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Kraken Review How It Compares in 2023

A detailed Kraken review discussing its products, features, pros and cons, and who it’s for.

Dean Fankhauser14 min read
Kraken

Our take

4.5 out of 5 stars

Kraken is a popular crypto exchange that has existed for around a decade. It lets you stake crypto, trade futures, and buy and sell digital assets (including NFTs).

Kraken provides learning material to help newbies learn more about crypto before investing. It’s available in most countries, including the United States.

Bitcoin and Ethereum are among the major cryptocurrencies available on Kraken. It offers access to about 221 cryptos.

This Kraken review will discuss what Kraken offers and how it compares to its competitors.

Kraken Overview

Platform NameKraken
ProductsStaking · Exchange
Interest RatesUp to 1.6% APY on Stablecoins, 1.25% on BTC
Mobile AppYes - iOS & Android
Available in USAYes
InsuredNo
RegulatedYes - FinCEN
Trading Fees0–0.26%
Withdrawal FeesVaries by crypto
Interest PaidBiweekly

Kraken is one of the most popular places for both experienced and new investors to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. The California-based exchange is also one of the oldest, having been launched in 2011. It is owned by Payward Inc. and headed by Dave Ripley.

The Kraken platform offers many products and features under one roof, which is its main attraction. This includes learning material for newbie traders.

CoinMarketCap says that in terms of trading volume and liquidity, it is the third largest cryptocurrency exchange.

It has over 200 cryptocurrencies to choose from, and you can buy crypto worth as little as $10. Kraken is available in almost 200 countries. This enables it to easily dominate the global crypto market. However, the platform only supports a few fiat currencies.

Kraken offers low trading fees, making it an affordable investment platform. It offers the best deals to experienced traders using the Kraken Pro platform.

Kraken Products and Features

Kraken Products and Features

Kraken has a variety of products and features that you can choose from based on your risk tolerance, how much time you have, and how much experience you have. Below are the main investment options:

Products

Staking

Kraken Staking

This is the process of locking up digital assets on a staking platform to earn staking rewards. The staked assets help validate blockchain transactions to ensure security and transparency. However, only assets using the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism can be staked. Ethereum and Solana are great examples of such assets.

Kraken is a great platform for staking because it has around 20 staking coins and good interest rates. Cardano, Polkadot, Tezos, and Solana are some of the popular options offered. You can also stake stablecoins such as Tether and USD Coin.

Interest rates vary depending on the selected coin, but the APY ranges from 4% to 24%. You can withdraw your earnings biweekly. Kraken also lets you unstake assets without any penalties.

Brokerage

Kraken Brokerage

Kraken provides a platform where you can buy or sell crypto assets. Its user-friendly interface lets you view the prices of different assets and check their price trends over a certain period.

The Kraken exchange has 200+ crypto assets. Crypto purchases reflect on your account instantly.

Kraken Pro

Kraken Pro

Kraken has the main trading interface you first land on when you visit the platform. And it also has a more advanced platform called Kraken Pro. Both platforms are open to everyone, but your best fit will be determined by your trading experience.

Kraken Pro is a powerful trading interface that offers everything under one roof, from staking to spot trading. This makes it a great fit for more experienced traders who can make the most of the advanced features. Plus, Kraken Pro offers lower fees than the main Kraken platform.

Here are the benefits Kraken Pro offers:

  • It has many trading modules and lets you customize the layout to fit your needs.
  • It has a lot of different products in one place, so you can easily switch between them without leaving the platform.
  • It offers quick access to live market data.
  • It offers a powerful user interface filled with advanced trading tools.

Kraken NFTs

Kraken NFTs

Kraken users don’t have to go to other platforms to buy NFTs as it has its own NFT market. It categorizes NFTs using factors such as volume and price. This makes it easier to find good deals.

You can also use the search feature to quickly locate a specific NFT. The platform charges zero gas fees for trading NFTs. And you can make payments with crypto or cash using your linked bank account.

Features

Customer Service

Unlike some crypto platforms that mostly offer email support, Kraken has different support options. These include live chat, phone calls, and email, which are available 24-7.

Customer Satisfaction

Kraken has low customer service ratings on Trustpilot. Some customers complained about long withdrawal periods, while others complained about unreliable customer support. But some customers said Kraken did a great job and pointed out things they thought could be better.

Kraken has a mixture of satisfied and unsatisfied customers. It is crucial to consider this factor before investing.

Learning Material

Kraken Learning Material

Kraken has made it easier for anyone interested in crypto to learn about it and start investing. The platform has a learning section with lessons on everything from the basics to more advanced ideas.

Some lessons are in video form, making it even easier for newbies to digest the information. You can find this “Learn” section at the top of the Kraken website.

Mobile App

Kraken Mobile App

Kraken has a mobile application that makes trading easier. However, Kraken has three different apps, which can be confusing since they don’t perform the same tasks.

The main Kraken app lets you deposit, withdraw, and perform simple swaps. The Kraken Pro app handles more complex tasks like setting stop-loss orders and profit targets. There is also the Kraken Futures app for trading futures.

You don’t need all of them. If you don’t trade futures or use “take profit” and “stop loss” orders, then you don’t need Kraken Pro and Kraken Futures.

The mobile apps are available in most countries and support Android and iOS.

Supported Countries

Kraken accepts users from every country but has specific exceptions. For instance, Kraken is available to all US citizens except those in New York and Washington. You can check whether your country is supported on the Kraken website.

Security

CER, a website that reviews crypto exchanges, says that Kraken is the second-most secure one on the market. It performs regular vulnerability tests and encrypts users’ sensitive details to prevent theft.

It holds about 95% of its deposits offline, making it harder for hackers to access the funds. Kraken also lets you set up two-factor authentication, which makes sure that no one can withdraw your assets without your knowledge.

Kraken has not suffered major hacking issues, meaning its security systems are reliable. It also has the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, proving its ability to keep customers’ funds safe.

Kraken performs an auditor-assisted proof of reserves (PoR). This ensures Kraken has all customers’ funds intact.

Fees

Kraken Fees

Kraken charges different fees that you should be aware of, especially if you trade often. This will help you figure out how to trade better so that fees don't eat up all your profits.

Here are the major fees the platform charges:

Trading Fees

Fees for trading depend on the size of the transaction, the cryptocurrencies involved, and the method of payment. These fees also vary depending on whether you are a Kraken or Kraken Pro user. Kraken Pro users enjoy cheaper fees.

Kraken Pro charges a 0.16% maker fee or 0.26% taker fee. Users with a high 30-day trading volume ($50,000+) enjoy better rates. The main Kraken platform charges a 1.5% trading fee on most cryptos.

Stablecoin Trades Fees

Kraken has a different fee structure for stablecoin trades. It charges a 0.20% trading fee for trades with a 30-day volume of $50,000 or less. The higher the trading volume, the better the rates. Users with a trading volume of $1,000,001 or more enjoy free stablecoin trades.

Other Fees

Kraken accepts ACH bank payments, and the fees depend on how the market is doing and how much money is being sent. Kraken doesn’t charge deposit or withdrawal fees.

We have only discussed the major fees to expect. Do more research, though, to make sure you know about any extra fees you might have to pay based on the asset you're trading and your preferred payment methods, such as bank transfer fees.

Supported Cryptocurrencies

Kraken Supported Cryptocurrencies

These are the major cryptocurrencies available on Kraken:

  • Bitcoin (BTC) and
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Solana (SOL)
  • Cardano (ADA)

Kraken supports around 200 cryptocurrencies. You can find the full list of supported cryptos on Kraken’s website.

Supported Fiat Currencies

Kraken only supports a few fiat currencies. They include:

  • USD
  • EUR
  • AED
  • CAD
  • AUD
  • GBP
  • CHF
  • JPY

OTC (Over-the-counter) Trading

The over-the-counter (OTC) feature lets you trade outside your crypto exchange. It makes for a more private and safe place where you can talk about prices before you trade. It is more popular with institutional clients or users with frequent large orders.

Here are the benefits Kraken’s OTC feature offers:

  • It provides a user-friendly interface to facilitate quick and stress-free transactions.
  • It offers huge global liquidity.
  • Its automated Request-for-Quote system allows users to request quotes and place trades in real time.
  • It offers help from qualified professionals when need be.

Spot Trading

Kraken’s comprehensive spot market allows you to easily buy and sell digital assets. The platform has over 200 cryptocurrencies available for trading.

Kraken offers filters such as "top traded," "newly listed," and "top gainers and losers." This lets you quickly browse through available deals and find the best one. That way, you can find cheap offers that allow you to profit by selling the assets later at a higher price.

Futures Trading

Kraken Futures Trading

Kraken is one of the best places to trade futures, which explains why it’s home to many advanced traders. It offers a powerful trading platform with various trading options.

Here is what the platform offers:

  • Kraken lets you decide how much margin to use per contract to ensure great risk management.
  • It allows Bitcoin miners to hedge against volatility in the crypto market.
  • It provides different currency pairs to trade.
  • Kraken boosts your trading power using leverage.

You can use the Kraken Futures app to make futures trading easier and more convenient.

Margin Trading

Margin trading refers to using borrowed funds to trade. So, you can open huge positions without paying the full amount required for executing that trade. For instance, if you only have $500 in your trading account, your platform might let you open a $5,000 position.

Kraken allows you to leverage up to five times your initial investment. Some users can obtain leverage worth millions of dollars. The platform also offers different trading assets and markets. Plus, you get stable and reasonable rollover fees, helping maximize profits.

Regulation

Governments all over the world are putting rules in place for the crypto market so that it doesn't affect the financial sector.

One of the best things about Kraken is its openness to regulation. Here are things Kraken has done to comply with regulations:

  • It has been encouraging crypto regulations since its launch in 2011.
  • Kraken was the first crypto platform to be awarded a state-chartered banking license.
  • It’s regulated by different global regulators, such as FinCEN.

Proof-of-Reserves (PoR)

Proof-of-reserve is the process of auditing a cryptocurrency platform to show that customers' funds are safe and available. This verifies a platform’s transparency and reliability.

One of the biggest accounting firms in the US, Armanino, checks up on Kraken's finances every six months. It lets you use your Kraken account to check if your assets were included in the latest audit. Kraken uses the Merkle tree approach to perform its proof of reserves.

Learn more about proof-of-reserves and the crypto platforms that perform them.

How to Create a Kraken Account

Follow these easy steps to start using Kraken:

  1. Visit the Kraken website.
  2. Click “Create account” at the top.
  3. Provide your email address and username.
  4. Set a password.
  5. Specify your country and agree to the terms.
  6. Hit the “Create account” button and follow any other required steps to complete creating your Kraken account.
  7. You could also click on the “Create a business account” link at the bottom in case you want a business account.

Pros and cons of Kraken

ProsCons
Kraken supports over 200 crypto assets, giving you many investment options.Kraken charges high fees to the main Kraken platform users.
It charges low fees for most services, with Kraken Pro users enjoying the best rates.It does not have excellent customer support.
It offers margin and futures trading, which isn’t available in all cryptocurrency exchanges.It might not be the best option for beginners due to its complex features.
Stakers enjoy bi-weekly payouts.It doesn’t support every fiat currency.
Kraken Pro is a fantastic option for advanced traders who want all their trading products on one platform.

How Kraken Compares to Its Competitors

It’s always wise to compare different crypto platforms before picking one. We will compare Kraken with some of its rivals to see how it does.

Kraken vs. Binance

  • Kraken and Binance offer advanced trading tools, making them great options for experienced crypto investors.
  • Kraken offers 200+ coins, while Binance supports 350+.
  • Kraken’s rates range around 0.26%, while Binance’s are up to 0.10%.
  • Both platforms offer mobile apps, ensuring easy accessibility.
  • Binance does not accept US customers, but Kraken does.

Learn more: Kraken vs Binance Which is the Best?

Kraken vs. OKX

  • Kraken supports around 200 coins, while OKX offers 350+.
  • Both platforms have mobile apps.
  • Kraken’s fees are up to 0.26%, compared to OKX’s 0.10%.
  • Both platforms allow futures and margin trading.

Kraken vs. Crypto.com

  • Kraken offers approximately 200 coins, while Crypto.com offers 250+.
  • Kraken’s fees range between 0.16% to 0.26%, while Crypto.com rates are up to 0.075%.
  • Kraken has a complicated user interface as it mostly targets more experienced traders. Crypto.com has a simpler user interface, making it more beginner-friendly.
  • Both platforms allow futures and margin trading.

Kraken FAQs

Is Kraken Trustworthy?

Kraken is among the biggest crypto exchanges in the market. It has been around since 2011 and has built a great reputation. It has one of the best security systems in the industry. And it has never had any major hacking incidents. This demonstrates that it is a reliable platform for investing.

Is Kraken Better Than Coinbase?

Kraken and Coinbase are great crypto exchanges, but Coinbase offers more coins than Kraken. However, Kraken offers cheaper fees and more advanced trading features for professional traders.

Is Kraken good for beginners?

Kraken has a relatively simple interface. However, most beginners still find it tricky to find what they want. Therefore, Kraken is more appropriate for advanced traders.

Can US customers use Kraken?

Kraken is open to everyone, including US customers, except those living in Washington and New York.

Who is Kraken intended for?

Kraken is for more experienced traders who like to trade on margin and in futures. It has a powerful interface and low fees.

Is it possible to trade NFTs on Kraken?

NTF trading is allowed on Kraken, and users enjoy zero gas fees.

Verdict

Kraken is one of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges on the market. It has managed to attract around 6 million global users. Kraken offers cheap trading fees and allows futures and margin trading. It also lets you stake crypto assets to help earn passive income without selling them.

Kraken offers many coins and has top-notch security, making it great for investing. However, it has many customer complaints about its customer support. Improving that area would make it a better platform and boost customer satisfaction. Therefore, Kraken is a decent platform that could be a great fit for veteran traders and newbies who don’t mind the complex interface.

Please note that this article is not investment advice. Before investing, check whether a platform supports your country or preferred fiat currency.

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