KuCoin and Kraken are two popular exchanges that offer advanced trading platforms, crypto staking wallets, a great selection of coins, and well-designed mobile apps for trading from a mobile device. But while KuCoin is focused on providing a massive selection of crypto, especially lesser-known projects, Kraken is an institutional-grade secure crypto exchange, ideal for crypto traders and beginners alike. In this comparison review, we assess the similarities and differences between KuCoin and Kraken and evaluate which is the better option for crypto investors.
KuCoin vs. Kraken: A Quick Overview
KuCoin and Kraken are popular digital asset trading platforms with huge followings that offer a large selection of cryptocurrencies and tons of built-in trading tools. Both offer deep liquidity for popular trading pairs, and both offer interest-earning accounts that provide yield on deposited crypto.
KuCoin is designed for active traders that want access to up-and-coming cryptocurrencies with much smaller market caps. KuCoin boasts over 700 cryptocurrencies on its platform, and though the liquidity is low on some of these projects, KuCoin is diligent about creating a sustainable market for most coins. KuCoin offers a simple and advanced trading platform, and trading fees are very low starting at 0.1% per trade depending on the cryptocurrency. KuCoin offers a ton of other features as well, including interest-bearing accounts, crypto trading bots, derivatives and margin trading, Peer-to-Peer (P2P exchange and a newly-launched NFT marketplace.
On the other hand, Kraken is a longstanding and reputable cryptocurrency exchange that offers a simple trading experience for beginners, as well as a professional trading platform for experienced traders. Kraken offers robust security, protecting user funds and data on multiple levels, ideal for security-conscious investors and institutional traders. Kraken also offers crypto staking to earn rewards, trading with margin, and futures markets.
|Promotion||Up to 500 USDT in bonuses||None available at this time|
|Fiat Currency||USD, GBP, EUR, CNY & 46 others||USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, CHF, JPY & AUD|
|Deposit Method||Credit/debit card, SEPA, wire transfer, Apple Pay, crypto & others||Bank transfer, wire transfer, SWIFT, SEPA, Apple Pay, Google Pay, debit and credit card|
|Max. Trading Fee||0.1%||0.16% / 0.26%|
|Live Chat Support||Yes||Yes|
|Markets||Spot, futures, margin, leveraged tokens and crypto swaps||Spot, Forex, margin, OTC|
|US Residents Allowed||N/A||Yes|
|Review||Read our full KuCoin review||Read our full Kraken review|
In-Depth Comparison: KuCoin vs Kraken
KuCoin is a cryptocurrency exchange that offers one of the biggest selections of coins around and a wide selection of trading features. Established in late 2017, KuCoin has quickly amassed a huge customer base, with over 20 million users located in more than 207 countries around the globe. According to the website, 25% of worldwide crypto traders use KuCoin to trade crypto.
With access to a spot exchange, futures and margin markets, leveraged tokens, zero-fee crypto swaps, staking rewards, crypto lending services to earn interest on crypto holdings and purchase crypto using a credit/debit card, Kucoin is one of the most comprehensive crypto platforms on the market today.
- Reliable exchange with large customer base
- Large selection of 700+ coins to trade with deep liquidity
- Both simple and advanced trading platforms for all traders
- Advanced mobile app with full features for 24/7 trading
- Low fees of 0.1% with discounts for KuCoin (KCS) token holders
- Buy crypto with fiat currencies through third-party only
- No option to withdraw fiat currencies to bank account
- Not available for traders in the United States
Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States (USA) that offers an advanced and stable trading platform and an easy-to-use mobile app. As one of the oldest crypto exchanges launched in 2013, Kraken is a reputable and reliable exchange that offers a secure way to buy crypto with traditional money. To cater to a variety of customers from beginners to experienced traders, Kraken offers both simple and advanced trading platforms, as well as access to spot trading with margin, and a futures trading platform.
Kraken has over 9 million customers in over 190 countries around the globe and processes over $1 billion in spot trading volume daily. It also offers crypto staking to earn rewards on deposited crypto and is launching an NFT marketplace very soon. In short, Kraken is a top exchange in the crypto industry.
- Margin trading available to qualified U.S. residents
- Regulated and licensed in multiple countries
- Low trading fees on Kraken Pro platform
- Cryptocurrency staking for popular coins
- Excellent customer support desk and 24/7
- High fees when choosing “Buy Now” feature
- Does not offer savings account to earn interest
- Margin trading limited to 5x on spot trades
KuCoin vs. Kraken: Supported Countries
KuCoin and Kraken are available worldwide, supporting customers in over 190 countries around the globe. KuCoin offers derivatives markets, and due to global regulations, it is not supported in certain countries, such as the United States. Although, the market is available in every other supported country. Moreover, KuCoin has over 20 million customers which makes it one of the largest exchanges in the world. In comparison, Kraken is also a large exchange that is particularly popular in the USA. At the time of writing, Kraken does not have the same reach globally as KuCoin but still has over 9 million customers in 190 countries.
Though KuCoin is not available to U.S. residents, it supports almost every other country in the world, making it one of the most widely-supported crypto exchanges in the market.
KuCoin vs. Kraken: Trading Volume & Liquidity
Kraken is a popular exchange for those that want to buy crypto as an investment using fiat currency with daily spot trading volumes of over $1 billion. It does not process quite as much volume for derivatives trading, with about $100 million in daily volume. KuCoin matches Kraken with almost $1 billion in daily spot trading volume but far surpasses this with over $4 billion in daily derivatives trading volume.
At the time of writing, Kraken offers deep liquidity on most large-cap coins, with an average liquidity score of 748 (out of 1,000). KuCoin has an average liquidity score of 588, which is much lower than Kraken, but it offers great liquidity (650+) on top coin pairs such as USDC, USDT, BTC, and ETH. Liquidity ratings help determine whether users can place large orders and avoid excess slippage. Kraken offers better liquidity overall as a spot trading platform, making it an ideal crypto day trading platform for experienced traders who place larger orders.
Both KuCoin and Kraken are exceptional cryptocurrency exchanges that have high trading volumes and liquidity across the major assets. KuCoin has slightly more trading volume overall at the time of writing, in particular for its futures and derivatives markets. However, the liquidity of the lesser-known coins is quite low. On the other hand, Kraken provides higher average liquidity on top trading pairs such as BTC/USDT and ETH/USDT.
KuCoin vs. Kraken: Features, Products & Services
KuCoin and Kraken offer multiple trading platforms with a great selection of cryptocurrencies available, and both offer derivatives trading. Here is a comparison and overview of some of the common and unique features of both KuCoin and Kraken.
Kraken offers just over 190 crypto assets that comprise over 500 trading pairs, which is a very good selection. In addition, Kraken offers forex trading on some of the most popular and liquid FX pairs and crosses. The exchange continues to add support for more cryptocurrencies each month and has very deep liquidity on the most popular coins.
KuCoin, on the other hand, is one of the best altcoin exchanges in the market offering 700+ cryptocurrencies that equate to more than 1,200 pairs to trade. This is one of the best selections in the crypto market and has a greater choice for diversifying a portfolio when compared to Kraken.
KuCoin offers over 700 crypto and 1,200 trading pairs to speculate on. There is also a greater selection of markets to trade such as a P2P marketplace, leveraged tokens and a crypto swap platform that are not offered on Kraken.
Fiat Currencies & Deposit Methods
KuCoin supports 50+ fiat currencies such as USD, AUD, CAD and THB, while Kraken only supports 7 fiat currencies which is quite limited. That being said, KuCoin fiat deposits may come with high fees due to a third-party provider. Moreover, the selection of crypto that can be purchased is not the full list and is limited to about 7 assets at the time of writing. As for payment methods using fiat currencies, both Kraken and KuCoin have credit/debit card purchases, but charge high fees to use these services. Kraken exchange also lets individuals buy crypto with Apple Pay and Google Pay which is not offered on all exchanges.
Kraken allows users to fund an account with 7 fiat currencies. There are several deposit options for each support of fiat currency and country. The fees are quite reasonable with a variety of processing times available. KuCoin does offer a wider range of supported fiat currencies, however, the fees are higher due to the third-party payment processor.
KuCoin offers a top-shelf crypto platform for margin trading with over 220 margin pairs supported with up to 10x leverage. The base pairs that can be used as collateral are BTC, ETH, USDC, and USDT. The charting and trading platform support take-profit, stop-loss and combined take-profit and stop-loss orders to risk-manage open leveraged positions.
In addition, KuCoin has a futures market where users can buy or sell cryptocurrencies at a predetermined price at a specific time in the future. There are more than 110 coins that can be traded with leverage up to 100x at the time of writing. Futures contracts can be settled in USD, however, the supported currencies are limited to BTC (including quarterly), ETH, DOT, and XRP.
In contrast, Kraken has a spot margin trading and futures trading platform. Traders can open positions with up to 5x leverage available on spot purchases, and up to 50x leverage available on futures contracts with 7 different collateral pairs that can be used which is more than KuCoin. The futures contracts are available on a perpetual basis or on a quarterly basis.
While Kraken offers margin and Bitcoin futures trading options, KuCoin wins due to its superior selection of products for traders to use leverage on more trading pairs with better flexibility for experienced traders.
Earning Interest on Crypto
KuCoin and Kraken both offer users a way to earn interest on their cryptocurrency to help grow a portfolio. KuCoin offers multiple Earn products that support more than 50 cryptocurrency assets. The available products that can be used under KuCoin Earn include:
- KuCoin Savings. Deposit coins into a savings wallet to earn a return on investment between 5 and 8% APR. The funds do not have to be locked in and can be transferred to the trading account at any time.
- KCS Bonus. Users can earn daily trading fee bonuses by holding Kucoin tokens (KCS), the native token of the exchange.
- Liquidity pool mining. Join liquidity pools to earn yield by collecting transaction fees from DeFi exchanges.
- KuCoin lottery. KuCoin offers a lottery game called Lucky Raffling that draws winners of a large jackpot.
- Staking. Users can earn stable interest on both fixed and flexible terms on its crypto staking platform.
- Cloud mining. Kucoin offers its own cloud mining service, allowing users to combine resources to share mining rewards. KuCoin manages the hardware and utilities. This service is only available on occasion.
In comparison, the products and services on Kraken for users to earn a passive income on a crypto portfolio is very limited. The only product is cryptocurrency staking by depositing or purchasing Proof-of-Stake (PoS) coins. The exchange supports 15 tokens that can be staked on Kraken, including Ethereum 2.0. The highest reward at the time of writing is 23% APY.
Kraken offers a solid staking feature to earn interest, but KuCoin offers a whole host of crypto lending services, interest-bearing products with high rates and even cloud mining. With over 50 crypto assets available to earn yield, KuCoin is a great platform for earning passive income.
Buying & Selling NFTs
Kraken and KuCoin don’t offer traditional NFT marketplaces (yet), but KuCoin does have an NFT launchpad that allows users to buy, invest in, and manage in-game NFTs. KuCoin also partners with a third-party NFT marketplace where users can buy, sell, and mint NFTs. Kraken has yet to launch its NFT marketplace, though it does have a waitlist, indicating it will be coming soon. Other exchanges with more developed NFT marketplaces to consider are Binance and FTX.
While the KuCoin NFT marketplace is only for buying in-game NFTs and using them, Kraken doesn’t have one yet, so KuCoin is the winner here. There are much better places to trade NFTs, with bigger selections and the ability to mint.
KuCoin vs. Kraken: Ease of Use
KuCoin and Kraken both offer well-designed mobile apps and advanced trading platforms, but each with a different experience. Kraken offers both a beginner-friendly trading platform and an advanced platform for professional traders, while KuCoin offers an advanced trading platform for intermediate and advanced users.
Kraken’s standard trading experience is a simple order form, allowing users to buy, sell, or swap crypto directly. The Kraken Pro platform offers a more comprehensive trading platform with advanced charting tools, access to margin, and hundreds of crypto pairs to choose from.
The KuCoin platform offers a bit of everything, with a simple “Buy Crypto” option for beginners, but also an advanced trading platform with detailed charting, access to margin and derivatives trading, as well as programmable trading bots and leveraged tokens. The mobile app offers a simpler user experience for beginners, but advanced traders can access most of the same trading tools as the web platform as well. For absolute beginners that are new to crypto-to-crypto trading, there is a KuCoin Convert product for zero-fee crypto trading that is simple to use.
Kraken offers two mobile apps, one for beginners and one for pro-level traders, and its web platform offers a well-rounded experience for all types of traders. KuCoin is a well-designed platform aimed at advanced traders, but the mobile app helps beginners buy crypto with ease. Both platforms stand out for their flexibility to cater to both beginners and serious crypto traders.
KuCoin vs. Kraken: Trading Experience
The new Kraken Pro beta platform offers a fantastic trading experience, with access to most every tool an active trader could want. There are multiple order types available, as well as live order books, advanced charting with TradingView chart integration, and custom watch lists for tracking crypto favorites. The layout is well-designed, and users can drag and drop windows to customize their layout.
KuCoin also offers an advanced trading platform that is powered by TradingView charts, giving users access to hundreds of indicators and charting tools. KuCoin offers live order books, a depth chart, isolated and cross margin, and access to their comprehensive futures markets. Users can save their favorite trading pairs, with access to over 1,200 pairs across 700+ cryptocurrencies.
Users can program a crypto grid trading bot for more automated trading strategies directly from the order form. The derivatives platform offers access to hundreds of trading pairs for perpetual futures trading, and even trading competitions with prizes. Overall, KuCoin offers almost every tool available for advanced crypto trading.
Kraken is a solid trading platform with the basic tools for managing trades, but KuCoin simply offers more trading tools, charting software and features, with a huge derivatives platform and even the ability to create a custom trading bot.
KuCoin vs. Kraken: Trading Fees
KuCoin offers very low fees for traders, starting at 0.3% per trader for less common crypto, and starting at 0.1% per trade for most large-cap coins. KuCoin utilizes a maker-taker fee schedule, with rebates available for the highest level traders and those that hold a significant amount of the native KuCoin token (KCS).
|KuCoin Trading Fees||Kraken Trading Fees|
|Spot (fiat-to-crypto)||0.1% (maker) / 0.1% (taker)||Instant Buy: 0.9% - 5.25%, Trading: from 0.16% (maker) / 0.26% (taker)|
|Leverage trading||From 0.02% (maker) / 0.06% (taker)||From 0.02% (maker) / 0.05% (taker)|
Kraken has multiple trading fee structures, with its standard “Buy Crypto” purchase experience charging very high fees (up to 5% or more), while the maker fees and taker fees on Kraken Pro start at 0.16% and 0.26%, respectively. Discounts on trading fees can be obtained for high-volume traders that also use a maker and taker fee structure.
For derivatives trading, KuCoin and Kraken have nearly identical fees, with Kraken starting slightly lower for taker fees. However, KuCoin offers trading rebates on derivatives trading to the highest volume traders or KCS token holders.
When it comes to withdrawal fees, this is not an option on KuCoin as it does not allow traders to cash out of fiat currencies to a bank account. This can be problematic for those that want to withdraw from KuCoin to a bank account. On Kraken, there are varying withdrawal fees that depend on the fiat currency (e.g. USD, EUR, GBP etc) and the method of transfer to a nominated bank.
While both platforms charge very low fees on their respective derivatives platforms, Kraken charges very high fees utilizing their “Buy Crypto” feature. Their spot fees may be lower on some altcoins, but overall, KuCoin wins this category with its lower fees (starting at 0.1%) for most major coins.
KuCoin vs. Kraken: Mobile App
Kraken offers two mobile apps, one for beginners, and a Kraken Pro app for advanced traders. The regular Kraken app offers a simple user experience for buying and selling crypto, while the advanced app offers all of the advanced charting and trading tools experience traders would expect. Based on 18,000 customer reviews at the time of writing, the Kraken Android app has a very good rating of 4.2/5.0, while the Kraken Pro Android app has a score of 4.0/5 based on 26,000 customer reviews. We found that each app was responsive and well-suited for traders to place trades and monitor their holdings.
The KuCoin app is also available on Android and iOS mobile devices and offers an incredible amount of features, but this makes for a crowded home screen, which may overwhelm beginners. The Android app has been downloaded by 5 million+ users and boasts a 4.4/5.0 based on over 100,000 reviews at the time of writing. Based on our reviews, the KuCoin app has a huge selection of features and advanced trading tools but has too many popups.
The KuCoin app offers everything, but that might be a problem because there is only so much screen space. While advanced traders should be able to navigate the app with ease and enjoy the advanced trading tools, beginners might feel overwhelmed. Kraken, on the other hand, offers multiple apps, catering to different users. The standard app is simple to use, and the Kraken Pro app offers more advanced trading features but doesn’t overcrowd the home screen with too many options. In short, Kraken has one of the best crypto apps for placing trades and managing a crypto portfolio.
KuCoin vs. Kraken: Security
Both KuCoin and Kraken offer advanced security measures to protect user funds and data, with end-to-end data encryption and cold wallet storage of crypto assets. KuCoin and a Kraken account both offer Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for accounts, KYC identity verification (though KuCoin users can trade without this), the ability to whitelist withdrawal addresses, and both keep a majority of crypto in offline cold storage.
But while Kraken has been around for a decade with a hack, KuCoin was hacked to the tune of $275 million in September of 2020. The exchange hack was the result of a breach of the KuCoin hot wallets for a number of cryptocurrencies. KuCoin was able to recover most of the funds, and the KuCoin insurance fund covered the remaining losses. This means investors were made whole available, though this was not an immediate process.
Kraken is one of the most secure crypto exchanges in the world, and KuCoin suffered a hack as recently as 2020. While they have an insurance fund and more security measures in place since the hack, Kraken has a proven track record of outstanding security.
To conclude this comparison of which exchange is better between KuCoin and Kraken, each crypto exchange has been scored using simple evaluation criteria as shown below.
|Earning Interest on Crypto||KuCoin|
|Ease of Use||Draw|
Final Verdict: KuCoin or Kraken?
Both KuCoin and Kraken are two of the best crypto exchanges that offer fantastic trading experiences, quality mobile apps, a great selection of cryptocurrencies, and are supported in most countries around the globe. However, choosing between the two depends on the user's investing goals and level of trading experience.
Advanced crypto traders will benefit from KuCoin's huge selection of coins, massive derivatives platform, access to advanced trading tools and bots. KuCoin offers lower fees, access to over 700 coins, and even trading competitions. Moreover, KuCoin offers 7 different ways to earn passive interest on crypto. In contrast, Kraken is a reputable exchange with robust security and a decent selection of coins. Beginners will prefer its mobile app but does come with higher fees for using the “Buy Now” feature.
Moreover, Kraken users will benefit from the low fees and intuitive Kraken Pro platform and mobile apps. Kraken also offers a simple staking platform with high rates and no lockups. Overall, Kraken is a great platform for beginners and intermediate traders. For more information, read our Kraken review and KuCoin review.