What is Kraken?
Kraken is one of the longest-running cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, operating in the USA since 2011. You can buy, sell and trade over 185 different cryptocurrencies using several fiat currencies, and they offer additional features such as staking, margin trading and futures contracts. Kraken is one of the largest crypto exchanges and serves traders around the world; its popularity is due to low fees, ease of use and excellent safety measures and regulations.
My Overall Thoughts on Kraken
Kraken stood out to me straight away, because it has a simple, sleek interface that is easy for beginners to navigate, yet it also has additional features such as staking and margin trading that you normally don't find on user-friendly exchanges. Kraken is extremely popular around the world, and I can see why: the low trading fees, easy-to-use platform, and Live Chat features are all highly welcomed by new and experienced investors alike. Here are the 3 main reasons why I recommend Kraken:
1) Kraken's trading fees are lower than industry average, with maker fees of 0.16% and taker fees of 0.26%. (If you don't understand what taker and maker fees are, read here.) This reduces based on your 30-day trading volume. If you are an extremely high-volume trader, your fees can be reduced to 0.00% for makers and 0.10% for takers.
2) Kraken offers over 185+ of the most popular cryptocurrencies. It may not be as many coins as some of the other crypto exchanges available, but the main coins you will likely purchase can be found here. Kraken also adds new coins to its platform from time to time.
3) Kraken has many extra features that you won't find on other easy-to-use exchanges. Kraken offers margin trading, futures trading, staking, OTC service and more.
Some users say they prefer a crypto exchange that offers more coins, such as KuCoin or Coinbase, but I find that Kraken's range of 185+ coins is sufficient for most crypto investors. Kraken adds new cryptocurrencies to its platform regularly.
All things considered, if you want a simple-to-use exchange with low trading fees and many additional features, Kraken is a great choice.
Key Features & Advantages of Kraken
As one of the most established crypto exchanges in not just the USA, but the world, you would be right to assume Kraken must have excellent features. There are myriad reasons that users pick Kraken, and I will outline some of them here.
What Services does Kraken offer?
When you start researching crypto exchanges, you probably realize that there are hundreds of options available, and a few big names keep popping up. Kraken is one of these, and the main services discussed below are why customers continue to flock to this exchange.
Low trade fees starting at 0.16% / 0.26%: Kraken offers spot trading with low fees starting at 0.16% for makers and 0.26% for takers. The fees are further reduced on a tiered basis if you are a large-volume trader. At the highest trading volume, you can access 0.00% maker fees and 0.10% taker fees.
Over 185+ different cryptocurrencies: Kraken supports over 185+ different cryptocurrencies on their platform. While this may not be as many as some of the other large exchanges, you will find the most popular coins on Kraken (such as BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, EOS, LTC, ADA, XLM, BAT, ETC), and they regularly add to their range of cryptocurrencies.
Mobile apps for iOS and Android: If you are planning on using your phone to trade, you need a crypto exchange with an app. Kraken has gone above and beyond, with not just one app, but THREE apps depending on your type of trading. The main app is simply called Kraken, which is what the majority of users will prefer. It has over 500,000 downloads, and a user rating of 4.2. Then there is KrakenPro, which provides advanced trading features such as 5x margin trading, advanced order types and conditional close parameters among others. Finally there is an app called Kraken Futures, which is specifically for those that are interested in trading futures.
Buy crypto directly with fiat currencies: On Kraken, you can purchase cryptocurrency using one of 7 fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF & AUD. This is the easiest way to purchase, as there is no need to convert your local fiat currency to USD, or to BTC before buying altcoins. You can buy crypto directly from Kraken using the instant buy function, or trade on the market using your fiat currency. It must be noted, that not all cryptocurrencies are available in each fiat currency. For example, using USD you can access all coins, but if you use JPY, you can only buy ETH, BTC, XRP, BCH, LTC and USDT (see screenshot below). However, you can easily convert your JPY to USD and access the full range of coins.
Trade crypto on the market or buy/sell instantly: Kraken users have the option to trade crypto on the market or buy and sell directly from the exchange instantly. For new users who may not yet know how to navigate crypto trading, the instant buy option is convenient, with a fee of 1.5%. You can receive the coin you want straight away from the exchange, at the listed price. Similarly, you can sell your crypto straight back to Kraken at the listed price, with no wait times for orders to be processed.
For those that want to buy or sell at a certain price, trading on the market is the preferable option, and it also incurs lower fees (starting at 0.16% for makers and 0.26% for takers). You can trade directly using fiat currencies on the market.
24/7 Live Chat support team: Kraken has excellent customer support, which is an area that many large crypto exchanges do not do well in. Many other exchanges are too large to cater for the individual needs of users, and direct any issues to an automated bot that gives scripted answers and links to web articles. Kraken on the other hand, has 24/7 Live Chat available, and they are extremely responsive. I tested out their Live Chat, and I was greeted by a live person almost instantaneously. He was very helpful, polite, and even had a sense of humour as he guided me through my issue. I highly commend Kraken on their dedication to customer service. If you prefer to make a phone call, or submit an email request, those options are readily available.
Kraken Terminal - advanced charts and tools: Kraken offers a free professional trading terminal called Kraken Terminal, which has highly customizable charts - you can use different chart styles, overlays, indicators and drawing tools to interpret every market on Kraken. You can also set browser alerts for price, volume or special technical analysis alerts and have your trades and order displayed directly on the chart. Another useful feature is the ability to visualize your past trades or current open orders directly on the chart. The Kraken Terminal is definitely a coveted feature for experienced crypto traders.
Margin trading and futures trading: Experienced traders will love the opportunity for margin trading and futures trading on Kraken. Margin trading on Kraken allows you to go long or go short on a variety of cryptocurrencies with up to 5x leverage, only 0.02% fees to open a position, and low rollover fees (maximum 0.02% per 4 hours). To learn more about margin trading on Kraken, read here.
Kraken offers access to regulated futures products, and they are dedicated to providing a dependable and diverse solution for cryptocurrency futures trading around the world. They currently offer Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and Bitcoin futures, with up to 50x leverage. Click here to find out more.
Stake crypto and fiat to earn interest and grow your investment: If you have done some research on crypto, you may have heard of staking. Staking is a great way to maximize your holdings since you earn interest on crypto that is sitting in your account. Kraken even offers staking on fiat currencies, which is something not usually found on other crypto exchanges. You can choose to stake any of the options below and earn staking rewards on top of your holdings (paid twice weekly) and grow them further by compounding those future rewards.
OTC desk with personalized service for large trades: Institutions and high net-worth individuals will enjoy the personalized service that Kraken offers with its OTC desk. The OTC is suitable for large trades over $100,000 that may disrupt the market if placed on open markets, and allows discreet, secure and ultra-competitive execution and settlement. As an OTC client, you will receive 1-on-1 service from initial expert consultation through to trade execution, with trade reporting and expert market insights. Every fiat currency and cryptocurrency found on Kraken is supported by the OTC desk, with 24/7 global coverage, excluding major holidays.
Forex trading: Not only can you trade cryptocurrencies with Kraken, now you can also access forex trading, which is a welcome addition to the platform. With low trading fees, a professional trading interface, and industry-low minimum orders of 10 units of base currency, you will love trading forex on Kraken. There are currently 9 forex trading pairs available, as follows.
Reliable, secure and trustworthy crypto exchange: Kraken is fully dedicated to safeguarding users' funds and privacy, with extensive security measures to prevent theft of assets and private information. 95% of digital assets are kept offline in air-gapped geographically distributed cold storage, and their servers reside in secure cages with 24/7 armed surveillance. Kraken is a reliable exchange regulated by FinCEN offering financial stability, with full reserves, healthy banking relationships and the highest standards of legal compliance.
Kraken charges fees that vary depending on several factors. Keep reading to find out the specific fees for you.
Kraken Deposit Fees
When you deposit cryptocurrency into Kraken, there are zero fees incurred for most coins, with a few exceptions.
When depositing fiat currency into Kraken, there may be a fee, dependent on which currency and deposit method you use. As an example, depositing USD using FedWire (MVB Bank) is free, but depositing USD with FedWire (Synapse) costs $5. Click here to find out if there are fees applicable to your deposit.
Instant Buy, Sell and Convert Fees
When you buy or sell crypto directly on Kraken using the Instant Buy/Sell feature, the fee is 1.5% per transaction.
To convert one cryptocurrency to another, the fee is also 1.5% per transaction.
If you purchase a stablecoin with another stablecoin (USDT, USDC or DAI) or with USD, the fee is only 0.9%.
Debit and Credit Card Fees
You can buy cryptocurrency directly using debit and credit card if you are in a supported country (not available in the USA). The purchases will be made in euros, so if your base currency is not euro, you need to check that your debit/credit card issuer is able to process currency conversions. The fees for using debit and credit card are 3.75% + €0.25.
Kraken Withdrawal Fees
To withdraw cryptocurrency from Kraken, there is a flat fee to cover the transaction costs of moving the coins out of your Kraken account. The cryptocurrency withdrawal fee will vary depending on which coin you want to withdraw.
Withdrawing fiat currency on Kraken may incur fees, based on the currency and method of withdrawal. A full list of options and respective withdrawal fees are found here.
Kraken Trading Fees
Spot Trading fees: Kraken's spot trading fees start at 0.16% for makers and 0.26% for takers. As your 30-day trading volume increases, you can reduce your fees based on this tiered structure.
Margin Trading fees: Margin fees are applied in addition to the trading fees at the opening and closing of market positions. The opening fees for most margins are 0.02% with a rollover fee of 0.02% per 4 hours. There are a few exceptions where the opening fee is 0.01% and rollover fee of 0.01% per 4 hours.
Futures Trading fees: Futures fees start at a low 0.02% for makers, and 0.05% for takers, with reduced fees applicable for high-volume traders, as based on this table.
Pros and Cons of Kraken
- Well-established, trusted and secure crypto exchange since 2011
- Easy-to-use interface perfect for beginners
- Advanced features not found on other user-friendly platforms, eg: futures trading, margin trading, forex trading, OTC desk
- Over 185+ cryptocurrencies and 7 fiat currencies supported
- Live Chat support with a real person 24/7
- Trading fees are higher than some competitors
- Does not offer as many cryptocurrencies as some larger exchanges
Kraken is a popular cryptocurrency exchange worldwide, and this is due to its multitude of features, ease of use, customer support and top-notch security. With support of over 185+ cryptocurrencies, 7 fiat currencies, and additional features like staking, margin trading, futures trading and OTC desk, I think Kraken is a suitable exchange for anyone, whether you are a new investor, an experienced day trader, or an institutional client.
A small criticism of Kraken that I occasionally hear, is that it doesn't offer as many coins as big exchanges like KuCoin and Coinbase. Your needs may differ from mine, but personally I don't find this a big issue, as many of the most popular coins are available on Kraken, and they regularly add to their list of cryptocurrencies. Also, Kraken provides excellent 24/7 customer support by Live Chat (phone and email is also available) which is not found on either KuCoin or Coinbase; I prefer to have excellent customer service with a smaller selection of coins.
If you want to use a crypto exchange with more coins, KuCoin has over 600+ different altcoins (KuCoin review here) and Coinbase has over 160+ cryptocurrencies (see full review). I also have an article comparing KuCoin and Coinbase if you are interested.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, Kraken is a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange that was established in the USA in 2011. It is regulated by FinCEN, and complies with legal and regulatory requirements in all jurisdictions where it operates.
Yes, Kraken is a safe cryptocurrency exchange, placing top priority on the security of their users' funds and personal information. Their security measures include cold storage of 95% of digital assets, and servers residing in secure cages with 24/7 video surveillance and armed guards. Kraken is regulated by FinCEN and offers financial stability with full reserves, healthy banking relationships and the highest standards of legal compliance.
Yes, Kraken is a trustworthy crypto exchange that has been in operation since 2011. It is regulated by FinCEN, and complies with legal and regulatory requirements in all jurisdictions where it operates.
No matter how secure a crypto exchange is, there is a chance that it can be hacked. Kraken has never been hacked since it was founded in 2011 even though other big exchanges like Binance and KuCoin have. This is a good sign for users of Kraken, as they can feel secure using this exchange.
Yes, Kraken can be used by US residents. Kraken is an American-based crypto exchange founded in 2011 and is regulated by FinCEN.
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