Kraken is one of the more established crypto exchanges on the market that first launched in 2011. This long history in the budding crypto world makes it a staple of the industry, and it has managed to maintain a high-quality reputation throughout its 10-year tenure.
This crypto trading platform offers the typical features of a modern exchange like Coinbase and Binance, but it balances them perfectly to cater to both beginners and pros alike.
Let’s dive into the finer details and see if Kraken is the right crypto exchange for you.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this Kraken review:
- Kraken Ease of Use
- Cryptocurrencies Available on Kraken
- Kraken Supported Countries
- How to Open a Kraken Account
- Kraken Features
- Kraken Trade Experience
- Kraken Fees and Limits
- Is Kraken Safe and Secure?
- Kraken Customer Support
- Kraken Wallet
- Kraken Pro Crypto Trading App
- Is Kraken Right for You?
Summary of Kraken Review
|Supported Crypto Assets||50+ crypto assets|
|Account Minimum||Varies by cryptocurrency|
|Commission and Fees||Maker: 0.16% Taker: 0.26%|
|Mobile App||Yes (iOS, Android)|
|Available Account Types||Taxable|
Kraken Ease of Use
Kraken isn’t difficult to use, but there are more streamlined options out there.
While the development team has put thought and effort into the overall design, the large variety of features, combined with its extra security-based steps, makes it slightly harder to navigate for those who have never used an exchange.
It can also feel a bit slow for those used to faster transactions through Coinbase or Wirex.
With that being said, the Kraken interface is well-designed, and a little bit of patience will help newcomers get through the learning curve with ease. There is also a multitude of third-party guides and tutorials available due to Kraken’s popularity in the crypto arena.
All in all, Kraken’s minor learning curve is no worse than other highly versatile platforms, and a little bit of patience will make it worth the small amount of effort.
Cryptocurrencies Available on Kraken
Kraken currently supports the following crypto coins and tokens on its exchange.
- Bitcoin Cash
- Paxos Gold
- Ethereum Classic
- Kyber Network
- Basic Attention Token
Kraken’s pairing system also allows most of these coins to be traded in pairs with over 100 compatible combinations supported by the platform. This can make complex orders a lot easier.
Kraken Supported Countries
Kraken is available worldwide, and there are only a few exceptions to that. First, let’s highlight the countries that cannot use Kraken at all.
- North Korea
However, there are also a handful of countries that allow Kraken to operate while severely restricting its features. Residents of the following countries can make an account, but they may not be able to fund their accounts.
Essentially, this makes Kraken practically useless as you can’t do anything with the chart information the platform provides.
- Central African Republic
- South Sudan
Finally, the UK is currently embroiled in an on-and-off relationship with Kraken. It was banned in 2020, came back, and its current availability is being debated.
Furthermore, United State citizens can use the platform fully, but it is unavailable in Washington State and New York State. This is due to state-level licensing the Kraken team needs to acquire before they can operate in those locations.
How to Open a Kraken Account
Kraken is a web-based platform. So, you’ll need to navigate to the Kraken website to start the sign-up process.
Once you’re there, follow this step-by-step guide to get your Kraken experience started.
Step 1) Start: To start the process, simply look at the top right corner of the Kraken website, and click “Create an Account” to get started. Make sure you have all your basic information available to keep from having to scrounge it up mid-process.
Step 2) Initial Information: Now, you’ll be prompted to enter your email address before creating a username and password. Make sure you store your password and username safely to prevent losing access to your account.
Step 3) Accept the ToS: Like every modern online service, you’ll need to read the site’s Terms of Service agreement and check the “Accept” button before clicking “Sign-Up”. This will start the verification process.
Step 4) Verify: Once you accept the ToS, you’ll receive an email at the address you provided. Open the email and click the included link to verify your email.
Step 5) Activate: Finally, all you have to do is complete the simple Captcha process and click “Activate”. This will give you full access to the Kraken servers.
Keep in mind that there is a separate process for verifying your identity, and some of the more advanced features may not be available until you fulfill those verification requirements.
This process is simple, but it requires a government-issued ID and a short waiting period. You’ll be prompted to verify your identity as you use the platform.
Like any platform worth its weight in salt, Kraken has a few neat features that set it apart from the pack.
We’ll go over those now, but keep in mind that Kraken has all the staple features of a crypto exchange, too.
Huge Coin Selection
Kraken doesn’t skimp on variety. You get to choose from all the most popular crypto coins available, as well as a huge selection of altcoins, to buy and sell on the platform. Kraken blows other platforms out of the water when it comes to its selection of supported crypto.
US Operated and Regulated
Kraken is based in the United States, and it complies with all United States regulations to ensure that you stay on the right side of the law while investing in the platform. It also provides you with all necessary 1099 forms to ensure that you can report your earned assets with ease.
Margin trading isn’t something beginners will be interested in, but it’s an increasingly rare feature, and the pros will love it.
Fees are a slightly unfortunate part of trading crypto. Every platform has them in some way. However, Kraken has put in the effort to minimize its fees to cover its costs without becoming a costly nuisance to its userbase.
Kraken Trade Experience
Kraken’s trade experience is both where it shines and where it falls short. We’ll get the positive points out of the way first.
First, Kraken has a multitude of trading options available, that are streamlined impressively, to ensure that traders of all experience levels can make the most of the platform.
It also has a large selection of coins, smart-routing options to avoid high gas prices without manually routing each transaction, and other features that make the trading process a joy.
On top of all this, you can trust that each transaction will be conducted safely due to the top-tier security features used by the platform.
However, all of that holds Kraken back in a way, too. The huge selection of coins and trading features can overwhelm beginners despite the streamlined interface.
Furthermore, the security level is so high that it bogs down the transaction process. Each transaction has a few extra steps to verify it and ensure that it’s secure.
This ensures your financial safety more than nearly any other platform, but that also means you have to go through more steps just to buy a few assets or sell off everything you’re holding.
Unlike other exchanges such as Coinbase and Binance, you cannot deposit or withdraw funds using a debit or credit card. Kraken only accepts bank or wire transfers.
For some users, the slight slowdown is a fair trade for the high level of security, and that enhances the trade experience. For others, it’s an annoyance that affects every trade.
We recommend giving the platform a try to see if the minor slowdown is worth it to you, and if not, check out our other crypto exchange reviews to find something a little faster.
Kraken Fees and Limits
There are quite a few fees on Kraken, and we’ll separate each one into its section.
Maker/Taker Fees: Kraken’s Maker/Taker fees are some of the most generous in the industry. Up to $50,000, all users pay a 20% fee. That percentage drops dramatically until finally disappearing entirely for transactions of $1,000,000 or more.
This means the average user will be paying 20%, but you’ll lose less money as you let your portfolio gain value, and big-time traders can experience some major savings.
Transaction Fees: For all stable coin options, Kraken charges a low 0.9% fee. For non-stable coins, the fee is 1.5%.
Payment Card Transaction Fees: All payment card transactions come with a 3.75% fee plus an additional 0.25-Euro fee.
Online Banking Fee: Kraken’s online banking features come with a 0.5% banking fee.
Margin Trading: If you decide to use the margin trading feature, your trades will include a 0.01% fee, with some Bitcoin pairs adding a 0.02% margin trading fee.
Future Trading Fees: You are allowed to trade on the futures of every coin supported, but that is subject to an additional fee. The fee starts as 0.02% for Makers and 0.05% for Takers with monthly limits up to USD 100,000.
Like the margin trading fees, these fees drop considerably the more you trade per month before eventually cutting both fees in half.
Limits: There are no buying limits unless you create an intermediate account. Intermediate accounts have a $500,000 limit. Also, starter accounts can only withdraw up to $5000 per 24-hour period.
Is Kraken Safe and Secure?
Kraken has some of the best security in the industry. It stores all of your crypto assets in “cold” storage to prevent them from being stolen in the event of a site-wide hack. This means that your assets aren’t even accessible from the internet. Your account simply keeps track of what you have.
Kraken also secures the platform itself through rigorous verification processes for users, SOC 2 security protocols, and various other measures that keep its users, and their investments, safe from malicious cybercriminals.
As a result, Kraken has never had a site-wide hack. This is impressive since the platform has been around since 2013, and it’s one of the largest exchanges out there. Most other platforms that are that old, and have as many users as Kraken, have been hacked numerous times.
Kraken even managed to survive the 2019 hack-fest that saw more than a dozen of its competitors compromised. Not a single hacker gained access to Kraken’s servers, and if they would have, they would have had little more than user data and placeholders for crypto since actual assets are stored offline.
In short, you can feel extremely secure while using Kraken.
Kraken Customer Support
Customer service is a grey area for Kraken, but it leans more towards the positive side. First, let’s talk about the negative points.
If you go to Trustpilot to check customer service reviews, we urge you to think critically. Many of the users’ complaints are due to their own shortcomings.
In general, they chose to trade with third parties and didn’t exercise basic internet safety practices. This works in Kraken’s favor as, even though those issues aren’t its problem, the support team still publically acknowledges all issues and works to find resolutions with truly candid responses.
However, the other negative point isn’t so easily dismissed. Kraken has a habit of placing some users’ funds into holding processes whenever they feel anything is off about a transaction.
When done properly, this prevents cybercriminals from laundering money. Unfortunately, some business account holders complain of their accounts being frozen for long periods, and even some intermediate individual users have the same complaints.
If your account has a hold placed on it unjustly, reach out to the support team.
Now for the positive. Kraken’s support team puts forth every effort to investigate support tickets promptly, and the team has a good track record of getting things done quickly and effectively. In some instances, they even go out of their way to help customers who have problems out of the platform’s control.
Kraken Crypto Wallet
Kraken provides a highly secure crypto wallet of its own, and it’s built right into the platform. However, you can also use a hard wallet from a third-party supplier if you’d like.
The Kraken wallet benefits from the same high-quality security features as the rest of the platform. So, it’s a worthwhile option despite being fairly basic.
Kraken Pro Crypto Trading App
Kraken’s “pro version” is the Kraken Pro mobile app. It does have about 30 small extra features compared to the desktop version.
But the main appeal of it is that it’s available on iOS and Android instead of just PC and Mac. Essentially, it’s just the platform’s mobile version and not a “true” pro version.
With that being said, it is free to use, and it links directly to your existing Kraken account.
Is Kraken Right for You?
We believe Kraken is a great option for all crypto investors. The learning curve isn’t too high for beginners, it has a huge selection of coins, and it has the features pros need.
However, those interested in margin and futures trading will benefit the most, and the fee system caters to high-rollers despite being fair across the board.
If you’re looking for a cheaper platform to make quick crypto purchases, Binance.US would probably be a better option for you. This platform only charges 0.5% for this kind of trading, compared to about 2% for Kraken’s Instant Buy interface.
Kraken is known as one of the best crypto platforms for a reason. It has consistently weathered the growing storm of online hackers, provided traders with high-quality features and a ton of variety, and maintained a good reputation since 2013.
This is a must-try platform for any crypto investor.