Kraken Review: An Easy Way to Trade Crypto

Investing
Updated: 23rd Feb 2021
Written by Drew Cheneler
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Kraken stands side-by-side with some of the biggest and best cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, dominating in both the U.S. and the European market.

Operating since 2013, Kraken has built a reputation over the past nine years as crypto’s largest and safest trading platform.

With a team of developers working day and night to bring the latest features, it is no wonder why Kraken is ranked third on exchange leaderboards.

Most know how the exchange works on a surface-level, but rarely anyone can differentiate Kraken from the rest.

With this Kraken Review, you will understand the ins and outs of this platform and know why it is so popular.

Kraken Overview

Features:Detail:
Account Minimum: Kraken’s minimum deposit averages at $20
Fees:Trading fees start at 0.26%. Deposit fees only charge $5 or $25.
Account Types:Starter, Intermediate, and Pro
Customer Support: 24/7 customer care through email, chat, phone, and ticket systems.
Mobile App: iOS & Android
Availability:United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Parts of Asia.
Tradeable Securities: Supports more than 50 crypto assets
Digital Wallet: Yes

Pros:

  • Great flat fee deposit system
  • Hosts enormous trading liquidity
  • Easy to register and instantly start trading
  • Incredibly secure, Kraken has never been hacked
  • Low trading fees
  • Reportedly never shares account history with tax agencies

Cons:

  • Complicated user interface
  • Flat deposit fees are problematic for dollar-cost averaging (DCA)
  • Low liquidity for less popular trading pairs

What is Kraken?

The idea of Kraken sprung in 2011 when founder Jesse Powell began worrying about Mt Gox’s future, the market’s biggest exchange at the time.

After visiting the company’s offices after a security breach, Powell decided that the security risk is excellent and that there should be an alternative if Mt. Gox closes.

After two years of development, Jesse Powell finally launched Kraken and offered Bitcoin and Litecoin trading. Since that moment, the company has operated as one of the industry’s biggest exchanges.

Despite being based in San Francisco, Kraken gathered a large following in the European market, where it served as the number one trading platform.

Why Kraken? Investors mainly favor the platform for its high liquidity and rigorous security measures.

Learning from the mistakes of Mt. Gox, Powell created an exchange that will never lose the funds of its customers, and he was successful in doing so.

Related: How to Invest in Cryptocurrencies

How Does Kraken Work?

Like many other exchanges, Kraken employs an all-in-one system where all features and platforms are located in one place.

Investors do not have to switch back and forth between the exchange and the wallet, which is the case in Coinbase, for example.

Upon creating an account, investors instantly gain access to the exchange’s trading features. For ease-of-use, they can switch between different user interfaces – which accommodate various experience levels.

Depositing funds costs only $5 to $25, depending on the payment method and bank. However, there are also special options through which you can deposit fiat currencies for free.

After that, one can decide whether to simply buy an asset and HODL or use trading tools and trade with leverage.

There is nothing much to be said about the trading experience on Kraken, given that it is pretty much the same as everywhere else.

Kraken Standout Features:

  • Low Fees: Kraken’s fees start at only 0.26% for takes, and they can be reduced as low as 0.10% based on your activity. The exchange also features low deposit fees, which are even free in some cases.
  • 24/7 Support: Great technical support is rare in crypto. Kraken stands out by offering the very best customer care in the market, with support teams that are live 24/7.
  • Account Management: For advanced traders, Kraken offers a hyper-personalized and real-time support system that helps manage accounts and instantly resolve issues.
  • Different Funding Options: Users can deposit a total of 7 different fiat currencies via numerous payment methods, which include: domestic wire transfers, SEPA transfers, SWIFT, and debit cards.
  • Security: All user assets are fully backed by Kraken’s reserve. The company stores more than 90% of its assets in cold storage, enforcing meticulous oversight that prevents employees from going rogue.
  • Educational Resources: Kraken has a blog on which it frequently publishes guides and articles that help you figure out how to trade and how other crypto projects work.
  • Futures Trading: The exchange features a complex yet simple to use futures trading market. It is the perfect option for those who enjoy trading with higher leverage and want a platform that executes orders without problems.

Related: How to Buy Bitcoin

What Coins Can You Buy at Kraken?

You can trade more than 50 different cryptocurrencies. Kraken focuses on providing both popular and less popular assets. We note that the exchange lists only reputable and vouched cryptocurrencies.

Based on daily trading volume, these are the most popular assets on Kraken:

Kraken Fee Structure: How Much Does It Cost?

Fees are incredibly important. In fact, they represent a crucial factor that one must consider before deciding to trade on an exchange.

Luckily, Kraken is competitive with their trading fees, going as far as to utilize a 30-day trading activity system to incentivize active investors.

We have already covered the immensely cheap flat deposit fees. But what about trading fees?

Kraken’s fee schedule encourages traders to engage in crypto trading and drive maximum liquidity levels.

Those that trade up to $50,000 starting out with 0.26% taker fees and 0.16% maker fees. If one trades five times more on a monthly level, these fees are reduced to 0.20% and 0.10%, respectively.

With such a progressive fee system, Kraken effectively outrivals Coinbase and other popular exchanges that enforce incredibly high fees.

Related: What is Cryptocurrency?

How to Open a Kraken Account

As previously mentioned, Kraken designed an exchange specifically to onboard new users as quickly as possible.

When visiting their website, investors can get straight to the point and immediately begin their journey.

To help you better understand how registering works out in practice, we wrote a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Visit the official Kraken website at www.kraken.com
  2. Click the “Create Account” or Register button in the top right corner.
  3. Fill in basic account information. For now, you only have to input a username, email, and password.
  4. Optionally, read the exchange’s ToS and privacy policy.
  5. Find an activation email and use the code in the respective field.
  6. Confirm your password again, complete the captcha, and press ‘Activate Account.’

After completing all six steps, you have created your account. Do note that to unlock more options and better withdrawal/deposit limits, you will need to fill out Kraken’s KYC.

The exchange has a tiered verification system that includes: Starter, Intermediate, and Pro.

Alternatives to Kraken

#1. Coinbase

Is there an exchange more famous than Coinbase? As the market’s second-largest crypto exchange, Coinbase dominates globally by serving more than 13 million traders.

It is the first platform that beginners encounter. Often, investors stay after discovering that Coinbase features the easiest to use trading platform, robust security, and an unparalleled experience.

Learn More: Coinbase Review

#2. Gemini

Are you an institutional investor who prioritizes security? Then head over to Gemini and try out their NYSDF-regulated crypto exchange.

Although the exchange does not list that many trading pairs, you can at least be comforted by the fact that Gemini is the securest exchange in the entire market.

Learn More: Gemini Review

#3. eToro

Who says that stock traders should not be able to trade crypto as well? With eToro, you can participate in both legacy and disruptive financial markets all from one spot.

The exchange is fully regulated in four high-level legal jurisdictions and serves millions of investors worldwide.

Learn More: eToro Review

Kraken Review: FAQs

Is Kraken Better than Coinbase?

Being eerily similar to Coinbase, it is often tough to compare these two exchanges. They both have great security systems, simple interfaces, and responsive technical support.

However, once you look at their fees, it becomes blatantly obvious which one is superior.

While Kraken charges only 0.26% per trade, Coinbase charges 0.5%. Unless you want to pay double the fees, we wholeheartedly recommend Kraken.

Can You Make Money on Kraken?

As long as you are experienced with trading and investing, it is incredibly easy to make money on Kraken.

You carry all the risk in your investment journey since Kraken is a legitimate and secure business.

There is no risk of losing your assets because of a hack or other malicious activity. Simply put, the skillful you are, the more money you can make.

Is Kraken Trustworthy?

Kraken is trustworthy. For the last nine years, the exchange encountered no hacks and only rarely had technical difficulties.

All user funds are stored in cold storage, which is accessible to only a few of Kraken’s top employees. In our opinion, the number of exchanges that are more trustworthy than Kraken is small.

Is Kraken Worth It?

Although we have praised Kraken for its incredibly low fees and easy account onboarding, we must note that the exchange may not be the best option for beginners.

Its user interface is tough to learn. Compared to other platforms, it is overly complicated, and many users do not seem to like it.

However, the interface is great for institutional investors who already know how each section should work. That said, Kraken is actively redesigning its platform, so it is still a good option for cryptocurrency investors.

Is Kraken a Scam?

No, Kraken is not a scam. Users have never reported thefts or lost funds. After all, the exchange would not be operating after all these years if it was a scam.

Related: Is Bitcoin a Good Investment?

Is Kraken Good for Beginners?

Sadly, the platform is not a good choice for beginners. You will have to spend considerable time to get to know how Kraken works.

The trouble first starts after creating an account, after which you have to learn where everything is located and how the exchange works. Nevertheless, one gets used to Kraken’s interface after a few weeks.

Bottom Line: Kraken Review

By prioritizing security, Kraken became the most popular exchange early on in Bitcoins history.

Despite being an exchange created by Americans, for Americans, the company managed to accumulate a large following in Europe. Many even consider it to be the continent’s largest exchange.

Even though Kraken struggles with developing a user interface that suits both beginners and veterans, the company can compete with the market’s most prominent players. At the time of writing, Kraken is ranked third on CoinGecko’s exchange leaderboard.

Why is Kraken just so good? Investors mainly praise the exchange for its top-notch security and low trading fees. It may not have the largest liquidity, but it still manages to support large orders.

If you have liked our Kraken review, we recommend that you test the exchange and see if trading on it works out.

In the worst case, you’ll have to switch over to Gemini or Coinbase. In the end, consider it to be a lesson: figuring out if Kraken is right for you should not be a time-wasting activity.

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Drew Cheneler
Drew Cheneler
Drew is a recognized Credit, Small Business, and Personal Finance Expert. He has been quoted in CNBC, Fox Business News Section, The Huffington Post, Business.com, Moneyunder30, US Chamber of Commerce, and more. He is known for breaking down complex personal finance topics into action-oriented advice, so you can make the most of your hard-earned money.