features such as margin and futures trading
  • Staking rewards
  • High liquidity

Cons

  • Not available in all US states
  • Higher fees for beginners using the central Kraken platform
  • Lengthy account approval

Editorial Rating

FAQ

What coins does Kraken support?

Kraken supports 120+ cryptocurrencies, including the most popular ones such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

Can you buy Dogecoin on Kraken?

Yes, you can. Kraken supports 120+ cryptocurrencies, including Dogecoin.

Can you use Kraken in the US?

Kraken US is available in all states except New York and Washington.

Does Kraken have a wallet?

No. Unlike many of its peers, Kraken does not have wallet functionality.

How to use Kraken?

While Kraken offers a plethora of trading possibilities, using the platform can be broken down into a few simple steps.
First, sign up and fund your account. Second, swipe right on the preferred asset.
The third step is to tap “Buy” on the token and enter the volumes you would like to acquire. The final step is to confirm your details and execute the order.

Which is better: Kraken or Gemini?

Gemini is more suited to new investors looking for a simplified interface. Kraken, on the other hand, offers advanced features convenient for experienced investors.
However, most Kraken reviews conclude Gemini is edged out since the former offers more deposit options, more features, and lower transaction and trading fees.

Is Kraken a good exchange?

Kraken is one of the best digital asset exchanges in the market. Its low fees, liquidity, and advanced features are attractive for any investor. As our Kraken review outlines, Kraken is a good and secure exchange.