Kraken, in its review, is a highly dependable and trustworthy exchange. They are often ranked first in terms of both security and customer service by independent auditors.
The Kraken exchange provides a fantastic alternative to Coinbase for crypto investors and traders looking for a solid US-based crypto exchange that offers more than simply buying, selling, and swapping assets.
This Kraken review will give you an in-depth analysis of the pros, cons, fees, and features to help you decide if the Kraken exchange is suitable for you.
What is Kraken?
Kraken is a crypto exchange founded in 2011 in San Francisco with offices around the world. It supports customers in over 190 countries.
Kraken supports individual and institutional investors with competitively priced cryptocurrency trading.
Beginners will do best with the main Kraken platform, while advanced and expert crypto enthusiasts may prefer Kraken Pro and the advanced margin and futures features. The combination of platforms and services makes it likely that Kraken can handle your cryptocurrency needs.
What types of currencies are available on Kraken?
Kraken supports over 220 cryptocurrencies, including popular ones such as:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Polkadot (DOT)
- Polygon (MATIC)
- Stellar Lumens (XLM)
- Solana (SOL)
- Sushi (SUSHI)
- Uniswap (UNI)
Kraken also supports a handful of stablecoins, including Tether USD, USD Coin, and Dai. Eight fiat currencies are supported, including USD, EUR, and GBP. Note that not all currencies are available in every country.
Kraken Review: Pros and Cons
Before signing up with them, let’s review some of the pros and cons of Kraken
Kraken Review: Fees
To their credit, Kraken’s fees are quite competitive and refreshingly transparent. There are no hidden or “surprise” fees here. Kraken fees for Maker and Taker fall towards the cheaper end of the fee scale, having lower fees than Coinbase but a little higher than OKX, KuCoin, or Binance.
As far as fees are concerned, users on Kraken can expect the following:
- For the Instant Buy feature, digital wallet and card purchases will come with a 3.75% + $0.25 fee or a 0.5% fee for online banking/ACH purchases. Kraken’s purchasing partners charge these fees.
- Crypto deposits are free for most crypto assets.
- Crypto withdrawals have a variable fee structure depending on the asset.
- An additional 1.5% fee per transaction for stablecoin purchases, or 0.9% for purchases with USD for the Instant Buy option, is tacked on by Kraken.
Fiat deposits vary depending on the currency and method used, but range between:
- USD: $0 to $10
- EUR: €0 to €3
- CAD: $0 to 1.5% or $3
- AUD- $0
- GBP: £0 to £21
- CHF: 0 Fr. to 0.75 Fr.
- JPY- ¥0
Fiat withdrawals vary depending on the currency and method used but range between
- USD: $0 to $35
- EUR: €0.09 to €35 (1 EUR for SEPA)
- CAD: $0 to $35 or 0.25%
- AUD: $0 to $35
- GBP: £1.95 to £35
- CHF: 1 Fr. to 35 Fr.
- JPY: 35 USD equivalent in JPY or ¥250
The fee-free or low-fee options are generally for users who reside in a country and are transacting locally in their national currency. The higher fees are mainly associated with international users transacting in a different nation’s currency. Detailed information can be found on the Kraken Withdrawals Fees page.
For Kraken trading fees, the trading fee is dependent on 30-day trading volume. Here is an image showing the maker and taker fee breakdown on Kraken Pro:
Maker orders are trades that are not instantly matched against existing orders, which add liquidity to the platform. Taker fees are charged to orders that match against an outstanding order from another user on the market and require a slightly higher fee.
Kraken Review: Features
Now we will review the main features of the Kraken trading exchange. Kraken is available as a web platform and mobile app for iOS and Android. Kraken also offers Kraken Pro included on the site, an advanced platform for advanced traders.
Let’s look at the key features
Like most good exchanges, Kraken has a section where users can stake popular proof-of-stake crypto assets and earn up to 23% in staking rewards.
Kraken staking allows users to earn attractive APYs easily with just a few clicks of a button in a flexible manner for 13 different crypto assets, including USD and EUR.
The traditional financial and education systems have let the average person down with a lack of education, transparency, and understanding surrounding finances, which is one of the reasons most people are drowning in debt and living paycheck to paycheck.
With crypto, we have a fresh start and a chance to change that. Thanks to companies like Binance with the Binance Academy and Kraken with Kraken Learn.
The Kraken Learn section is full of everything users need to navigate the wacky world of crypto. The articles, videos, and guides are not only specific to Kraken but can help out regardless of the crypto path that a person chooses to walk.
They also have fantastic interviews and panel discussions on the Kraken Blog; it is an excellent resource for everything crypto. You can sign up for their mailing list, as they periodically send out insanely in-depth research and market analytics on the state of crypto.
Kraken has two apps:
- Kraken Pro
The Kraken mobile app is a beautifully designed and fantastic app that makes using it an absolute breeze and a treat. Aesthetically and functionally speaking, they nailed the UI/UX of the platform.
First, let’s review the Kraken app:
The app is solid for buying, selling, converting, tracking, and managing your crypto and has over 1 million+ downloads. The Kraken app has a fantastic rating of 4.3 out of 5 on Google, and 4.7 out of 5 on the App Store, so yeah, it’s a great app. Here are some of the highlights:
- Easily buy and sell over 120 crypto assets
- Low fees for buy-sell orders
- Accurate price tracking means users know the price before they buy or sell
- 24/7 support
- Multiple payment options for crypto
- Viewable transaction history
- Graphic showing crypto allocation and balance
- Review the value of each investment and its percentage of your portfolio
- Asset overview features, price, volume, charts, and other details
- Summary of the project behind each crypto asset
And most importantly, it is secure. If your mobile is lost, Kraken support can revoke access remotely. In addition, there is password and biometric protection, and users can access a list of devices that have access to the account. We will review security later on in the Kraken Security section.
Kraken Pro is an advanced trading platform that is available on the Kraken platform as well as a separate mobile app. It is designed for traders who need access to advanced trading features and functionality, with the corresponding app suitable for trading on the go.
Kraken Pro features lower fees than the standard Kraken platform and provides an interface for advanced trading, charting, and order types not available on the standard platform.
However, the Kraken Pro app is as good as any of the top mobile trading apps and is very useful for monitoring open trades or making slight adjustments on the go.
Let’s review some of the highlights of Kraken Pro:
- On-the-go deposits, withdrawals, and trading
- Low fees
- Crypto staking
- High security
- Over 115 crypto assets are available to trade over 400 markets
- 24/7 customer support
- Low trading fee
- Advanced cryptocurrency trading tools with an easy-to-use interface
- Fast order execution and real-time price updates
- Multiple charting and order book display options
- Viewable trade history
- Margin trade up to 5x
- Advanced order types and conditional close parameters
Kraken Pro users can connect their regular Kraken account using the same username and password for both platforms, or the accounts can be linked using an API key.
Kraken Margin Trading
One of the biggest attractors for those looking for a solid US-based and regulated exchange is that Kraken allows for 1X to 5X leverage, which Coinbase had to cease offering.
Note that Kraken is unable to offer margin trading for residents of the United States and Japan. Intermediate and Pro-level accounts outside the United States and Japan are supported in most jurisdictions.
They offer margin trading for over 100 pairs, with the leverage depending on the pair
Kraken Futures Trading
Kraken offers futures trading on the platform, and unlike margin trading, futures trading can be done with up to 50X leverage on certain pairs.
Futures are different from traditional margin instruments in that they are based on the asset’s price at some future time. These future times are called “expiry times,” and they allow market participants to hedge market risk or take a future view on the asset’s price.
The following futures contracts are available:
- Kraken Futures trading is only eligible for users in certain jurisdictions. It is not available for those residing in the US, Japan, some European countries, or UK and AU clients who are classified as retail. A full list can be found on the Kraken Futures Eligibility Page.
- The Futures platform is well laid out and offers great functionality. Here traders can switch between various currency pairs and markets, and there are options to switch expiry times, adjust contract specifics, see the order form, view the order books, and see a market depth chart to provide traders with futures trading sentiment.
- The charting screen is powered by TradingView, allowing for a massively rich smorgasbord of features and tools—more than enough to suit any style of trader.
Kraken NFT Marketplace
Following suit with other major cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken will be launching an NFT marketplace soon.
The Kraken NFT marketplace will offer a zero-gas fee platform for NFTs custodied with Kraken. There will be no blockchain network fees for trading activity on the platform, though transfers off the platform will come with a network fee.
In addition to supporting various blockchains, offering a cash payment option, and providing a rarity tracker, the platform will also compensate NFT creators with revenues from each resale of an NFT. So far, the only networks that have been revealed as being supported are Ethereum and Solana. However, the team has mentioned that they plan to add support for more blockchains in the future.
Kraken Review: Security
Out of the top 5 biggest exchanges, Kraken is the only one that has never been hacked, and Kraken has been around for nearly as long as Bitcoin itself. To go that long without ever falling victim to a hack is seriously impressive.
Kraken invests heavily in security, safeguarding funds, NFTs, and privacy. They employ a world-class security team that takes a risk-based approach to ensuring client assets remain protected at the highest levels.
Kraken Security employs the following procedures and features:
Safe Coin and NFT Storage: 95% of all deposits are kept in offline, air-gapped, geographically distributed cold storage. Kraken holds full reserves so that users always have access to fund withdrawals.
Platform Security: Kraken servers reside in secure cages under 24/7 surveillance by armed guards and video monitors. Physical access is strictly controlled, and all code deployments are reviewed.
Information Security: All sensitive information is encrypted at both the system and data levels. In addition, access is strictly controlled and monitored.
Penetration testing: Kraken employs an expert team dedicated to testing its systems via different attack vectors to identify any vulnerabilities. Kraken also offers a bug bounty for anyone identifying potential issues with the platform’s security.
Platform Monitoring: A dedicated security team continuously monitors the platform for suspicious activity.
From a customer perspective, users can enjoy peace of mind with the following security features to protect their accounts:
- 2FA: Google Authenticator or Yubikey?
- Email confirmations for withdrawals with self-serve account locks
- Customizable API key permissions
- PGP-signed and encrypted email
- Configurable account timeout for another layer of protection
- Global settings: time lock
Kraken’s security is so top-notch and respected in the industry that they have taken their expertise to the next level and created Kraken Security Labs.
Kraken Security Labs is an elite team of security researchers that aim to protect and grow the cryptocurrency ecosystem by providing their services to other platforms, offering to test third-party products, working with other vendors to help resolve their security issues, and informing the public about ways they can best protect themselves.
Proof of Reserves
Kraken was one of the first exchanges in the industry to provide and review proof-of-reserves before any of the FTX shenanigans occurred.
Proof of Reserves (PoR) is an audit done by a third-party auditor that checks whether the exchange has the assets claimed by its clients. It involves an algorithmic function known as the Merkle Tree.
What to Look Out For
It is impossible to determine if the monies were transferred in order to pass the audit or if they were taken after the fact. The honesty of the trade is all that is available without real-time, minute-by-minute audits.
The integrity of the company performing the audit could be called into question. What we, the users, can only do is trust that the auditor is an honest one. This may be assisted by having it belong to other associations or organizations in its field.
What makes Kraken a good choice?
Kraken’s top-notch security, low trading fees, and solid range of available cryptos make it a good choice for investors who are just experimenting with crypto as well as more experienced traders.
New users shouldn’t dwell on Kraken’s beginner platform for too long. Kraken Instant Buy charges a 0.9% flat fee for stablecoins and a 1.5% flat fee for all other cryptos—these fees are not at all competitive.
Advanced traders who use the Kraken Pro trading platform are charged very reasonable fees and also benefit from access to a wide range of cryptocurrency trading markets. Even better, fees decline as trading volumes increase.
More experienced investors should also appreciate Kraken’s wide range of coins and their margin trading features. Note that in the U.S., margin trading is restricted to users with very large account balances.
What is Kraken best for?
- Crypto-to-crypto trading.
- Margin trading.
- Advanced traders.
Kraken’s pricing and features make it a good choice for beginner-to-expert cryptocurrency traders and investors looking for a new cryptocurrency exchange. Its low fees on Kraken Pro and futures markets are all a draw. However, Kraken Pro is more complicated to navigate.
Overall, Kraken is an excellent choice for cryptocurrency trading and investing. Make sure you understand all the costs and risks involved and take steps to secure your account with two-factor authentication. If you do, you should have a positive experience buying and selling cryptocurrency through Kraken.