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In this post we are going to cover:
Plus more... Read on to learn everything you need to know about Kraken.
Info: Kraken is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges today. It was founded in 2011 and started trading in Bitcoin in 2013, and later added more cryptocurrencies to its offer. Today Kraken offers trading with 33 cryptos and many pairs.
The Kraken users see a live preview of the market, have customizable options and can apply several filters when trading. Still, the overall usability of the Kraken exchange is oriented towards more experienced traders, as many specific terms and abbreviations could pose a problem for beginner traders.
Kraken is regulated with FinCEN in the USA, FinTRAC in Canada, and FCA in the UK. The exchange has high levels of safety and security for digital assets and personal client information. They support clients with extensive customer support, 24/7 email support, and live chat options. There is a mobile app to make trading easy on the go, even though their website is very mobile-friendly.
Founded in 2011 by a certain Jesse Powell, Kraken wanted to be the name at the forefront of cryptocurrency exchange. Seeing the development of the cryptocurrency trend, Kraken started offering cryptocurrency trading in 2013 along with services that would appeal to people and entice them to use the Kraken Exchange.
Back in its early beginnings, Kraken was nicknamed “the bitcoin exchange”, as this was the only cryptocurrency that was traded. Being one of the first in the crypto trading business, Kraken is offering various services to its clients, ranging from over-the-counter trading to personalized management.
At the moment of writing this review, Kraken supports 33 cryptocurrencies and 131 crypto-crypto and crypto-fiat pairs, which is not the most versatile, but still a good variety of cryptocurrency exchange.
We do not promote, endorse, or earn commissions from the trading of securities of any kind, including CFDs, however, eToro requires that we provide you with the following disclaimer: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 62% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Learning from the devastation of Mt. Gox in 2011, Kraken has laid out very strong safety measures for their cryptocurrency exchange. Up to today, there has not been a successful hacking attack on Kraken. We think this is mostly because the majority of their digital assets or up to 95% are kept in cold storage.
They also pay good attention to keeping all sensitive data secure as their servers are protected by a state of the art security systems and armed guards. Kraken has two-factor verification for its users, as well as an email confirmation for withdrawals with a self-serve account lock. The bottom line, Kraken takes its security very seriously.
Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrency so that you and the rest of the world can achieve financial freedom and inclusion.
The Kraken cryptocurrency exchange has services for beginners and more experienced traders.
All users are allowed access to cryptocurrency investments.
33 cryptocurrencies and 131 pairs are available on Kraken as of April 2020.
Kraken offers staking services, and it offers rewards twice a week for the stacked coins.
Over the Counter desks are only available for high volume trades worth over $100K and are available as one-on-one service.
Kraken offers KFEE – “Kraken Fee Credits” which are deposited to user’s accounts occasionally. These are like vouchers and can be used to pay trading fees, opening or rollover fees for marking positions. There is also the rewards program for stacking coins.
Kraken has a little bit of a messy setup with several types of supported wallets that can be a bit confusing, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. They allow users to withdraw crypto and fiat currency and have a somewhat confusing process and charge varying fees.
This is a service for more advanced users that include more complex trading strategies.
Dark pool is an order book that is not visible to the rest of the market, used for anonymous trading large orders without adverse effect on the market.
With futures trading you can hedge your risks when markets are volatile by buying futures contracts.
Kraken’s up-to-the-second pricing information helps you stay informed of the most current market conditions, meaning settlement is accurate and reliable.
This real-time charting service allows day traders to follow the trends in currencies and analyze markets.
For high volume traders, Kraken offers white glove service and support. While most traders will not qualify for this service, those that do will love the care and attention other platforms don’t offer.
At this time Kraken accepts only deposits in Euro, US dollar, Canadian dollars, GB pound, CH franc, and JP yen. Users from Canada can deposit via credit/debit card. All other users can only deposit funds via various bank/wire transfers where some small fee is charged. For EU users, the SEPA wire transfer is free. For fiat deposits, the usual waiting is anywhere from 1 to 5 days.
Kraken also accepts digital currency deposits which are processed and your account can be ready to go in about 10 minutes. There is no limit to cryptocurrency deposits.
You can withdraw your funds in USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, CHF, JPY. There are various withdrawal methods and the fees depend on the selected method. If you wish to withdraw your funds in cryptocurrency, you will need to pay a flat fee for the transaction cost.
In the case of the most popular coins, here are the withdrawal fees: for Bitcoin, it is 0.0005 XBT, for Bitcoin Cash is 0.0001 BCH, for Ethereum is 0.005 ETH, for Litecoin it is 0.001 LTC, and so on.
Kraken is available all across the world with few exceptions. As of April 2020, Kraken does not provide services for the residents of New York State and Washington State, as well as Afghanistan, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Japan, North Korea, and Tajikistan.
The fees for fiat deposits and withdrawals vary and depend on the deposit method selected.
Kraken advertises itself as being liquid. They have a high trading volume, low fees, a lot of active traders, and good funding options, all factors of a liquid exchange. Kraken has several types of limits for its users. These depend on the residency of the trader, the verification level, and the asset that is deposited or withdrawn. There are daily, monthly and yearly limits, which are different for crypto and fiat currencies.
See a complete breakdown of all variations of deposit and withdrawal limits below.
For all verification levels, there is no deposit limit for cryptocurrencies.
Crypto withdrawal limits calculated in USD are as follows:
|Starter Level:||$5K daily||$150K Monthly|
|Intermediate Level:||$500K daily||$15M Monthly|
|Pro Level:||$10M daily||$300M Monthly|
Daily and monthly crypto deposit limits are unlimited for all levels on kraken.
Fiat withdrawal limits calculated in USD are as follows:
|Starter Level:||$0 daily||$0 Monthly|
|Intermediate Level:||$100K daily||$500K Monthly|
|Pro Level:||$10M daily||$100M Monthly|
Fiat Deposit limits calculated in USD are as follows:
|Starter Level:||$0 daily||$0 Monthly|
|Intermediate Level:||$100K daily||$500K Monthly|
|Pro Level:||$10M daily||$100M Monthly|
For US citizens funding or withdrawing from their Kraken accounts using a ‘Normal’ bank wire, the limits works a little differently.
All starter levels are still unable to fund their accounts or withdraw any USD via bank wire. Intermediate and Pro and Pro Corporate levels are as follows:
The number in red refers to the dollar amount you can send or receive via bank wire if you have not provided an enhanced AML POSOF (Proof of Source of Funds) document to Kraken.
So for instance, if you are an intermediate level trader who has provided a POSOF document to Kraken, you could withdraw $200K over the course of 30 days or you could deposit $100K in any 24 hour period.
At the time of writing this review, Kraken supports the following cryptocurrencies (in alphabetical order): Algorand, Augur, Basic Attention Token, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, Chainlink, Cosmos, Dai, Dash, Dogecoin, EOS, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Gnosis, ICOn, Lisk, Litecoin, Monero, Nano, OmiseGO, PAX Gold, Quantum, Ripple (XRP), Siacoin, Stellar Lumens (XLM), Tether, Tezos, Tron, USD Coin, waterMelon, WAVES, and Zcash.
Kraken does not have a dedicated desktop app that the user needs to download. Instead, to be able to trade cryptocurrencies, the user logs in through the official website.
Once the users log in to their accounts, they are taken to the user interface which is not very beginner-friendly. The background is optional with 14 different color schemes, all with a sleek, modern look. The settings allow customizations per each user’s preferences. The main market lists all the available cryptocurrencies and pairs and by clicking on the asset you like, you are taken to an expanded look of the asset.
On the left of the screen, you get to see several graphs analyzing the trading history. The right side of the screen has your trading portfolio where you can see your action to buy/sell, allot funds, select the quantity, and see your trading history.
This is not the simplest of exchanges to use, as many symbols and abbreviations need to be looked up if you are starting with cryptocurrency trading. For the people that want to only test out Kraken, there is a test/demo account that one can sign up for. But as this company states, they do not provide virtual balance accounts that clients can use to play on Kraken.
Kraken has a mobile app available for iOs and Android users. There is also a mobile-friendly version of the official site that users can use without installing the app. Both the mobile-friendly site and the mobile app allow you to trade on the go. The app allows more versatility like following short-term price movement and the like.
The Kraken mobile app requires an API key instead of a user/pass login. After downloading the app, you will be shown instructions on how to generate the API Key. There is also a login option with a QR code that you generate within your Kraken profile settings page.
The mobile app does not allow depositing and withdrawing funds at this time. Kraken officials have stated that they are working on adding this feature soon. The app allows simplified viewing to fit a smaller screen with all the options available on the desktop version. To make it more comfortable, it is available in several color schemes, including dark mode.
If you opt to fund your Kraken account with cryptocurrency the wait time depends on the blockchain. Any transaction in cryptocurrency needs to be confirmed by the blockchain to avoid double-spending. In the case of a Bitcoin, the usual wait is about 10 minutes for a block to be mined and to reach one confirmation. Kraken requires 3 before they will consider your coins deposited.
In the case of opting for a fiat currency deposit, the waiting time depends on the selected method, but the wait is usually between 1 and 5 business days for all types of deposits.
Users can withdraw cryptocurrencies from their accounts and send them to a preferred address. To withdraw coins, the user needs to select the preferred address where the coins should be sent and the amount for withdrawal.
The actual waiting time depends on each crypto blockchain and the number of blockchain confirmations required by the destination address. It seems a little confusing, but once you try it out a couple of times, it will become much clearer.
Important note: for every first-time withdrawal, the user account will be blocked for 72 hours, which most users find annoying. This waiting period is done to protect new users from an unauthorized withdrawal.
Kraken offers reasonable customer support, but some users have complained about the slowness of their service. There is an extensive customer support page with a lot of information about the accounts, depositing, withdrawing, and verification. After navigating through the support pages, I found it a bit confusing, as there are a lot of similar and somewhat confusing explanations. There is a 24/7 live chat on the bottom right corner of the website.
Some users have complained about the 72-hour account freeze for first-time withdrawal as well as not being able to use your coins when you need them. This can be a cause for concern, as the value of the coins can significantly decline during the three-day wait.
Unlike Coinbase, which is essentially a platform of crypto spyware, Kraken has not implemented any unreasonably intrustive measures. At least, none that aren’t legally required. The Crypto community has therefore praised Kraken and its founder for being a reliable place to trade virtual currencies. Kraken has a quality blog section with numerous articles on cryptocurrencies, trading with crypto, and other similar content. It is their company mission to “accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrency”, and they are very vocal on all crypto-related matters.
Thankfully, Kraken has not opted to try and trademark or patent any sort of crypto related tech.
Kraken does keep track of what addresses you send coins to and where you receive coins from. But, they are not known to do any further chain analysis beyond those sending and receiving addresses. This is in contrast to an exchange like Coinbase and Coinbase Pro that is known to gather as much information as possible about its users and violate their privacy.
Kraken has a very strong security system in place. This platform was founded after the Mt. Gox security breach. The founder of Kraken, Jesse Powell noticed the mistakes with Mt. Gox and used these as guides to help him create a safer, more secure crypto exchange. Today Kraken has a very secure system, with the majority of assets in cold storage, two-factor verification for its users, and with API key/QR code for mobile users.
There was one small incident in 2017, though. Kraken was the target of a DDoS (denial-of-service) attack, but the exchange was not cracked. Users were just unable to login for a few hours.
Users should never hold their coins long term on the Kraken platform (or any platform for that matter). All coins should be held by the user in a hardware wallet until they are ready to spend or sell them. This does not mean that Kraken is not safe. But sometimes even the safest platforms on Earth can be broken. You also do not know what sort of regulatory changes will happen and force firms like Kraken to shut down or freeze accounts. It is always better to hold your own coins than to let someone else hold them.
There are many reasons why a Kraken account can be frozen and these are listed on a support page. Many of them may be due to the discretion of the US government or for Kraken to investigate any fraud they suspect is occurring on the account.
Kraken has been audited and it was proven that this exchange holds reserves that exceed the user’s funds on the exchange. In case of a serious problem, Kraken can cover the funds, and any concerned user can cryptographically verify that their funds are covered by the reserves.
Kraken is not FDIC insured. Still, Kraken has stated that they hold several hundred million dollars of Bitcoin in an insurance fund.
The last time Kraken was down was in 2018 after a scheduled upgrade took over 48 hours instead of the planned 2 hours.
Kraken undergoes regular third party auditing using Blockstream’s cryptographically-verified proof of reserves tool. This process is meant to prove that Kraken is not taking user funds and then loaning them out or trading with them. By proving that reserves are met, users can be sure that when they go to withdraw their coins, they will be able to. The audit is so good that users can cryptographically verify their individual Kraken account balance and its inclusion in the audit.
Kraken is the ONLY exchange on the planet that has performed this audit and passed.
Kraken collects information related to identity like name, identification number, location, online identification, and physical, economic, cultural, or societal identity of you as a natural person. They also receive information about you from third-parties like banks, business partners, advertising networks, and more.
Kraken has a very extensive KYC questionnaire that is required for the verification of the user account. The starter verification level only requires some basic information, where the intermediate and pro verification levels require a lot of information and require supporting documentation.
The starter tier requires a two-factor login, email, full name, date of birth, phone number, and a physical address.
The Intermediete and Pro Tiers require a two-factor login, email, full name, date of birth, phone number, and a physical address. The intermediate and pro verification levels also require a valid ID, proof of residence, occupation, SSN and ID Confirmation Photos for US clients, and a face photo for German and South African clients.
There is an AML policy instated, and the exchange will do everything it can to prevent people from laundering money, committing fraud or other financial crimes, or any other illegal conduct.
No, Kraken does not allow any of its users to trade cryptocurrencies without a KYC compliant/verified account.
Creating a Kraken account is relatively simple and straightforward. All users need to provide a name, email, phone number, date of birth, physical address, and two-factor login.
Verify account – the verification process is a little lengthier. The different verification levels have different documentation which is similar to opening a bank account. For the starter level, the verification is automated and takes up to one hour, the intermediate level is manual and takes up to 6 hours, while the pro-level takes up to five days and is manual. For a Pro Corporate level, it can take more than five days.
Kraken has 2FA authentication and these are delivered via Google Authenticator or Yubikey.
Google Authenticator requires that you usa a code that needs to be entered upon every login. We recommend that you buy a yubikey instead and don’t use Google Authenticator.
You can find which yubikey is best for you on our Yubikey buying guide.
The next step before starting trading on Kraken is to fund your account.
Kraken accepts fiat funding in USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, CHF, and JPY. Credit and Debit cards are not supported.
The only available funding method is a bank or wire transfer. The name on the bank account must match the name on the Kraken account and depending on the location of the user, there are different methods like SEPA (for EU residents), FedWire (for US residents), SWIFT for worldwide option.
Funding account with crypto – if you have cryptocurrencies that you’d like to fund your Kraken account with, you can do it after verifying your account. You will need to specify the address where to transfer the funds to, from the wallet where you currently store your cryptocurrencies. You can only transfer crypto coins that are supported by Kraken and there could be a small address setup fee and deposit fee for some cryptos.
Buying coins on Kraken is a little complex for first-time users, as there are several steps to go through before you can commit to your first buy. After depositing funds into your account, there is a step-by-step guide to help you through your first purchase. A slight maker or taker fee depends on the option you select.
This is similar to the buying coins section, and the site has a detailed guide that can help you through your sell order.
Withdrawing funds – the withdrawal process is complex and takes getting used to, as there are several options. To withdraw fiat currency the advised method is SWIFT bank transfer, as Kraken does not support cash, credit, and debit or third-party payment systems.
To withdraw cryptocurrency, you need to specify and confirm a withdrawal address that can be set up from your Kraken account. Note that all first-time withdrawals in fiat currency result with a 72-hour account lockdown, which is unpleasant.
There are no scams associated with Kraken. First-time withdrawals of fiat funds will result in a 72-hour account lockdown. Many users who did not know this have been surprised as they planned purchase and were unable to reach their funds and account during this period. Angry about the freeze, some have gone online to accuse Kraken of stealing, but this freeze is clearly outlines in their TOS and is actually a measure to prevent theft.
Also, all users should be aware of the withdrawal fees that range from $5 - $35 depending on the withdrawal method. In the case of crypto coin withdrawal, different fees depending on the coin you are withdrawing and are 0.0005 XBT for Bitcoin, 0.0001 BCH for Bitcoin Cash, 0.005 ETH for Ethereum, and so on.
CoinMama is not a cryptocurrency exchange in the traditional sense of the word, as this is a regulated site where people can buy cryptocurrencies. CoinMama currently supports ten cryptocurrencies, where Kraken offers trading of 33 cryptocurrencies. The funding of the Kraken user account is only via bank/wire transfer and crypto coins, whereas CoinMama supports buying cryptos via credit/debit card, cash, and even Western Union.
Kraken has excellent security, storing up to 95% of their digital assets in cold storage, and keeping their servers under video surveillance and armed guards. CoinMama does not store any digital funds, instead, they immediately send the coins to the confirmed wallet address of the user.
Binance is a crypto-to-crypto exchange with over 200 currencies, and it does not offer any crypto-to-fiat pairs. Opposed to this, Kraken has only 33 cryptocurrencies and both crypto-to-crypto and crypto-to-fiat pairs. Kraken has been a target of attacks but has not been cracked (that we know of up to date), where Binance was hacked in May of 2019, though no assets were harmed.
Binance is a more user-friendly, with a more intuitive design, where Kraken has a more advanced user interface. Also, Kraken charges a 0.16% Maker fee and a 0.26% Taker fee, while Binance only changes 0.1% Maker and 0.1 % Taker fees.
Kraken’s founder stated that after visiting the Mt. Gox offices after the infamous security breach, he was inspired to create a more secure, more reliable cryptocurrency exchange. Today Kraken holds the largest volume of bitcoin-to euro-trading and they have since moved on to offer 33 cryptocurrencies, many different pairs, and several trading services.
This platform is safety-oriented, keeping about 95% of their digital assets in cold storage, and their servers are under a sophisticated surveillance system and armed guards. This exchange takes fiat deposits in USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, CHF, and JPY only via bank/wire transfer and no credit/debit card deposits. Kraken takes cryptocurrency deposits, and they have affordable fees for both deposits and withdrawals.
As a conclusion, we can say that Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange with good services, albeit oriented more towards the experienced trader and not as beginner-friendly as some other exchanges. They provide a good knowledge base, have an extensive support center, 24/7 online support along with full reserves of properly held funds.
Kraken is not FDIC insured as cryptocurrency markets are not under FDIC protection. Still, Kraken holds reserve funds that can be cryptographically verified.
Any user can withdraw their funds via bank/wire transfer and the exact method depends on the country of origin of the client.
Kraken has a relatively complex withdrawal method followed by account lockdown for a certain amount of time. The funds are usually received within 5 business days.
Kraken allows its users to keep their coins on the exchange indefinitely, and they provide several options like futures trades or stacking options to help the clients earn while keeping the coins on Kraken.
Kraken is located in San Francisco, California, USA.
Kraken is not a regulated exchange but is one of the most avid supporters of a self-regulatory model of cryptocurrency exchanges. They belong to the Federal Reserve’s Data Asset Transfer Authority (DATA) and Japan Authority of Digital Assets (JATA).
Up to the point of writing this review, Kraken has not been hacked. They keep most of the digital assets offline and use two-factor authentication for the user accounts.