Kraken Review – Is This Bitcoin Exchange Reliable?

Last updated on January 11th, 2018 at 10:52 pm

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.

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.

On Kraken, you can purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and a range of other cryptocurrencies with fiat currencies, including US dollars, euros, and Japanese yen. There’s also the option of 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, CEO Jesse Powell apologized for the issues plaguing the exchange. 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. In order to better deal with this, the exchange promised a major upgrade for early December 2017.

Currency support

Kraken accepts the following fiat currencies:

  • euros (EUR)
  • US dollars (USD)
  • Canadian dollars (CAD)
  • British pounds (GBP)
  • Japanese yen (JPY)

Deposits and withdrawals can be made via SEPA, SWIFT, and wire transfers. In almost all cases, deposits and withdrawals can be expected to take 1–5 business days. In my experience, the average deposit has taken 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 18 different coins:

  • Bitcoin (XBT)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • EOS (EOS)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Gnosis (GNO)
  • Iconomi (ICN)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Melon (MLN)
  • Augur (REP)
  • Tether (USDT)
  • Dogecoin (XDG)
  • Stellar Lumens (XLM)
  • Monero (XMR)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Zcash (ZEC)

Country support

Kraken is available all over the world, but there are only two language options available on the website: English and Japanese. The exchange can also be accessed via the iOS app; however, reviews aren’t great, and the general consensus is that it’s unreliable and has too many bugs.

Fees

Kraken’s fees are among the lowest of all the major bitcoin exchanges. The fees you pay depend on the tier of your account (more on this later): the higher the tier, the more volume you can trade with your account. The more volume you’re trading, the lower the fees. In each trade, both the buyer and the seller are charged a fee, with the buyer paying more than the seller. Kraken’s fees can range from 0% to 0.26% depending on the account tier and whether you’re buying or selling.

Account types

Upon opening an account, take a look at the verification section, in which you’ll see the five different account types (scaled from 0 to 4). As we touched upon in the fees section, the tier of your account dictates the level of fees you’ll pay. Another difference between verification tiers is how much you’ll be able to deposit and withdraw in fiat and cryptocurrencies. Expect this amount to rise substantially as your account level increases.

You can’t make deposits or withdrawals with a basic Tier 0 account. However, you need only to provide basic information (full name, date of birth, country of residence, and phone number) to reach Tier 2, which allows a daily deposit of $2,000 fiat per day and $10,000 per month. No ID or proof of address is required until Tier 3. Tier 4 requires contact with the support team, as it’s reserved for high value and corporate accounts.

In my case, it took just a few minutes to be verified up to Tier 2. However, it’s worth noting that the process can take longer if a manual review is required. Tier 3 verification typically takes a few days. Some users have reported Tier 3 verification delays when there is a particularly heavy influx of new users.

Customer support

The 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. It’s worth knowing that Kraken customer support can be on the slow side and may take days to respond. There is no live chat option.

Public opinion and online reviews

Much like with any cryptocurrency investment, it’s a good idea to do some research before choosing a particular Bitcoin exchange. 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 drawn a huge amount of criticism in recent months due to its inability to cope with increased traffic. An update in mid-December 2017 seems to have largely addressed these problems. Other criticisms of Kraken include its user interface, which isn’t the most beginner friendly.

Security

Kraken is a very secure site thanks to its two-factor authentication feature. This is available not only on account login but also in the trading and funding processes, providing an extra layer of security. There’s also the possibility to set up a master key for password recovery and a two-factor authentication bypass. Enhanced security features include a global settings lock that helps prevent account information (account settings, passwords, 2FA, etc.) from being tampered with in the event of an attack.

Conclusion

Overall, 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. What’s more, caution is advised as Kraken has become very unreliable at the time of writing, with errors making the site almost unusable. With any luck, this will be fixed with the planned update.

Kraken

Kraken
7.6

Newbie friendly

7.0 /10

Currency support

8.9 /10

Platform reliability

5.5 /10

Fees

8.8 /10

Pros

  • Good reputation
  • Increasing number of cryptos
  • Fast and free SEPA deposits in Europe
  • Available worldwide

Cons

  • Not beginner friendly
  • Very buggy and unstable platform
  • Slow support
  • Poor iOS app

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PuderOMIChantalCryptostuff1Satoschi3.0 Recent comment authors
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Puder
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Puder

Useless platform – laggy, buggy and lots of downtime. NOT recommended, there are much better options out there.

Omi1knbe
Member
Omi1knbe

SO THERE TECH TEAM WANT ME TO UPLOAD ID BUT CANT BECAUSE THEY CANT FIGURE OUT HOW TO REMOVE THE ONE THEY REJECTED ….

OH AND GET THIS THEY DONT CONSIDER CYTO LIQUID ENOUGH TO BE A BACKING CURRENCY ON LEVERAGED TRADES … THERE A EXCHANGE FOR GOD SAKE!!!

CS ARE COMPLETE IDIOTS WHO JUST WASTE YOUR TIME TRYING TO COME U WITH BS WAYS ITS YOUR FAULT … ITS TERRIBLE

Chantal
Guest
Chantal

Hi every one. Im. waiting almost an month for my wire transfer. I send kraken an email and there explaination was that my bank refuse to except the wire transfef. So i mailled my bank. My bank denied ever recieving or refusing a bank wire from kraken. So i mailed kraken back they said wire stranfer bounce back but they are having trouble returning my money or my bitcoin back. Im despointed and very upset about this situation. Im waiting for them to resolve my case for a month now. And now theyre not even responding my mails back. My… Read more »

Cryptostuff1
Guest
Cryptostuff1

A total score of 7.6? Really? This platform is still down way too often, customer service sucks, and you cannot withdraw more than $130,000 annually (unless you are an accredited investor). I’m thinking the total score should be well below 5!

Satoschi3.0
Guest
Satoschi3.0

Waiting 2 hours for a withdrawals to go through. Anyone still having holdings in kraken my advice is to move them out ASAP. These are better and secure binance **affiliate link removed** and kucoin **affiliate link removed**

akuskus
Guest
akuskus

One of the cons listed is “Not beginner friendly” but got 7.0 for beginner friendliness. It is a “Very buggy and unstable platform” but got 5.5 for reliability? Mystery.

james
Guest
james

I joined Kraken in sept. Since that time They have rocketed to the top of my worst websites I have EVER used. Constant 502 access errors just logging in. Constantly having to refresh and try again when placing or cancelling orders. There has not been a single day where I had no issues with the site. Reliability is a 3 at best. I regret not withdrawing my funds while I had the chance with the latest multi day downtime. I use Bitstamp as well and have never had a single issue. I stayed with kraken because of my high trade… Read more »

KrakenHorrible
Guest
KrakenHorrible

Horrible article considering that Kraken has been offline for over a 24 hours now and many people are in margin who are expecting to be liquidated because of kraken’s bullsh%t!

DisgruntledKrakenUser
Guest
DisgruntledKrakenUser

Kraken has been down for more than 18 consecutive hours as I type this. Their latest update is that they don’t know when they’re coming back online. They are failing to scale, flat out. If they’re anything above a 1 on a scale of 10 for reliability, I have to wonder what the scale is in relation to at this point. They’re basically headed towards being the Friendster of exchanges. I mean they’re literally the most unreliable website I’ve used in the last 10 years.

Vlad75
Guest
Vlad75

Kraken ??! 6.5/10 on reliability ?! You must be kidding? Kraken must simply be avoided for short-term trading (less than a few days) In fact, what is the main role of a broker? Execute orders: in a very reliable and quick way. On Kraken, orders are sent to the basket, approx 1 time on 4 to 20 attempt (and even worse, sometimes, it says the order was not sent, you try again and again, but they all appears at the same time in the basket, and are executed against your will. And that’s when you can access the website because… Read more »