Kraken is one of the biggest crypto exchanges and is best known for its sophisticated terminal for cryptocurrency and forex trading. With deep liquidity across its markets, Kraken is geared toward serious crypto traders that are familiar with technical analysis, advanced orders and using leverage. The downside is the high fees for buying crypto with fiat currencies. In this Kraken review, we will take a closer look to determine if it's a safe place to buy, trade and sell cryptocurrencies.
This post contains affiliate links with our partners who may compensate us. Read our disclaimer for further information.
Our Review of Kraken - Quick Verdict
Kraken is a professional trading platform that features an advanced charting and trading terminal. The exchange is best suited for advanced users for crypto-to-fiat and crypto-to-crypto trading. Its user interface is a little complicated compared to its competitors and therefore is difficult to use for first-time investors. Overall, Kraken is a solid platform with a good track record for serious crypto traders worldwide.
- Available worldwide and licenced in multiple countries
- Available in the USA and supports 7 fiat currencies
- Wide selection of cryptocurrencies that can be bought, traded and sold on the exchange
- Competitive fees from 0.16% and 0.26% with fee discounts
- Offers margin trading, staking and a secure wallet
- Well-designd mobile app with 24/7 customer support
- User-interface is dated and not beginner-friendly
- Supported crypto assets and markets is limited compared to other global platforms
- High fiat on purchases with fiat currency
- Limited number of currencies that can be staked
- Margin trading only available up to 5x
Kraken is a digital asset exchange that connects willing cryptocurrency buyers and sellers on a simple and intuitive trading platform. The company is based in San Francisco after being founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell and officially launched in 2013. The exchange offers its products and services to individuals around the globe with support for several countries and fiat currencies that can be swapped into digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Kraken At A Glance
|Accepted Fiat Currency||USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, CHF, JPY & AUD|
|Deposit Methods||Bank transfer, SWIFT, SEPA, debit and credit card|
|Trading Fee||From 0.16% / 0.26%|
|Withdrawal Fees||None (network fees only)|
|Mobile App||Yes (iOS and Android)|
Review of the Top Features on Kraken
Kraken User Interface & Trading Platform
Once an account has been registered and verified, cryptocurrency can be purchased with fiat currency using the exchange. The user interface is straightforward, allowing users to trade or buy crypto instantly, deposit funds into Kraken Earn, or simply view market prices. Each supported coin is listed with the current price, 24-hour percentage change and overall market cap.
Trading on the standard Kraken interface is simple, allowing users to place a market or limit order. Experienced investors and traders can use the 'Advanced' user interface which includes conditional orders and advanced risk management to track a crypto portfolio as shown below. These include:
- Stop loss
- Take profit
- Stop loss limit
- Take profit limit
- Settle position
While this gives traders more options to choose from, trading can be difficult as there is no chart to show the recent and current prices. Users will need to switch over to Kraken Pro trading interface to gain access to the full suite of trading tools.
Kraken Pro Trading Interface
Kraken recently upgraded its professional trading suite, launching a slick new trading platform with built-in TradingView charting and a wide range of trading tools. Advanced traders will feel at home with access to hundreds of indicators and overlays, as well as an intuitive order form for complete control of their trading strategy.
Kraken Pro also offers a fully-customizable trading interface, allowing users to re-arrange the home screen as needed. Multiple markets can be opened in different tabs, and there are nearly unlimited combinations of windows that can be viewed. Overall, this is a big improvement over the previous Kraken Pro trading interface, giving advanced traders a much better experience.
Kraken offers margin trading up to 5x on spot trades. There are only about 50 coins available for trading on margin, and most jurisdictions offer access to this feature. U.S. residents, however, must pass strict criteria for margin trading eligibility, which includes owing at least $10 million in investable assets, not including a primary residence. This is a pretty steep requirement, though users don’t need to submit documentation, but can “self-certify” for access. Overall, the spot margin platform on Kraken is a good option for US-based traders. However, is not suitable for international traders. Here is an alternative list of the top crypto margin platforms to choose from instead.
Kraken Futures is a derivatives trading platform that offers access to both standard and perpetual futures on dozens of cryptocurrencies. Users can access up to 50x leverage when trading. The standard futures contracts are settled on a quarterly basis, while perpetual contracts are available without expiry.
Kraken Futures can be traded as single-collateral or multi-collateral, and the trading interface is similar to the Kraken Pro interface, with advanced charting and trading tools. There is also a demo trading account available for Kraken Futures, allowing users to practice trading with fake money, instead of using their own. Overall, the Kraken Futures platform is fairly basic but allows advanced trading to access futures markets with low fees and 50x leverage.
While not available in all jurisdictions, Kraken offers foreign exchange (Forex) trading, between popular fiat currencies. Users can choose between several trading pairs, such as EUR/USD, USD/JPY, or USD/CHF. Standard trading fees apply, making it a low-cost way to trade Forex.
Trading Volume and Liquidity
Kraken is a popular spot trading platform that processes over $600 million in daily volume. On the derivatives side, it is much smaller, handling just over $100 million in daily trade volume. As for liquidity, Kraken has an average liquidity score of 748 (out of 1,000), which is one of the highest liquidity scores of any exchange (besides Binance). High liquidity means there is less of a risk of slippage and smaller spread fees when placing spot trades.
Staking on Kraken
Kraken users have the additional benefit of being able to stake their favorite coins and fiat currency on the platform to earn rewards. Cryptocurrency staking allows investors to maximize holdings in digital assets within a Kraken wallet and earn compounding rewards to gradually increase the portfolio. Investors on Kraken can also stake ETH2.0 to earn rewards during the Ethereum network upgrade.
Kraken currently supports the staking of 17 popular cryptocurrency coins such as Bitcoin, Polkadot, Cosmos, Kava, Ethereum, Tezos and Flow. The staking rewards vary across each coin between 0.25% and 20% per annum. To earn rewards, it is as simple as purchasing a supported asset and storing it within a Kraken spot wallet.
Users can also stake fiat currency such as the US Dollar (USD) or the Euro (EUR) and benefit with compounding rewards of 3% and 1.5% respectively. Compared to crypto lending platforms we have reviewed such as BlockFi, Crypto.com, Hodlnaut and Nexo, the staking rewards are lower, however, the staking income on Kraken is still higher than most traditional institutions and banks. Overall, Kraken is one of the best platforms to stake crypto.
Kraken Comparisons & Alternatives
Below is a list of alternate crypto trading exchanges like Kraken that we have reviewed and compared.
New users that create an account with Kraken to trade cryptocurrency must complete a basic verification process and submit ID, which allows users to:
- Deposit & withdraw digital assets
- Buy/sell/trade digital assets
- Trade cryptocurrency pairs with margin
There are 3 tiers of verification level available which offer different features and limits such as higher deposit & withdrawal limits, access to futures markets and trading on the Kraken dark pool.
|Verification Level||Deposit Limit (24hr)||Withdrawal Limit (24hr)|
To increase the verification level, users will need to provide additional identification documents and activate Two Factor Authentication (2FA) to complete the 'Starter' verification level. Information that will be required includes a valid email address, full name, date of birth, phone number and physical address. For a full explanation of how long Kraken verification is, read this article that explains the speeds for each level.
Fiat Deposits & Withdrawals
An account with Kraken can be funded using a variety of options for payment. Customers can transfer funds to the platform to buy/sell digital currencies like a bank transfer, SEPA payments, wire transfer, SWIFT and even the option to deposit funds using a debit card to instantly buy crypto for CAD only.
|USA||Bank transfer||1 work day||USD||None|
|USA||Wire transfer||3-5 work days||USD||$5 - $25|
|Europe||SEPA||0-3 work days||Euro||None|
|Canada||Wire transfer||2-3 work days||CAD||None|
|Canada||Cash/debit card||30-60 minutes||CAD||1.25 CAD + 0.25%|
|Australia||Bank transfer||0-2 work days||AUD||None|
|UK||SEPA||0-3 work days||GBP||None|
|Worldwide||SWIFT||2-5 work days||USD, Euro, CAD, AUD, GBP, JPY, CHF||None|
The average speed of each payment option is an important consideration when choosing a deposit method. For large investments, using a bank or wire transfer is one of the best ways to buy crypto. It is safe and takes between 1 to 3 days to complete. Users that are looking to make a smaller and instant purchase and prefer convenience can use a debit card.
The deposit fees to transfer fiat currency to the exchange varies depending on the country and payment method used. Across the regions, using a bank transfer is one of the cheapest and faster deposit options. Refer to the guide below and check the website for further details.
There are 200+ cryptocurrency assets available on Kraken to buy and sell such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, Chainlink, and Litecoin. There are also popular DeFi tokens like Compound (COMP), Aave (AAVE) and ApeCoin (APE).
Kraken has high liquidity on most major cryptocurrencies and supports a decent selection of altcoins as well. Kraken is on par with exchanges like Coinbase, but offers fewer coins than places like Binance or Gate.io.
Kraken fees are fairly straightforward and are based on the asset traded, location of the user and product/service used and payment type. There is no cost for using the Kraken wallet service to store fiat and cryptocurrency coins.
Instant Buy & Sell Fees
Users on the platform can purchase digital currencies on Kraken using a debit card which will incur a 3.75% + €0.25 transaction fee. In comparison to other platforms that accept credit/debit cards, the fee is reasonable but there are cheaper alternatives such as Crypto.com and Uphold. With instant buy transactions, there is a spread cost added which is not fixed as it can vary depending on market conditions.
For standard fiat purchases, the fee is 0.9% for stablecoins, and 1.5% for all other cryptocurrencies. Online banking includes a 0.5% fee for ACH processing. Overall, these fees are standard for fiat purchases.
Spot Trading Fees
Kraken Pro uses a taker and maker system with trading fees from 0.16% and 0.26% respectively. There are volume incentives based on trading activity in the past 30 days for all cryptocurrency pairs. Traders are incentivized to engage with the market with lower trading fees to provide liquidity to the exchange by filling the order book by placing conditional and limit orders (i.e. maker fees). In short, the trading fees are very competitive in the market and a great platform for crypto day traders, particularly in the USA when compared to Coinbase which is another regulated provider.
|Trade Volume (30d)||Fees (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% / 0.04%|
|$5,000,001 - $10,000,000||0.02% / 0.12%|
|$10,000,000+||0.00% / 0.10%|
Stablecoin & Forex Trading Fees
Similar to cryptocurrency spot trading fees, Kraken uses a maker and taker model for trading Forex pairs such as EUR/USD and where a stablecoin is the base currency (USDT/USD, DAI/USDT). The fees are slightly lower compared to traditional digital currency assets on the spot exchange.
|Trade Volume (30d)||Fees (Maker / Taker)|
|$0 - $50,000||0.20% / 0.20%|
|$50,001 - $100,000||0.16% / 0.16%|
|$100,001 - $250,000||0.12% / 0.12%|
|$250,001 - $500,000||0.08% / 0.08%|
|$500,001 - $1,000,000||0.04% / 0.04%|
|$1,000,001 - $2,500,000||0.00% / 0.00%|
Margin & Futures Trading Fees
Kraken charges a flat fee for margin positions between 0.01% and 0.02% which are in addition to the trading fee for each transaction. This includes the open and close, effectively doubling the margin fee. The fees are quite high and negate some of the benefits of trading with margin, as the costs will eat into the position.
Traders that prefer using leverage are better off using Kraken's Futures platform. Similar to the spot trading fees, a maker and taker model is used with volume-based incentives. However, volume on Kraken spot markets, FX pairs and stablecoin order books does not contribute to volume-based discounts on Kraken Futures and vice versa.
|Trade Volume (30d)||Fees (Maker / Taker)|
|$0 - $100,000||0.02% / 0.05%|
|$100,001 - $1,000,000||0.015% / 0.04%|
|$1,000,001 - $5,000,000||0.0125% / 0.03%|
Kraken offers two different mobile apps. The Kraken mobile app offers an intuitive experience for beginners and the Kraken Pro app offers a better trading experience for advanced traders. Both apps make it easy to trade, stake, and manage a user’s cryptocurrency, and offer most of the same features as the web version of Kraken.
The Kraken Android app has been downloaded by over 1 million users and has a 4.4/5.0 based on over 18,000 reviews, which is highly rated. Based on our reviews, the Kraken app is fairly responsive and easy to use for beginners. The Kraken Pro app is intuitive as well, but the charting is a bit difficult to manage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kraken appears to be a safe and secure fiat-to-crypto exchange for buying and selling digital assets. Despite a crypto hack in 2016 in which a small number of accounts were compromised and funds were stolen, there have been no major security issues since. The exchange has implemented strong security measures, such as holding approximately 95% of the customer's assets offline in secure storage facilities.
User accounts can be target hardened with the use of Two Factor Authentication (2FA) to provide an additional layer of security to minimize security risks. All sensitive information is encrypted and the servers and infrastructure go through regular penetration testing to find vulnerabilities.
Kraken is based in the US and is a registered company with FinCEN, the regulatory body in the United States which governs the operation of licensing of financial service providers. This means that residents can buy, trade and sell cryptocurrencies in the USA using Kraken. Kraken is also registered internationally with FinTRAC, AUSTRAC, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and FSA. This means Kraken is allowed to operate as a cryptocurrency exchange in Canada, Australia, UK and Japan.
Kraken is a well-established cryptocurrency platform that has survived the test of time since being launched in 2013. It has experienced several challenges such as the Mt. Gox hack and developed into a secure, trustworthy and safe exchange for purchasing digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
When compared to other cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken stands out as a leader in trustworthiness due to its compliance with regulations in several jurisdictions and features innovative security protocols to ensure a safe trading experience for all investors. The platform also proves its asset reserves on its website.
Kraken is one of the best Australian cryptocurrency trading platforms that allows users to deposit Australian Dollars (AUD) using a bank transfer. There are zero-deposit fees and no foreign exchange conversion charges. The funds usually arrive within 2 business days depending on the bank once a crypto purchase is completed.
Kraken supports debit card purchases for Canadian Dollars only. All other fiat currencies such as USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CHF and JPY cannot be deposited using cash, debit card, Amazon gift cards, credit card or PayPal to buy crypto on Kraken.
To conclude our Kraken review, first-time crypto buyers and intermediate investors can begin their foray into digital currencies with a wide selection of coins that can be purchased using several fiat currency pairs. Its strength lays in its strong security measures, reliability, compliance with regulations and competitive trading fees that reward high net-worth traders.
In our opinion, Kraken is more suited to intermediate traders than beginners who are looking to make their first purchase of Bitcoin or another coin. The user interface can appear a little confusing and doesn't offer the simplicity as its competitors such as Coinbase, Gemini, CoinZoom or eToro. Overall, Kraken is one of the most recommended and reputable exchanges in the world.