Launched just two years after Bitcoin (BTC), Kraken has emerged as one of the most seasoned players in the crypto exchange arena. While age doesn’t always equate to superiority, Kraken offers a user-friendly platform with diverse features. This Kraken review delves into its services, fee schedules, security measures, etc.
Kraken Brief Overview
Established in 2011 by Jesse Powell, Kraken is a platform catering to various digital assets’ buying, selling, trading, and staking. Even for those new to cryptocurrencies, this platform offers a user-friendly experience, simplifying processes such as depositing, trading and withdrawing digital currencies.
Operating in regions including the United States (except New York due to BitLicense requirements), Canada, the European Union, Japan, and an additional 190 countries, Kraken boasts complete registration and compliance with pertinent financial authorities, assuring users of added security and adherence to regulations.
High liquidity and a user-friendly interface
Advanced features, including margin trading
A wide range of customer service options
Abundant educational resources
Limited acceptance of fiat currencies
Higher fees outside of Kraken Pro
Lack of insurance coverage for assets
Kraken Supported Assets
Kraken boasts support for over 230 cryptocurrencies, of which some major coins are Tether (USDT), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Dash (DASH), Litecoin (LTC), Stellar/Lumens (XLM), Ripple (XRP) and Dogecoin (XDG). However, it’s worth noting the absence of some prominent assets. Notably, BNB, Lido Staked Ether, and Toncoin, which rank among the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, are not included in Kraken’s offerings.
Kraken currently supports eight fiat currencies, including widely recognised options like the U.S. dollar, the British pound, and the euro. However, this limited fiat currency support can challenge new users in highly populated countries like India, where they may need to convert their local currency to crypto.
Kraken Main Features
The exchange provides a range of advanced features, including a suite of trading options such as spot, futures, and margin trading, catering to a broad spectrum of trading strategies.
Kraken’s platform boasts an exceptionally user-friendly interface. It aligns perfectly with the preferences of those seeking simplicity, making it an ideal choice for beginners in cryptocurrencies.
The platform provides user-friendly options for buying, selling, and converting cryptocurrencies, ensuring a hassle-free experience. The main screen offers a comprehensive view of your available balances, open positions, and a detailed ledger history encompassing your expenditures, purchases, and sales.
The intuitive staking interface offers access to all 18 supported assets with options for staking and unstaking. Users can choose between limit and market order types when buying or selling. The advanced screen caters to trading activities involving cryptocurrency pairs and fiat-to-crypto pairs.
Much like Coinbase and Crypto.com, which offer two separate apps – one for everyday cryptocurrency transactions, buying, selling, and holding, and another for advanced trading – Kraken follows a similar approach with its Kraken and Kraken Pro apps.
The standard Kraken App provides a simplified interface for buying and selling cryptocurrencies. In contrast, the Kraken Pro app caters to advanced traders, offering a comprehensive trading dashboard with features like stop-loss orders, take-profit orders, and stop-loss limit orders. Besides, it presents substantially lower fees for high-volume traders.
Kraken’s mobile apps are compatible with both Android and Apple devices. Impressively, they boast a 4.3-star rating from over 21,000 reviews on the Google Play Store and a rating of 4.7 stars on the Apple App Store. Many reviewers commend the mobile applications for user-friendliness and ease of use.
Kraken, at its essence, offers various trading methods to cater to your preferences, including:
- Spot Trading: This trading method involves the immediate purchase, sale, and trading of assets. Kraken users can execute market orders or create limit orders, which are fulfilled at predetermined price points.
- Margin Trading: Traders can open substantially larger positions, amplifying potential gains and losses. Kraken allows traders to leverage their trades by up to 50 times their margin.
- Futures Trading: An advanced feature traditionally associated with conventional stock exchanges, is now making inroads into crypto trading platforms, including Kraken. Futures entail agreements or contracts between buyers and sellers to settle a trade for a fixed price at a predetermined future date.
In line with other major cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken will soon introduce an NFT marketplace. The Kraken NFT marketplace will provide a fee-free platform for NFTs held in custody by Kraken. There will be no blockchain network fees for trading activities on the platform, although transferring NFTs off the platform will incur a network fee.
The platform will also include a rarity tracker, a cash payment option, and support for multiple blockchains, and NFT creators will receive a share of the profits from each resale of an NFT. While Ethereum and Solana are the only two announced supported networks, the team has mentioned the possibility of adding support for additional blockchains.
Kraken stands out as one of the few exchanges that support DOT and KSM parachain auctions. This feature is a significant attraction for fans of the Polkadot ecosystem. Polkadot is an exciting project with immense potential, but its complexity can confuse many crypto users looking to participate in DOT and KSM auctions.
To join in parachain auctions on Kraken, users must verify their accounts to at least an intermediate level. Once verified, users can navigate to the “Earn” section and deposit their DOT or KSM into the auction of the project they wish to support. The DOT or KSM bonded to the auction will be locked for the auction and returned to the user after the auction period ends, along with any rewards if the project wins the auction and secures a parachain slot.
Kraken Bank is an innovative product set to launch in phases, beginning later in 2021. Kraken obtained a banking charter from the State of Wyoming in September 2020, allowing it to establish a “Special Purpose Depository Institute (SPDI)” that can only hold customer funds in a 1:1 reserve ratio. Unlike traditional banks, this licence does not permit Kraken Bank to offer loans based on customer deposits.
In the blog post announcing the bank charter approval, Kraken disclosed its initial services, which include digital asset custody, demand/deposit accounts (DDAs), and wire transfer and funding services. Kraken Bank aims to offer its services to all U.S. residents upon launch, except for residents of New York.
Recognizing blockchain and cryptocurrency as highly technical subjects, Kraken provides an educational resources section for its users and the community. This section includes four types of resources:
- Cryptocurrency guides: Text-based resources explaining various blockchain-related topics.
- Podcasts: Audio-based content discussing blockchain topics on platforms like iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
- Webinars: Live video recordings featuring industry experts and the Kraken team, designed to inform and educate on relevant events and topics within the Kraken community.
- Videos: These can be webinar recordings or general video content shared on YouTube for the blockchain community to access and learn from.
Kraken Fees Schedule
Kraken’s Instant Buy option offers various fee structures, making it an attractive choice for beginners who may not be familiar with maker/taker models.
Regarding fees, Kraken users can expect the following:
- Instant Buy Feature: When using digital wallets or cards, there is a fee of 3.75% + $0.25. For online banking/ACH purchases, the fee is 0.5%. Kraken’s purchasing partners impose these fees.
- Stablecoin Purchases: An additional 1.5% fee per transaction applies to stablecoin purchases, while purchases with USD using the Instant Buy option incur a 0.9% fee.
- Crypto Deposits & Withdrawals: Most crypto assets can be deposited for free. The withdrawal fees vary depending on the specific cryptocurrency.
Users opting for Kraken Pro can enjoy lower fees, a 0.16% maker fee, and a 0.26% taker fee for trades of $50,000 or less based on activity within the last 30 days. The table below shows the fee structure for Kraken Pro:
30-Day Volume (USD)
Less than $50,000
$50,001 to $100,000
$100,001 to $250,000
$250,001 to $500,000
$500,001 to $1,000,000
$1,000,001 to $2,500,000
$5,000,001 to $10,000,000
More than $10,000,000
Kraken takes its commitment to security seriously and it has not experienced any major hacking incidents. However, there have been user complaints online about individual accounts being hacked while using Kraken.
Kraken offers secure coin storage, with 95% of deposits held offline in cold storage units distributed worldwide, and prioritises platform security. Its servers are kept in secure cages under 24/7 surveillance by armed guards and video monitoring.
Besides physical security measures, Kraken encrypts all sensitive contact information at the system and data levels and regularly conducts vulnerability testing on its systems. Recently, Kraken received the CSO50 Award for its security initiatives.
Kraken provides multilingual customer service 24/7, and its support is highly accessible. Phone support is available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, and chat support is available around the clock. However, alongside positive feedback, there are also user reviews where people express frustration with Kraken’s customer service representatives, who may be readily available but unable to resolve their issues.
On the Kraken support site, they claim to have a remarkable 90% client satisfaction rating score. However, Trustpilot displays a disappointing 2.2 out of 10 score based on 1,700 reviews. Many negative reviews simply label Kraken as a scam, which is not the case given its many years in operation and heavy regulation.
Is Kraken suitable for beginners?
While Kraken may not be the ideal choice for absolute beginners, the platform is well-suited for individuals looking to start their trading journey. Kraken offers exceptional customer support and assists those with trading activities on the platform.
Which countries does Kraken serve?
Kraken is available for use in over 190 countries worldwide. For a comprehensive list of supported regions, please visit Kraken’s Supported Countries page. As a global trading platform, Kraken supports multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Tagalog, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Vietnamese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Mandarin, and Japanese.
Is Kraken safe and trustworthy?
Yes, Kraken is a reliable cryptocurrency exchange that prioritises the security of its users’ funds and personal information. Their security measures include storing 95% of digital assets in cold storage and maintaining servers in secure cages with 24/7 video surveillance and armed guards. FinCEN regulates Kraken and maintains financial stability through full reserves, strong banking relationships, and adherence to the highest legal compliance standards.
Can Kraken be vulnerable to hacking?
While no crypto exchange is entirely immune to security risks, Kraken has never experienced a breach since its founding in 2011, even when other major exchanges like Binance and KuCoin have. This track record gives Kraken users confidence in its security.
Does Kraken support crypto staking?
Yes, Kraken allows its users to easily engage in staking by holding their assets with the exchange. Kraken supports seven networks that incorporate staking into their consensus mechanisms, including Ethereum 2.0, Polkadot (DOT), Cosmos (ATOM), KAVA, FLOW, Tezos (XTZ), and Kusama (KSM). Staking rewards vary depending on the staked asset, as different blockchain networks offer varying rewards to their validators.
Kraken is an appealing option for cryptocurrency traders and investors, whether newcomers or seasoned experts seeking a fresh exchange. Its competitive pricing and diverse features are highly attractive, particularly in the Kraken Pro and futures markets. Yet, due to its complexity, Kraken Pro may require a bit more effort to navigate.
In summary, Kraken is a strong choice for those involved in cryptocurrency trading and investment. To ensure a positive experience, you must know all associated costs and risks and take proactive measures to secure your account with two-factor authentication. By doing so, you can expect a satisfying experience when buying and selling cryptocurrencies through Kraken.