What is Kraken Exchange?
Many crypto veterans might have had a Kraken account at some point. This is because Kraken happens to be one of the oldest crypto exchanges around. The US-based exchange is known for its low fees, advanced trading tools, and a decent selection of cryptocurrencies.
As it is one of the earliest exchanges with reputable history, it has millions of users. In 2021, according to a Bloomberg report, Kraken had over 6 million users. As of today, the exchange serves customers in over 200 countries and regions.
Apart from trading, Kraken offers several useful products like futures, margin trading, OTC, staking, and much more. Users can access all these features on Kraken’s website or the corresponding app.
For beginners, Kraken’s ‘Learn’ tab is loaded with articles and guides on how to get started with crypto trading. For more insights, users can watch Kraken Webinars where industry leaders share their expertise.
- Kraken is one of the oldest crypto exchanges with the second-highest liquidity
- The exchange is available in 200+ countries and regions across the globe
- Traders get access to advanced trading tools along with margin trading, futures, and more.
Fun Fact: At the time of Kraken’s founding in 2011, Bitcoin was only two years old.
Kraken Company Overview
Kraken exchange was founded in 2011, but it was opened to users in 2013. The company has headquarters in San Francisco, California, and operates globally. Jesse Powell, the founder and current CEO of Kraken, is considered one of the crypto veterans.
Update: In April 2022, Kraken shut down its HQ in San Francisco and has no plans as of yet to establish a formal HQ. The exchange is one of the pioneers of the “remote-first” workplace.
Over the years, Kraken has managed to gain quite some recognition. For instance, in 2014, the exchange had the highest volume for Bitcoin trading in Euro. The same year, Cointelegraph ranked Kraken the best performing crypto exchange.
The exchange is present almost all over the world. At the time of writing, Kraken offers its services in more than 200 countries and regions. However, the exchange doesn’t operate in Congo, Afghanistan, Libya, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Tajikistan, and Cuba. In the US, Kraken is available in all the states except New York and Washington.
So far, Kraken has managed to steer clear of any major trouble. The exchange has never been hacked and takes pride in its immaculate security. However, in September 2021, Kraken paid a fine of $1.25 million to Commodity Futures Trading Commission for offering margin trading services without registration.
In 2021, it was announced that Kraken might go public in 2022. At the time of writing, the exchange has taken no further steps in that direction. Further, Kraken’s NFT marketplace is also in the making and might be released soon.
Fun Fact: Mt Gox picked Kraken to help the investigation of the stolen Bitcoins. Affected Mt Gox users could file refund claims through Kraken.
How does Kraken Work?
Just like Binance and Coinbase, Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange where registered users can buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrencies. Customers can buy Bitcoin, altcoins, ERC-20 tokens, stablecoins, and other digital assets from the platform.
After signing up on Kraken, users can:
- Buy and sell cryptocurrencies
- Use advanced trading tools
- Get access to margin trading, OTC, and futures
- Earn interest on crypto balances with staking
How to use Kraken Exchange?
Using Kraken is easy, all you have to do is:
- Sign up on the exchange
- Complete KYC
- Deposit funds into your account
- Start buying, selling, and trading crypto
Customers can opt for tiered KYC, and the tiers look something like this:
- Starter - Requires name, date of birth, contact number, email, address, and 2FA login
- Intermediate - Requires Valid ID and proof of residence along with the Starter KYC
- Pro - Requires you to complete a KYC questionnaire that might ask about your source of income and occupation along with Starter and Intermediate KYC.
Kraken Exchange Review: Pros and Cons
Even though Kraken has high liquidity, strong security, and a decent selection of coins, it could use some improvements in the trade view. Here are the positives and negatives of Kraken compared for your reference.
Here’s why you should be signing up on Kraken:
- Long history and clean record
As Kraken is one of the oldest exchanges on the internet, it has a wide customer base. Users who started crypto trading in the early days are likely to have had a Kraken account. The exchange has consistently upgraded itself and added new features. Our analysis ranks Kraken in the fifth spot in terms of performance.
- Strong security
So far, Kraken has never been hacked and has faced no security breaches. It proudly states that your assets are safeguarded with “industry-leading security”.
- Good customer service
Unlike several other crypto exchanges, Kraken has very prompt customer support. To begin with, Kraken extends phone support so customers can talk directly to the agents. The live chat is immediately joined by the support agents and they are helpful. The live chat and phone help run 24/7 and provide efficient assistance. Users also have the option to send email tickets.
Here’s why you might have second thoughts:
- Trade view is complicated
Compared to Binance, Kraken’s trade view feels a little complicated. The main panel gets half-hidden on smaller screens (for instance, a laptop). The order book, order form, and market depth chart are collapsible. But when they are all open, the screen feels cluttered.
Kraken Supported Cryptocurrencies
As discussed earlier, Kraken supports around 170 coins, which includes all the major altcoins, stablecoins, and tokens. Here’s a partial rundown of all the coins available on Kraken:
The exchange frequently lists new tokens and de-lists poor-performing tokens. So it’s always better to scan the list of available cryptocurrencies before signing up.
As discussed earlier, Kraken has low fees. Compared to Coinbase, Kraken’s fees are certainly lower. For active traders, it is advisable to use Kraken Pro as it has lower fees than the primary platform.
Here’s what the trading fees look like on Kraken:
- Instant Buy
- Kraken Pro
- Stablecoin, Pegged Tokens, and FX Pairs
For margin trading, futures, and NFTs, the fees are mentioned in separate schedules. You can view the fee structures on Kraken’s official website here.
Kraken Deposit Methods
At the time of writing, Kraken accepts six fiat currencies which include USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, GBP, JPY, and CHF.
Users can deposit funds into their Kraken account via the following methods:
- Wire transfer
- Credit/Debit Cards
- Etana Custody
- Silvergate Exchange Network
Kraken Trading Services Offered
Kraken exchange offers various order types for spot trading. Alongside that, users can also access margin trading, OTC, and futures. Both beginners and pros will find trading solutions on Kraken.
Kraken vs Kraken Pro: What’s the Difference?
The basic Kraken account is more suitable for casual traders. Meanwhile, Kraken Pro is for active traders who want advanced trading tools.
Here are the main differences between Kraken and Kraken Pro highlighted:
- 0.9% fee for stablecoins, 1.5% fee for cryptocurrency and FX pairs
- Beginner-friendly, intuitive interface
- Easily sort cryptocurrencies by winners and losers
- Buy crypto instantly
- Staking rewards of up to 23%
- OTC trading and account management services
- Highest Maker/Taker = 0.16%/026%
- Advanced charts and trading tools
- Access to various order types like market, limit, stop-loss, and take-profit
- Access to margin trading
- Several options for order book layout
- Staking available
- OTC trading and account management services
Kraken Trade View
The trade view of Kraken is not-easy on the eyes. Interestingly, the trade view at Kraken has always been a bit of a problem. After several complaints of crashing and freezing, the exchange decided to give the platform a much-needed overhaul.
In 2018, Kraken unveiled a new interface for trading. The whole UI received a makeover and was certainly an improvement over its predecessor.
- Simple Trade
As you can see, this is the simple “buy and sell” feature on Kraken. Beginners and casual traders can buy and sell digital assets with this order form.
- Advanced trade view
The advanced trade view comes with advanced charts, tools, and order types.
Towards the left-half of the screen is the main panel that displays selected currencies. In the center, you have the market depth chart, and to its right, there’s the order book. After logging in, the order form appears on the right. All the panels are collapsible and can be customized.
Traders can place the following orders in the form:
Compared to its competitors, Kraken has a competitive staking program. Users can earn up to 23% annually on their cash and crypto holdings. You can simply start staking in a few clicks and the interest rewards get reflected in your account twice per week.
At the time of writing, Kraken offers on-chain and off-chain staking. Here’s a quick summary of the staking available on Kraken:
A quick summary of what on-chain and off-chain staking mean:
- On-chain staking - enables users to stake their assets with proof-of-stake blockchain protocols
- Off-chain staking - enables users to stake their assets with Kraken’s internal programs. Please note that off-chain staking is available in select countries. You can check your eligibility on this page.
Other Products Offered by Kraken
The exchange offers many services that are helpful while dealing with crypto. Here’s a quick summary of some of those helpful products:
- Kraken Mobile apps: You can download Kraken, Kraken Pro, and Cryptowatch on mobile for trading and advanced tools
- Cryptowatch: Gives users live prices and analysis on cryptocurrency
- Kraken Bank: The exchange is all set to have the first-ever crypto bank based in Wyoming
- NFT Marketplace: Kraken will soon have an NFT marketplace for buying and selling Non-Fungible Tokens
The exchange offers many more useful products. For the full list of products and features offered by Kraken, have a look at their official website.
Fun Fact: Jesse Powell, in a recent gm podcast, said that crypto exchanges will soon start offering a “super wallet” that would enable users to buy and trade anything from stocks to NFTs.
Kraken Security: Is Kraken Exchange Safe?
One of Kraken’s biggest pros is that it has never been hacked to date. The exchange had taken security seriously since day one. On its official website, Kraken states that it has assembled a “world-class” security team that takes a risk-based approach to security.
The exchange stores 95% of the assets offline in air-gapped cold storage. Further, cold storage systems are geographically scattered all around the world.
The Kraken platform servers are secured under 24/7 surveillance. The servers are guarded by armed guards and monitors. Access to this facility is strictly controlled.
The exchange runs regular penetration tests to see if the systems can sustain attacks. In addition to this, Kraken also runs a Bug Bounty program.
Fun Fact: Devendra Hyalij holds the top spot on Kraken’s Bug Bounty Wall of Fame. The researcher received the highest payout of $8600.
How Users Can Secure Their Kraken Account?
For extra security and the prevention of theft, users can take a few measures to safeguard their accounts. Here’s what Kraken offers for user account safety:
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Email confirmation for withdrawals
- API key permissions
- Encrypted emails for secure communication
- Continuous monitoring for suspicious activity
- Customizable account timeout
You can check out all the security measures that Kraken employs on its official website.
Kraken Alternatives: Kraken vs Coinbase
Kraken often gets compared to Coinbase, Binance, and Robinhood.
- If you want a more beginner-friendly platform, then you should check out the primary Coinbase platform.
- Traders looking for more altcoins should check out Binance. It has over 600 coins listed for trading.
- Stock traders who are dipping their toes into crypto can give Robinhood a shot.
Here’s a quick comparison of all the platforms:
Kraken Customer Satisfaction: Is Kraken the Best Exchange?
In our recent analysis of the best cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken was a strong contender.
In terms of overall usage and market presence, they hold a solid fifth position across key metrics.
Kraken also performs well in terms of trading volume.
They cam up just lutside the top 10 in our analysis.
Basically Kraken have a great market presence ADN incredible usage to match.
It appears that many crypto traders trust and use Kraken.