Kraken Review: Is It A Safe Trading Platform?

With global interest in Bitcoin going to the next level, finding a cryptocurrency platform can be difficult with so many options. 

One of the biggest exchanges that has surged in popularity for its reliability, competitive fees and security is Kraken.

While we aim to provide you with accurate and the latest information in this Kraken review, we strongly suggest that you visit the website to keep updated with any changes that may occur afterward.

Key  Features:

  • Safe and regulated platform 
  • Buy, trade and sell over 54 different cryptocurrencies
  • High liquidity and low trading fees
  • Trade crypto and Forex such as EUR/USD
  • Earn passive rewards by staking coins
  • US investors are allowed
  • Powerful charting by TradingView

overall 

4.6/5

Ease of use

User interface

Fees

Security

This post contains affiliate links with our partners who may compensate us. Read our disclaimer for further information.

Before diving into this review, it is highly recommended to use a hardware wallet such as the Ledger Nano X when buying cryptocurrencies. The ownership of crypto remains in the investor's possession and control, not the exchange. Read our guide on the best Bitcoin wallets for more information. 

What Is Kraken?

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 website

Since its inception to the market, Kraken has become a leading exchange with a high reputation for ease of use, safety and competitive pricing. The platform is suited for experienced crypto investors to make quick fiat deposits and withdrawals, visualize portfolio performance and track all digital assets in a single location.

Quick Summary

Exchange Name

Kraken

Fiat Currency

USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, CHF, JPY and AUD

Cryptocurrency

BTC, ETH, USDT, XRP, LTC and 49 others

Payment Type

Bank transfer, SWIFT, SEPA, debit and credit card

Trading Fee

From 0.16% / 0.26%

Deposit Fee

None for bank transfers

Withdrawal Fee

Varies

Mobile App

Yes

Kraken Compared

Cutting-edge security measures, an intuitive user interface, the ability to trade crypto with leverage and a mobile trading app are important features on Kraken. This comparison table lists alternate crypto trading exchanges like Kraken.

Exchange

Trading Fees

Rating

Review

Promotion

Website

binance

Binance

0.1%

4.8/5

10% off trading fees

coinbase

Coinbase

0.5% - 3.99%

4.7/5

$5 BTC bonus (USA only)

FTX Exchange

FTX

0.02% / 0.07%

4.6/5

5% off trading fees

For USA, visit FTX.US

Key Features & Services

Designed For Everyone

One of the best features of Kraken is the simplistic website and mobile app that has been designed for new and advanced Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investors. The process to sign up, verify an account, deposit funds and purchase cryptocurrencies can be completed quickly. 

Available Worldwide

Kraken is available for customers across the globe and is supported in the majority of countries worldwide. There are only a handful of countries that are not allowed to use Kraken or have restricted services. It is a regulated exchange in the United States except for Washington State and New York.

Supported Currencies

Kraken allows users on the platform to buy & sell digital assets by supporting fiat currencies that include USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, CHF, JPY and AUD. Traditional currencies can be deposited into the exchange using a variety of payment methods for each country. User's on Kraken are spoilt for choice with 54 different cryptocurrencies that can be purchased and sold on the platform using fiat. 

kraken supported coins

Payment Methods

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

The average speeds of each payment options 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 the convivence can use a debit card.

Is Kraken Safe?

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.

Is Kraken Regulated?

Kraken appears to be a licenced and regulated cryptocurrency trading provider that complies with legal and regulatory requirements in all countries where it operates. The company is registered with FinCEN, FinTRAC, AUSTRAC, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and FSA. This means Kraken is allowed to operate as a cryptocurrency exchange in the USA, Canada, Australia, UK and Japan. For a full list of restricted and banned countries, or read our article on which countries where Bitcoin is legal and illegal.

Account Registration & Login

To create an account with Kraken exchange, users need to be at least 18 years old and reside in a supported country. The process to register an account is straight forward and takes a few minutes. There are no fees to create or maintain a Kraken account or wallet. 

New users will be required to enter a valid email address, mobile phone number and personal details. Before funds can be deposited, a Kraken ID verification process must be completed as described below.

Verification

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 (24hr)

Withdraw (24hr)

Starter

Unlimited

$5,000

Intermediate

Unlimited

$500,000

Pro

Unlimited

$10,000,000

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.

Related: Kraken Vs. Gemini Comparison: Which Crypto Exchange Is Best?

Depositing Funds To Kraken

Users can quickly and easily transfer fiat currency, crypto or Tether (USDT) to Kraken. The funds are safely stored in a Kraken wallet which can be used to trade digital assets. Visit the Kraken fiat deposits page to view the full list of supported deposit methods, deposit minimums, deposit fees and processing times.

For cryptocurrency payments such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP and Litecoin, the speed of crypto transfers to reach the exchange depends on the number of network confirmations on the blockchain. 

kraken deposit

Buying Cryptocurrency Using Kraken

Once an account has been registered and verified, cryptocurrency can be purchased with fiat currency using the exchange. There are 54 cryptocurrency assets available on Kraken to buy and sell such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether USD, XRP and Litecoin. There are also popular DeFi tokens like Compound (COMP), Kava (KAVA) and Kyber Network (KNC). Each supported coin is listed with the current price, 24 hour percentage change and overall market cap.

kraken buy crypto

The easiest way to make a crypto purchase is using the 'Simple' trade interface as shown below using a market or limit order. This is where beginners will spend most of the there time placing orders in the market. Experienced investors and traders can use the 'Intermediate' and 'Advanced' user interface which includes conditional orders and advanced risk management to manage their portfolio as shown below. These include:

  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop loss
  • Take profit
  • Stop loss limit
  • Take profit limit

Traders that know how to enter orders will find it simple to use. However, beginners may find the basic interface difficult to use as there is no chart to show the recent and current prices. This is a major disadvantage with Kraken. User's will need to switch over to Kraken Pro or use a charting platform such as TradingView.

kraken user interface

Kraken Fees

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

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.

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).

Trade Volume

Fee (M/T)

$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

Fee (M/T)

$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 negates some of the benefits 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. The fees are as follows: 

Trade Volume

Fee (M/T)

$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%

Deposit Fees

The deposit fees to transfer fiat currency to the exchange varies 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.

Country

Method

Speed

Currency

Fee

USA

Bank transfer

1 work day

USD

Free

USA

Wire transfer

3-5 work days

USD

$5 - $25

Europe

SEPA

0-3 work days

Euro

Free

Canada

Wire transfer

2-3 work days

CAD

Free

Canada

Cash/debit card

30-60 minutes

CAD

1.25 CAD + 0.25%

Australia

Bank transfer

0-2 work days

AUD

Free

UK

SEPA

0-3 work days

GBP

Free

Worldwide

SWIFT

2-5 work days

USD, Euro, CAD, AUD, GBP, JPY, CHF

Free

Staking With Kraken

Kraken user's have the additional benefit of being able to stake their favorite coins and fiat currency on the platform to earn rewards. 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 staking

Kraken currently supports the staking of 8 popular cryptocurrency coins such as Bitcoin, Polkadot, Cosmos, Kava, Ethereum, Tezos and Kusama. 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.

Related: How To Stake Cardano To Earn ADA Rewards

Users can also stake fiat currency such as the US Dollar (USD) or the Euro (EUR) and benefit with compounding rewards of 2% and 1.5% respectively. Compared to crypto lending and interest platforms such as BlockFi, Crypto.com, Hodlnaut and Nexo, the staking rewards is lower, however, the staking income on Kraken is still higher than most traditional institutions and banks.   

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kraken Trustworthy?

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 for trustworthiness due to its compliance with regulations in several jurisdictions and features innovative security protocols to ensure a safe trading experience for all investors.

Can You Use Kraken In The US?

Kraken Exchange 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. As the exchange is registered in the US, the company is required to report to the IRS to fulfil its tax obligations. Similarly, US traders must also declare their tax reports each year. 

Can I Use Kraken In Australia?

Kraken is one of the best cryptocurrency platforms in Australia 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.

Does Kraken Have A Demo Trading Account?

Kraken does not currently offer a demo account for beginners to become familiar with the platform or practice trading with fake money. Trading requires a different set of skills to investing and is recommended to learn how to trade on a cryptocurrency demo trading account. Two of the most popular Bitcoin demo accounts that are available in several countries worldwide are eToro and Plus500.

Is Kraken Good For Day Trading?

Kraken offers high liquidity in its order books to provide opportunities for crypto arbitrage traders by offering the best rates. The competitive maker and taker fees are also desirable qualities that experienced day traders look for. The platform has been designed to cater for active traders on Kraken Pro that features advanced crypto trading tools and charting.

However, professional traders that want to trade a wide variety of coins with high leverage may be better suited to derivatives and leveraged platforms that have high daily trading volumes to fill large orders. The most popular exchanges in the world that are purpose-built for day trading are:

Does Kraken Accept Credit Cards?

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.

Can You Buy NFTs on Kraken?

Kraken does not support a marketplace for its users to buy and sell NFT's such as digital art, music, sports cards and other unique collectibles. Art creators, collectors, enthusiasts and investors will need to use a peer-to-peer platform to purchase NFTs.

Conclusion

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 rewards 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.

Kraken

4.6

Ease of use

4.0/5

Reputation

5.0/5

Deposit methods

5.0/5

Fees

4.5/5

Customer support

4.5/5

Pros

  • Quick and easy to purchase and sell crypto
  • Available in multiple countries worldwide
  • Deep liquidity and high trading volume
  • Staking coins to earn rewards
  • Trustworthy and secure platform

Cons

  • Limited number of cryptocurrencies
  • Margin trading fees a little high
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Kevin Groves
Kevin is the founder of hedgewithcrypto and is passionate about blockchain technology. He has been involved with Bitcoin since 2016 and is a swing trader with over 10 years of experience. He loves trading crypto using various platforms and helping others learn about cryptocurrencies via hedgewithcrypto.