Updated · Oct 13, 2022
Best for: Trading bitcoin and altcoins with low fees.
Kraken is a US-based company, located in San Francisco, California. It was founded by Jesse Powell in 2011 with the goal of creating a secure online exchange platform with a focus on crypto to fiat trading. The Kraken trading platform was launched two years later.
It operates in 48 US states and 176 countries around the world. Kraken is a fully regulated exchange, meaning every user needs to pass KYC (Know Your Customer) checks in order to be able to trade.
The company is well-known for helping to handle customer compensation claims. It was chosen by Tokyo District Court, after the infamous collapse of a former exchange Mt. Gox in 2014. That helped Kraken further establish itself as one of the leading digital currency exchange platforms.
Aside from the 40 available cryptocurrencies, there are even more supported pairs — 138. Furthermore, the Kraken two factor authentication secures user information and sensitive data, along with independent verified audits, and industry-leading security measures.
How Does Kraken Work?
As a cryptocurrency exchange, Kraken works by matching orders from clients wanting to buy cryptocurrencies with clients wanting to sell cryptocurrencies. Or vice versa. However, that does not mean that it is a wallet, broker, bank, investment fund, shop, or anything similar.
More advanced users can take advantage of spot and margin Kraken trading, as well. No worries, the platform is perfectly suitable for beginner traders with little to no experience.
However, there are more amenities for high-volume traders such as OTC (Over The Counter) trading with one-on-one services. High-volume trading includes all trades higher than $100,000. Additionally, there is a dark pool — order book not visible to the rest of the market for large buy or sell orders.
What else does Kraken have in store?
It has been an active member of the crypto exchange industry for around seven years. In that time, it has gathered a user base of over 4 million and it is continuously growing. Kraken reviews praise some of the features, so we decided to test them ourselves.
Kraken Brokerage Services
Like many other brokerage services, its service enables users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies online. Thanks to this feature, thousands of newly registered users are able to trade cryptocurrencies unruffled and with ease.
What sets apart the platform from its competitors is the ability to trade fiat currencies as well. Depositing or withdrawing fiat currencies is available from your account in eight different currencies — USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUD, and CNY.
OTC (Over The Counter) trading is performed off the open Kraken exchange. This service is available to high-net individuals and institutions prepared to trade more than $100,000. Therefore, OTC is a more personalized service with its own expert consultation. Clients will receive daily trade and market recaps and expert reports on the current cryptocurrency market.
The global coverage is available 24/7 in the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. OTC users will also be able to use eight fiat currencies and a full range of digital assets.
Kraken Account Management
Is Kraken a good exchange platform for advanced traders?
The Account Management program offers upgraded support for high-volume traders. Users can receive hyper-personalized support with near real-time responses.
Clients that become regulars will get assigned their own personal representative, which will handle all inquiries and requests head-on without delays.
Unfortunately, the platform does not have a wallet. It praises itself for being a strictly crypto exchange platform and not a wallet service. However, clients have the opportunity of depositing funds to their corporate wallets for safekeeping. The same funds are being exchanged or generally active.
By depositing on the platform, you are depositing into cold storages and hot wallets. Note that withdrawals are handled by hot wallets, meaning the address will be different from the depositing one.
Kraken Supported Currencies
As previously mentioned, Kraken supports over 40 different cryptocurrencies. They include:
|Algorand (ALGO)||Ethereum (ETH)||Qtum (QTUM)|
|Augur (REP)||Ethereum Classic (ETC)||Ripple (XRP)|
|Basic Attention Token (BAT)||Gnosis (GNO)||Siacoin (SC)|
|Balancer (BAL)||ICON (ICX)||Stellar Lumens (XLM)|
|Bitcoin (BTC)||Kava (KAVA)||Storj (STORJ)|
|Bitcoin Cash (BCH)||Kusama (KSM)||Synthetix (SNX)|
|Cardano (ADA)||Kyber Network (KNC)||Tether (USDT)|
|Chainlink (LINK)||Lisk (LSK)||Tezos (XTZ)|
|Compound (COMP)||Litecoin (LTC)||Tron (TRX)|
|Cosmos (ATOM)||Monero (XMR)||USD Coin (USDC)|
|Curve (CRV)||Nano (NANO)||Melon (MLN)|
|Dai (DAI)||OMG Network (OMG)||Waves (WAVES)|
|Dash (DASH)||Orchid (OXT)||Zcash (ZEC)|
|Dogecoin (DOGE)||PAX Gold (PAXG)|
|EOS (EOS)||Polkadot (DOT)|
While researching Kraken.com for the review, we’ve learned that it has some of the lowest fees out there. They depend on your last 30 days’ trading volume, meaning that fees are based on the maker-taker basis.
More specifically, makers pay less than takers. The former add limit orders to the exchange, while the latter fulfill existing orders. Take a look at the rates:
- Spot trading fees — 0.26% to 0%
- Stablecoin trading fees — 0.2% to 0%
- Dark pool fees — 0.36% to 0.2%
Take a look at the full Kraken exchange fees below.
|30-Day Volume (USD)||Maker||Taker|
|$0 - $50,000||0.16%||0.26%|
|$50,001 - $100,000||0.14%||0.24%|
|$100,001 - $250,000||0.12%||0.22%|
|$250,001 - $500,000||0.10%||0.20%|
|$500,001 - $1,000,000||0.08%||0.18%|
|$1,000,001 - $2,500,000||0.06%||0.16%|
|$2,500,001 - $5,000,000||0.04%||0.14%|
|$5,000,001 - $10,000,000||0.02%||0.12%|
Kraken withdrawal fees are a bit different. They depend mostly on your country of origin. However, the low rates still apply for cryptocurrency withdrawals. The platform charges 0.0005 BTC to take out Bitcoin, 0.005 ETH for Ether, 0.05 EOS for EOS, 0.001 LTC for Litecoin, etc. Each cryptocurrency has a different withdrawal charge attached to it. For the full list, it’s best to visit Kraken’s website.
Withdrawal fees for fiat currencies are much pricier. These rates are based on your preferred currency, country of origin, and service provider. The charges can range from $0 to $40, from €0.09 to €35, from £1.95 to £35, and so on. You can read the full list by visiting Kraken’s website.
Furthermore, the platform does not charge for:
- Transferring funds to and from the Futures wallet
- Storing funds
- Account inactivity
- Account maintenance
When it comes to cryptocurrency limits, they are the same for all clients. Take a look at them below.
|Limit span||Deposit or Withdrawal||Starter||Intermediate||Pro|
On the other hand, when talking about fiat currency limits, these apply to all funding methods except for Synapse. Here are Kraken withdrawal and deposit limits:
|Limit span||Deposit or Withdrawal||Starter||Intermediate||Pro|
The platform accepts users from all over the world, with registered traders from over 170 countries.
When reading for this Kraken review, we found just a few restricted countries:
Supported Payment Methods
Kraken supports eight fiat currencies and those include:
|Euros (EUR)||Japanese yen (JPY)|
|US Dollars (USD)||British pound (GBP)|
|Canadian Dollars (CAD)||Swiss franc (CHF)|
|Australian Dollars (AUD)||Chinese renminbi (CNY)|
Deposits and withdrawals can be made through numerous service providers. You can use Kraken to buy Bitcoin through:
|FewWire / FewWire (Etana Custody)||1 - 5 business days|
|SWIFT||2 - 5 business days|
|Silvergate Exchange Network||near-instant|
|SEPA / SEPA (Etana Custody / Fidor / Bank Frick)||0 - 5 days|
|Canadian domestic wire transfer||1 - 3 days|
|In-person cash/debit via Canada post||30 - 60 minutes|
|InterFIn||0 - 10 min|
|FPS/BACS (Clear Junction)||0 - 3 days|
|SIC||near instant on working days during business hours|
As you can see, the Kraken deposit and withdrawal times differ from service to service.
Unfortunately, this platform does not accept payments made through third-party payments processors (TPPPs) for compliance reasons. It is challenging to determine if the payment has been made by a Kraken account holder. The TPPPs not accepted include:
- The Currency Cloud
You might be asking yourself “Is Kraken safe?”
It is. The platform elevates security with its first-class safety protocols.
The site has never been hacked and it is highly unlikely users will fall victim to frauds or scams. However, make sure you always open the authentic Kraken website as frauds often happen by neglecting to double-check the URL.
Kraken security measures include:
- SSL encryption
- Customizable API key
- PGP encrypted email
- Global settings time lock
- Configurable account timeout
- No Phone/SMS account recovery
Users receive email confirmations for withdrawals with a self-serve account lock. They are additionally protected with real-time non-stop monitoring for suspicious activity.
Similarly, all deposits are immediately transferred to offline ‘cold’ wallets (physically isolated from any online system). A vast bulk of coins on Kraken are also stored there. Only the coins required to maintain Kraken’s liquidity are kept in online ‘hot’ wallets. A small number of coins are stored in semi-cold wallets kept on defended machines with locked drives. All data is encrypted.
The platform excels when it comes to customer support. Although there have been reports of unresponsive and unhelpful customer support from other Kraken reviews, we can’t agree.
If you need any help navigating the website or your account, it’s best to visit its knowledge base. It is extensive and detailed. Users will find sections on everything — from getting you started to fiat and cryptocurrency funding to API procedures, and much more.
The platform offers 24/7 support through a live chat. In our case, we did not have to wait very long for a support agent to respond — about 5 minutes. You can contact the support via email as well.
However you choose to get in touch with the support staff, you can expect a true level of professionalism and knowledgeable agents. The help center is available globally.
Kraken vs Coinbase
This Kraken review led us to compare it with another digital currency exchange platform — Coinbase. What we did notice is that Kraken supports a wider range of cryptocurrencies, its customer support is more efficient, and its knowledge base is more detailed.
Other than that, both platforms offer quite similar features — brokerage services, account management, and more.
The only advantage of Coinbase is its own wallet.
Verdict - Is Kraken Worth It?
Kraken is a completely legitimate option with extremely low fees. You’re guaranteed security, fiat currency trading, and great customer support.
The only real downside is the lack of a wallet. We’d like to see it included sometime in the future.
All in all, Kraken is a top-tier exchange platform.
Although we can wholeheartedly recommend Kraken, there are other crypto exchanges that can work better for you:
Can you use Kraken in the US?
Yes, you can but not in all. The platform is available in 48 states — all but Washington state (WA) and New York (NY).
Is Kraken legal?
Yes, it is. The platform is an entirely legitimate and secure exchange that is legal in more than 170 countries worldwide.
You will not experience any legal consequences if you use the solution.
Does Kraken require SSN?
The platform does not require your Social Security Number (SSN) for the starter account. However, if you want to move on to intermediate or pro accounts, you will need to verify your SSN if you are from the United States.
Does Kraken report to the IRS?
Kraken does not provide tax forms or statements. If you are from the United States, it’s best to consult with a local tax lawyer or government official to check whether or not you have to report to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). If needed, you can request a record of your balance or trade history by exporting your data to a CSV-file.
Is Kraken better than Coinbase?
According to our Kraken review, if you don’t mind the lack of a wallet, it surpasses Coinbase by a smidge. It offers higher security and a longer list of available cryptocurrencies and its customer support system is better organized and more helpful.
Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.
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