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Kraken Review – 110+ Cryptocurrencies and Low Crypto Trading Fees


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Kraken Crypto Logo

Our rating

4.0/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upMargin and Futures Trading
  • thumbs-upLow Trading Fees
  • thumbs-up24/7 Customer Support

Cons

  • thumbs-downHigh Fees for Instant Buy
  • thumbs-downComplicated Trading Platform
  • thumbs-downMediocre Crypto Selection


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Additional Resources

Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange based in the U.S. that allows users to buy, sell, and trade crypto, as well as stake crypto to earn interest. Kraken also allows certain users to trade futures, as well as trade on margin with up to 5x leverage. Institutional investors can also access Kraken’s over-the-counter (OTC) services for larger transactions with high-touch service.

Kraken was founded by Jesse Powell in 2011 to help displaced customers from the massive Mt. Gox exchange hack. Kraken officially launched in 2013 and offered Bitcoin, Litecoin, and a few other cryptocurrencies for trading. It has expanded to offer over 100 crypto on the platform, as well as leveraged trading. Kraken is available in over 200 countries around the globe, including 48 U.S. states (not available in Washington state and New York).


Key Features of Kraken

Kraken is foremost a trading platform for active traders, but also caters to beginners and institutional investors. With a focus on security, as well as 24/7 live chat support, Kraken is one of the more popular U.S.-based exchanges. Here are some of the features that make Kraken stand out as a cryptocurrency exchange:

Kraken Trading Platform

Kraken offers both a simple and advanced order form, as well as an advanced trading interface, designed for users with varying levels of crypto expertise. The order forms allow users to quickly place trades, including market and limit orders on the simple interface, and the addition of stop loss, take profit, and settle position orders on the advanced interface.

The trading platform is designed for advanced crypto traders, with live order books, candlestick charting with built-in indicators, and a customizable interface. Advanced traders can build customer orders, track trading volume and order activity, as well as trade with up to 5x leverage (for qualifying users). 

Overall, Kraken offers a wide range of order and trading capabilities for crypto investors of all levels.

Margin and Futures Trading

Kraken is one of the few U.S.-based crypto exchanges that offer access to margin and futures trading. Margin trading is available with up to 5x leverage, although U.S. residents will need to meet certain criteria to be eligible, such as having $10 million in investable assets. Users can borrow margin from Kraken to place larger trades, and fees are charged on a rollover basis (every 4 hours for open positions).

Kraken also offers trading crypto futures with up to 50x leverage on a few select cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, futures trading is not available to U.S. residents.

24/7 Customer Support

Kraken offers 24/7 live chat support to users, which is rare for a cryptocurrency exchange. Users can get help with account issues or have other questions answered via chat, or submit a ticket. Most crypto exchanges offer email support via a contact form, and very fw offer chat support. Kraken stands out with this level of support, and gives customers peace of mind when dealing with issues.

In addition, Kraken offers phone support from 6am to 6pm Eastern in the U.S.

Institutional Services

Kraken offers a wide range of customizable services for institutional clients, aimed at corporations, brokers, and family offices. This includes access to the Kraken OTC trading desk, spot trading with high margin limits, and fiat funding available in seven global currencies. 

Kraken also offers access to custom tools through REST and WebSocket APIs for custom trading applications and bespoke solutions. Kraken supports institutions with 24/7 support staff available by email, live chat, phone, or encrypted private messaging. 

Kraken Staking

Kraken allows users to earn rewards by staking eligible cryptocurrencies on its platform. Kraken’s selection is quite large compared to other crypto exchanges, offering staking rewards on 15 crypto assets. Staking is when a user locks up their cryptocurrency on the platform, helping secure the blockchain network, and paying out rewards in the token that was staked. Payouts are sent twice per week into your Kraken account.


Advantages of Kraken for Crypto Trading

Kraken is a popular crypto exchange that offers world-class trading tools, access to leverage, and industry-leading customer support. Kraken is ideal for active traders who want low trading fees and a customizable trading platform. Here are a few advantages to using Kraken:

  • Access to Leverage. Most U.S.-based exchanges do not offer access to margin trading, especially to U.S. residents where regulatory hurdles are high. Although Kraken has strict eligibility requirements for margin trading, users can access up to 5x leverage on regular trades. Futures trading offers up to 50x leverage, but is not available to U.S. residents.
  • Customer Support. Crypto exchanges are notorious for having poor customer service, with slow response times and users losing access to their accounts or funds for weeks at a time. Kraken offers 24/7 live chat support to all customers, helping quickly resolve issues and answer questions in real-time. This is a massive advantage for users who are frustrated with opening tickets online and waiting days for a response from an exchange. 
  • Low Trading Fees. Kraken offers competitive fees on its trading platform, with fees as low as 0.00% for high-volume traders. Kraken fees range from 0.00% to 0.26%, which is in line with most large crypto exchanges. Although Kraken’s Instant Buy option charges high fees, active traders can save some serious money using the standard and Pro trading platforms.

Disadvantages of Kraken for Crypto Trading

Although Kraken offers a decent trading experience, it may not be the best fit for everyone. The high fees for basic transactions, limited crypto selection, and complicated trading interface may turn beginners away. Here are a few reasons not to use Kraken:

  • High Fees on Instant Buy. While Kraken offers low fees to customers who deposit funds and use the “Trade” feature to buy or sell crypto, beginners who use the Instant Buy” feature will be hit with very high fees. Kraken charges 0.9% for stablecoin purchases and 1.5% for all other crypto purchases. Although this may seem low, consider that Binance only charges 0.1% for all transactions, and even the Kraken trading platform only charges up to 0.26% for trades. These high fees can get expensive on larger purchases.
  • Limited Selection of Cryptocurrencies. Although 100+ available cryptocurrencies may seem like a lot, there are over 10,000 types of cryptocurrency in circulation. Most exchanges focus on high-quality projects with a high market capitalization, and most of the larger exchanges offer at least 150 crypto, with some offering more than 500 types to choose from. If you want the largest selection of crypto, you will not find this on Kraken.
  • Complicated Trading Platform: Although the “Instant Buy” option gives users a simple way to buy and sell crypto, the fees are high. To save on fees, users may want to use the standard trading platform, but beginners could feel overwhelmed by all the options. 

How Kraken Stacks Up

Kraken is a solid option for advanced traders that want access to more trading tools, as well as access to leveraged trading. It also offers low fees for traders, and great security for user accounts. That being said, instant buy fees are sky-high, and the crypto selection is somewhat limited compared to other exchanges.

Coinbase is one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, offering a fantastic user experience, and access to a wide range of popular cryptocurrencies. Coinbase also offers unique educational content, and an intuitive mobile app for trading on the go. Coinbase does come with higher fees than most exchanges, and does not offer a lot of trading tools for advanced users. 

Here’s how Kraken and Coinbase compare:

KrakenCoinbase
FeesInstant Buy: 0.9% to 1.49%Trading fees: 0.00% to 0.26%Standard trading: 1.49% to 3.99%Advanced trading: 0.00% to 0.50%
Number of Cryptocurrencies110+160+
Trading FeaturesSimple and advanced charting, margin trading, futures trading, mobile trading, recurring purchasesSimple and advanced charting, simple order form, mobile trading, recurring purchases
Security FeaturesCold storage, two-factor authentication, 24/7 server surveillance, whitelisting, bug bounty programCold storage, two-factor authentication, FDIC insurance, crime insurance, AES-256 encryption

Final Word

Kraken is a high-quality crypto exchange that offers a secure way to buy Bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies. With simple and advanced order forms, advanced trading tools, and access to margin and futures trading, Kraken is ideal for active traders. 

Kraken also caters to institutional traders with a 24/7 OTC trading desk, high-touch support teams, and high margin limits for qualified traders. Kraken also lets institutions customize their trading experience with access to APIs to connect third-party applications.

Beginners may feel overwhelmed using Kraken to trade crypto, and will end up paying higher fees if they use the Instant Buy feature instead of the trading platform. Those who are new to crypto may benefit from finding a simpler cryptocurrency exchange to fit their needs.

Overall, Kraken is a good choice for those that want access to a low-fee trading platform with leveraged trading capabilities.

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Kraken Crypto Logo

Our rating

4.0/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upMargin and Futures Trading
  • thumbs-upLow Trading Fees
  • thumbs-up24/7 Customer Support

Cons

  • thumbs-downHigh Fees for Instant Buy
  • thumbs-downComplicated Trading Platform
  • thumbs-downMediocre Crypto Selection
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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