Account Minimum: $1
Fees: 0% - 0.26%
Best For: Margin & Futures Trading
Warning: Trading in cryptocurrency is highly speculative and carries a high level of risk. It is possible to lose all your capital. These products may not be suitable for everyone and you should ensure that you understand the risks involved. Seek independent advice if necessary. Speculate only with funds that you can afford to lose.
Kraken is one of the longstanding names when it comes to cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the industry. It was founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell who continues to run the company today more than a decade later.
From humble beginnings, they have now gone on to become one of the most recognizable names in the space offering an extensive selection of assets to trade, trading costs to rival all of the other top exchanges, and have continued to evolve now offering both futures and margin trading. Here we will take an in-depth look at everything Kraken has to offer and help you decide if they are the perfect crypto exchange for you.
- More than a decade in operation
- Unbeatably low trading fees
- Extensive leverage is available
- Advanced trading features for more experienced users
- Somewhat limited currency range
- Complex trading platform for beginners
First and foremost the longevity of Kraken within the industry speaks well to the fact they are a trustworthy operation. They offer trading across the US, Japan, and Europe with the only limitations being in the state of New York since they do not currently have the required licensing there.
They are independently insured and are one of only a few in the sector who hold 100% reserves to back up the funds of users. This means if they did encounter any difficulties or breaches, in theory, your funds would be completely protected. This is a big plus point for those who may be wary of starting to trade crypto due to security concerns. It is also worth noting that Kraken has never suffered from any meaningful hacks or major security breaches as some other exchanges have in the past.
From a trader perspective, the company complies with all of the relevant KYC and AML procedures in the areas where they offer trading. They also ensure your account is protected by 2-factor authentication adding an extra layer of security, and routinely conduct independent audits of the platform to ensure every aspect conforms to the highest security standards.
Though they started out in 2011 supporting just 2 coins, they now offer in excess of 40 different cryptocurrencies that you can trade in. This selection includes all of the major cryptocurrencies you would expect to find like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and more while also including a strong range of alt-coins to choose from. You can check out the full list of available cryptocurrencies at the Kraken website.
While you can trade crypto for crypto at Kraken, you can also trade with several fiat currencies including USD, EUR, JPY, GBP, CAD, AUD, and CHF. This makes the process of purchasing cryptocurrency even more convenient.
Margin trading is a huge hit feature with many Kraken traders. This opens the door to trading crypto on leverage for US and other international traders who may otherwise have no access to such a feature. This leverage can stretch up to 50:1 on some of the major cryptos when trading in the futures market. This is another area where the more advanced trade will appreciate being able to move seamlessly between trading spot and futures market with the exchange.
Trading & Fees
With Kraken, they are well known for their competitive fee structure that has rivaled all of the top exchanges in the industry. The trading fees here will depend on your trading volume with the lowest month bracket being less than $50,000. At this level, you can expect a maker fee of 0.16% and a taker fee of 0.26%. This fee progressively drops as you trade at higher volumes with the lowest fee bracket being a 0% maker fee and 0.10% taker fee for a volume of over $10,000,000 monthly.
The withdrawal fees you will find with Kraken are also typical of other major exchanges. You will find a 0.0005 BTC withdrawal fee for example. There are several coins though which Kraken offers lower withdrawal fees on than the competition.
If you are interested in making an instant crypto purchase using your credit or debit card, this is also possible. Here you will encounter a 3.75% fee + 0.25 EUR on the transaction. A rollover fee of between 0.01% and 0.02% per 4-hour period is also applied if you are trading on margin and holding open positions.
The Kraken trading platform is one area which has gained some attention over the years with some speaking about the difficulty of use and a higher learning curve. While this may be true for some beginners in trading, the web-based trading platform is actually well presented, and quite intuitive when it comes to use.
In fact, there are three different settings you can change to customize your overall trading experience with this trading platform. As a new trader, the simple setting will present you with a very easy to use platform where you can execute all of your trading needs.
As a more advanced trader, you can take advantage of the intermediate, or advanced settings which add extra layers and feature to what you can do with the platform when it comes to placing your order like adding the “conditional close”, and other order types.
Overall, it is a highly customizable trading platform that is still easy to navigate even if the more advanced traders decide to go with the Kraken Pro platform for more detailed features. Both are also available on iOS and Android devices with largely the same capabilities.
Kraken claim to provide some of the most comprehensive customer support in the industry. They offer 24/7 support to all traders primarily through their live chat service which is always available.
They also have a help center that is packed full of comprehensive answers to many of your most common questions and features guides and information on all aspects of cryptocurrency and trading.
This already strong infrastructure is further supported by a growing Kraken education section. Here you will find more useful content, articles, and tutorials particularly helpful for a first-time trader. In addition, they offer a range of video guides and even run a regular podcast for traders to stay informed.
In all, Kraken backs up their longstanding solid reputation in the industry on every front. They provide trading in a great range of currencies at some of the lowest fee levels you can find. They also offer several innovative features such as margin trading and futures contracts that you may not find elsewhere.
They also ensure the sign-up process is fast and convenient and have continued to evolve in recent times now offering the added convenience of instant crypto purchase with credit or debit card. They are an exchange well suited to new traders but also excellent for the more experienced with their extensive leverage on offer, and a trading platform that houses many more advanced features should you need them.