Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange Review and Comparison
Last updated: 5/6/19
Kraken, headquartered in San Francisco, California, claims to be the largest Bitcoin exchange in terms of euro volume and liquidity. It operates across the United States (with the exception of New York due to the BitLicense) and Canada, as well as in the European Union and Japan. In the following post, I will review the exchange, its different services and the customer opinion about it.
Kraken is a veteran US based cryptocurrency exchange that supplies an advanced trading platform complete with margin trading and OTC options. Previously scorned for the platform’s instability, the site has since revamped its service with a focus on security and customer support. Kraken also offers one of the lowest trading fees around.
- Kraken Overview
- Kraken Services
- Currencies and Payment Methods
- Kraken Fees
- Supported Countries
- Customer Support and Reviews
- Kraken vs. Coinbase
- Conclusion – Is Kraken Legit?
Founded by Jesse Powell in 2011, Kraken is known for its low transaction fees, wide range of features and overall security. Following the bankruptcy of former bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, the Kraken platform assisted in processing claims.
The exchange itself was launched in 2013 and has since raised over $100m, with the latest round closing in February 2019. Kraken boasts about its high liquidity, industry leading security measures and 24/7 live customer support.
Kraken holds full reserves of their customer funds. Kraken employs an independent, cryptographically-verified audit in order to prove to third parties and the exchange’s customers, that funds are properly held.
Kraken offers its customers an advanced trading platform that includes spot and margin trading for more experienced users. Kraken’s interface offers plenty of options, but it isn’t the most beginner friendly—something to consider if you’re new to cryptocurrency.
In November 2017, Kraken was struggling to cope with increasing demand for cryptocurrencies, resulting in users receiving many different error messages and having difficulty using the exchange for its intended purpose. CEO Jesse Powell apologized for these issues.
For high volume trades (over $100K) Kraken offers Over The Counter (OTC) services with a 1-on -1 service. Additionally, frequent high volume traders can receive a dedicated account manager to take care of their trading needs.
Kraken also offers a dark pool – an order book not visible to the rest of the market. Each trader only knows their own orders. Traders can anonymously place large buy or sell orders without revealing their interest to other traders. Typically, outsized orders, when seen by other traders will cause the market to move unfavorably, making it more difficult to fill the order at the desired price. This unfavorable price movement may be avoided in a dark pool.
Kraken accepts the following fiat currencies:
- Euros (EUR)
- US dollars (USD)
- Canadian dollars (CAD)
Deposits and withdrawals can be made via SEPA, SWIFT, wire and domestic transfers. In almost all cases, deposits and withdrawals can be expected to take 1–5 business days. In my experience, the average deposit takes as little as 24 hours. It’s free to deposit most of the accepted cryptocurrencies, but there’s a small address setup fee in a few cases.
With regard to fiat deposits, SEPA deposits are free, making Kraken particularly convenient if you’re in the European Union and your location is on the list of SEPA countries. A bank wire transfer from within the United States costs $5 and $10, whereas it costs €10 or £10 from outside of the United States.
In terms of cryptocurrencies, Kraken currently supports 20 different coins:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Dash (DASH)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Stellar Lumens (XLM)
- EOS (EOS)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Gnosis (GNO)
- Iconomi (ICN)
- Melon (MLN)
- Augur (REP)
- Tether (USDT)
- Monero (XMR)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Zcash (ZEC)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Cosmos (ATOM)
- Qtum (QTUM)
- Tezos (XTZ)
Kraken’s fees are among the lowest of all the major bitcoin exchanges. The fees you pay depend on your last 30 days’ trading volume. In general, fees are based on a maker-taker basis.
Makers, who add limit orders to the exchange, pay a lower fee than takers, who fulfill existing orders.
Spot trading fees range from 0.26% – 0.06%. Stablecoin trading range from 0.2% – 0%. Dark pool fees are a bit higher ranging from 0.36% – 0.2%. The complete fee schedule can be viewed here.
Kraken is available worldwide except for the following countries:
- North Korea
Kraken’s website features an extensive support guide, which covers everything from verifying your account to trading. In most cases, you’ll find what you’re looking for there. However, in the event that you do need support, you can always submit a support ticket or talk with a live rep via the site’s built-in chat.
The general consensus online is that Kraken’s main strengths lie in its low fees, advanced features, and strong security. While Kraken certainly has its advantages, it has its share of criticism, receiving a “poor” grade on TrustPilot.
Overall it seems that since the site was revamped not long ago, the level of support and platform stability has improved.
I found many similarities when comparing Kraken to another major US based exchange, Coinbase, or more accurately, CoinbasePro. Both exchanges have a pretty similar fee structure and available services (OTC, margin trading, account management). However, Coinbase supports a smaller variety of cryptocurrencies.
The main difference would probably be in terms of support – where Kraken seems to be putting a lot more emphasis on support than Coinbase. Overall, if your desired coin is listed on both, it seems that there isn’t much of a difference between these two exchanges.
It’s fair to say that Kraken is an option well worth considering thanks to its excellent security features and low transaction fees. However, it’s not the best option for beginners due to its more complex interface. This veteran Bitcoin exchange has gained a considerable amount of reputation throughout the years and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Have you used Kraken yourself? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comment section below.
Bitcoin Video Crash Course
Dummy-proof explainer videos enjoyed by over 100,000 students. One email a day for 7 days, short and educational, guaranteed.
We hate spam as much as you do. You can unsubscribe with one click.