Kraken at a Glance
|Robust security system||Not beginner-friendly|
|Wide range of supported cryptocurrencies||Weak customer support|
|Offers advanced trading features such as margin trading and futures trading||Provides no tax support|
|Low fees for users on the Kraken Pro platform||Starter accounts have limited usability|
|Provides opportunity to earn by staking assets||Funding your account might take awhile|
|Has an easy-to-navigate user interface||Not available in New York or Washington|
Kraken hails as one of the most established crypto exchanges, alongside Binance and Coinbase. It stands out for having security that has never been hacked, not even once. The exchange operates in a maker-taker model, which means you get a lower fee rate when you add liquidity to the market.
It, however, also has its own set of weaknesses. Most beginners might find this platform challenging to learn. It has limited customer support and provides little to no tax support.
Kraken Review: Everything You Need to Know
We dissect everything from what makes this platform great to its weaknesses that you might want to consider first before opening an account. Get into the nitty-gritty of this exchange in our in-depth review.
Who is Kraken for?
Kraken was made for savvy investors and crypto enthusiasts. While it might have lots of informational resources for beginners, its features are ultimately geared towards more seasoned investors.
Experienced crypto investors can take advantage of its advanced investing options. Aside from supporting a wide range of crypto coins, investors can access margin trading and futures trading.
Opening an Account
Opening an account in Kraken is designed to be painless and straightforward. As long as you have your basic information on hand, the entire registration process takes less than five minutes.
Kraken has three account tiers: starter, intermediate, and pro. You will get the default starter account if you don’t verify your account. Starter accounts are severely limited. You will not be able to conduct any transactions aside from depositing, exchanging, and withdrawing crypto.
Intermediate accounts can deposit fiat and trade on Kraken futures. The Pro level unlocks higher account limits. Users will also have access to anonymous “dark” trading pools and over-the-counter desks.
The three levels of identity verification can serve as additional insurance that Kraken is secured.
Kraken Basic versus Kraken Pro
The two interfaces that Kraken offers: Kraken Basic and Kraken Pro.
Kraken Basic is the main interface the user sees after registration. Beginners often find the central Kraken platform easier to learn.
After creating an account and verifying your identity, you can create an order in Kraken Basic straight away. It has a very straightforward and easy-to-follow order form. You can purchase crypto directly using your bank account balance instead of funding your account.
Kraken Pro is a different monster. It offers a more in-depth view, which includes advanced graphs, market depth, open orders, and positions.
You can access certain features, such as margin trading and crypto futures trading, that are unavailable even on other advanced crypto exchanges. But what makes the Pro more enticing is how it effectively lowers trade fees. If you are using Kraken Pro, you will find yourself paying lesser fees.
To put it into perspective, using Kraken Basic or Instant Buy might cost you more since its fee starts at 0.9% for stablecoins and 1.5% for other cryptocurrencies. If you use Kraken Pro, purchasing fees start at 0.26% taker fee or 0.16% maker fee.
Paying less for transactions can make learning to navigate Kraken Pro worth it.
Kraken Fees: Monstrously Expensive or Cheap?
Kraken is one of the go-to places to buy and trade crypto because of its flexible payment methods and high security. It also offers a great variety of tools to help investors diversify their portfolios.
But what about its fees? Any good trader would consider fees when choosing the best crypto exchange for them. So, let’s take a closer look at the different costs you incur when transacting at Kraken.
Using Kraken Instant Pay
You can buy, sell, and convert cryptocurrencies on the website and Kraken app. Buyers who want to purchase crypto are matched with users who sell crypto and vice versa through the exchange’s primary service.
|Modes of Payment||Fees|
|Direct (through account balance)||1.5% for crypto and 0.9% for stablecoins|
|Wire Transfers/SWIFT/FPS/SEPA, etc||0.5% in addition to Kraken Fee|
|Maker Fee||Taker Fee|
|Trading fees||0.16% to 0.00%||0.26% to 0.00%|
|Future Trades||0.02% to 0.00%||0.05% to 0.01%|
|Margin Trades (Opening Fees)||Margin Trades (Rollover Fees)|
|0.01% to 0.02%||0.01% to 0.02% every four hours|
Using Kraken Pro
Aside from Kraken Pro’s advanced features, users prefer to use this interface because of its lower fees. Kraken Pro has a maker-taker pricing system. The system is designed to encourage traders to participate more in the market and generate more liquidity.
Makers and takers both pay low fees. User fee volume levels are measured and applied to trades that occurred during the past 30 days. Every time you trade, your discount tiers are checked. You receive discounts almost immediately once you earn them.
This system enables Kraken to offer volume-based discounts. Investors get rewarded each time they make purchases.
|30-Day Volume (USD)||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%|
Stablecoin and FX Pairs
The fee schedule includes FX pairings (EUR/USD) and stablecoin pairs (USD/USDT, DAI/USDT). The fee schedule applies if the stablecoin is the only quoted currency.
The competitive stablecoin fee schedule assures users of high liquidity, tight spreads, and minimal slippage.
|30-Day Volume (USD)||Maker||Taker|
|$0 – $50,000||0.20%||0.20%|
|$50,001 – $100,000||0.16%||0.16%|
|$100,001 – $250,000||0.12%||0.12%|
|$250,001 – $500,000||0.08%||0.08%|
|$500,001 – $1,000,000||0.04%||0.04%|
Available Cryptocurrencies on Kraken
Kraken supports 80+ cryptocurrencies. Here are some of them:
Kraken claims to give you the power to trade smarter and hit the ground running in no time. Here are the advanced services that it offers.
To understand the benefits of margin trading, we must first understand how it works. Margin Trading allows you to make spot purchases and sales of crypto coins using funds that may exceed the balance of your account.
Let’s take a look at Bob here for a second. Bob has $5,000 in his account. By using an extension of margin from Kraken, Bob can buy or sell $10,000 worth of BTC/USD on the BTC/USD order book with his account.
While margin trading potentially increases Bob’s winnings, it also doubles his potential losses. Kraken allows you to trade with up to 5x leverage, but you might wind up with 5x the risk.
It is a universal truth that crypto assets are highly volatile. Great rewards come with higher risk. You might win today and lose it all tomorrow due to the unpredictable nature of the crypto market.
Most traders manage risks by buying crypto coins when they dip and selling when they are high. The problem with this strategy is how much money you are leaving on the table after making the transaction. The price could continue to rise after selling, making you miss out on greater profits.
Kraken offers Future Trading as a way to address this pain point. Futures, or future contracts, are agreements to buy or sell digital assets later for a fixed price. In this strategy, you can hedge other investments or lock in profits. Savvy investors take advantage of future trading to smartly navigate the ever-changing landscape of cryptocurrencies.
When trading on Kraken, stop-loss orders work as a layer of protection. A stop-loss order enables you to buy or sell cryptocurrency once its price reaches a specified price or more known as the stop price.
There are two types of stop-loss orders: sell-stop order and buy-stop order. Sell-stop orders work to trigger a market sell if the price falls below a certain level. This strategy assumes that if the price drops this far, it will only continue to fall. The trader caps their losses by selling at the specified price.
Buy-stop orders essentially work the same. However, they are used to protect short positions. A buy-stop order price is set above the current market price. It protects you from rising market prices.
One of the most compelling features Kraken offers is the Dark Pool. The Dark Pool is a separate book order invisible to the rest of the market. The only person who can see your transactions is you. The anonymous pool allows you to place large buy or sell orders without anyone knowing.
When traders see a large order placed, the market gets disrupted and the more difficult it is to fill the order at the desired price. Complete anonymity helps traders reduce market impact and fetch better prices for larger trades.
It is also only available to users verified to the Pro level.
Security: Should You Trust Kraken?
Founded in 2011, Kraken stands out from the pack with its top-notch security. It boasts of never having been hacked since its official launch in 2013. This crypto exchange is considered the leading platform in security. The fact that it has remained unhacked for almost a decade more than speaks for itself.
Kraken holds 95% of deposits in offline cold storage units spread across different parts of the world. According to reports, its servers are kept in secure cages under 24/7 surveillance. Aside from these extensive physical measures, Kraken encrypts all sensitive contact information and regularly conducts vulnerability testing of its security system.
Indeed, one of Kraken’s main attractions to investors is its tight security. Investors can rest assured their assets remain safe at all times.
However, Kraken highly encourages its users to follow good online security practices. Enable two-factor authentication. You can generate different two-factor codes every time you sign in, withdraw, and trade. There’s also another feature where you can lock your account from any changes if you’re concerned about possible account breaches.
Customer Support: Does Kraken Have Your Back?
If security is Kraken’s strength, its customer support is the weak chink in the armor. Kraken has live phone support from 6 am to 6 pm Eastern Time and 24-hour chat support. Despite all that, customers are still left with a bitter taste in their mouths due to slow response times.
Alternatives You Might Want to Consider
It is always good to compare crypto exchanges and go with the one most compatible with your needs. Let’s compare Kraken with two of the most popular crypto platforms in the market to see which one’s the best for you.
Kraken versus Coinbase
|Supports 80+ cryptocurrencies for spot trading||Supports 80+ cryptocurrencies for spot trading|
|Pays higher interest rewards for staking||Has a comparable lower rate for staking|
|Margin and futures trading||Supports spot currency markets only|
|Lower trading fees when using Kraken Pro (0%-0.26%)||More expensive fees (0.50% spread for buy/sell transactions)|
|$10 Account Minimum||$2 Account Minimum|
|Does not provide wallet||Provides a digital wallet|
|Not available in NY and Washington, US||Available in all 50 states|
|Supports close to 200 countries||Only supports more than 100 countries|
Kraken and Coinbase are great options for crypto traders looking for a wide selection of cryptocurrencies and trading services. Both support more than 80 crypto assets. Both also offer rewards by staking or providing liquidity to the market. Staking is a great way to grow your holdings instead of having them sit idly in your wallet.
Kraken might not be as convenient in terms of availability compared to Coinbase. It is not available in all 50 states of America, unlike Coinbase. However, it supports more countries.
Beginners might find Coinbase the better platform for them, thanks to its robust educational feature. You can earn crypto by watching videos and learning about different crypto projects.
Kraken is more appealing to experienced investors. With the availability of margin and futures trading, it pulls ahead slightly from the competition.
We also did a full Coinbase Review
Kraken versus Binance
|Supports 80+ cryptocurrencies||Supports over 500 cryptocurrencies|
|0% to 0.26% per trade, 3.75% + €0.25 for credit card purchases, and 0.5% for online banking processing||0.02% to 0.10% purchase and trading fees, 3% to 4.5% for debit card purchases, free Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) transfer, or $15 per U.S. wire transfer|
|High level of security that had never been breached||Has experienced major data breach in 2019|
|Maximum trading amount of $100,000||Varies according to cryptocurrency|
|High liquidity||High liquidity|
Both platforms offer many of the same trading features. Most users use Binance and Kraken for buying, selling, and converting different currencies.
However, Kraken remains the crypto platform of choice when it comes to staking solutions. It made staking popular proof-of-stake coins such as DOT and ATOM faster and easier.
Savvy investors looking for niche coins with smaller market caps gravitate towards Binance more. Because of its much more diverse selection of coins, people looking to invest in more unknown coins are more suited for Binance. Nevertheless, Binance also supports the largest cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH, ADA, and DOGE.
Because of BNB, Binance can offer much lower transaction fees. Using Binance’s own crypto coin for buying and selling grants users a 25% discount.
Like Coinbase, Kraken is leagues ahead of Binance in security. Binance had been hacked back in 2019, resulting in $40 million worth of Bitcoins stolen. Kraken has never been hacked. It stores 95% of its assets in secured offline cold storage.
For investors that value safety over any other factors, Kraken is the best option.
Please check out our full Binance Review
The Bottomline – Is Kraken Reliable?
Since its founding in 2011 and official launch in 2013, Kraken’s high-security system has never been breached. It is a feat that not even other industry giants can claim.
With its proven and tested security, advanced features, and low fees, Kraken is highly suitable for active traders and institutional investors. It supports more than 80 cryptocurrencies, allows margin trading for additional buying power, and offers staking rewards.
However, Kraken still has its weaknesses, such as its weak customer support, lack of personal wallet service, and unavailability in some areas in the United States.
Overall, Kraken more than lives up to its reputation as one of the best exchanges in the market.