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Kraken Review

By Arthur Crowsonlast Friday at 7:38 PM

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With over $100 million in funding and serving over 10 million customers across 190 countries, San Francisco-based Kraken is one of the five biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in a highly competitive and volatile crypto market. Founded way back in July 2011 by Jesse Powell, Kraken is an ultra-secure highly-regulated exchange with a wide range of trading opportunities for advanced traders.

Keep reading for our complete Kraken Exchange review.

Pros

  • One of the oldest and most highly-regarded crypto exchanges in operation

  • Boosts industrial-grade security and world-class customer service

  • Offers a variety of services including exchange, staking, custody and more

  • Kraken Pro offers extremely low fees

Cons

  • Not as user-friendly as some of its competitors

  • Still restricted in certain states including New York and Washington

  • Staking is not available for US customers

What You Need to Know About Kraken

Kraken is one of the oldest and most regulated crypto exchanges with a history that dates all the way back to 2011.

The exchange has won over millions of crypto traders over the years thanks its highly functional software, top-grade security and exceptionally low fees.

The company offers a number of different products, including the famous exchange, but it also has support for staking, NFTs and institutional-grade custody. Kraken currently has support for 185 different cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin and Ethereum) but that number seemingly grows by the day.

History of Kraken

Kraken started in 2011 when Jesse Powell, who worked as a security consultant on the infamous Mt.Gox exchange, saw the need for a higher quality exchange.

When Mt.Gox eventually did implode in spectacular fashion, Kraken stepped up to the plate by offering one of the most secure crypto products ever brought to market.

The Kraken team focused heavily on regulation and security, which was a sharp contrast to many of the products that were offered at the time. It was one of the first Bitcoin exchanges to be listed on Bloomberg Terminal.

Kraken began by offering Bitcoin, Litecoin and euro trades when it officially launched in 2013 but it quickly added other coins like Ethereum as the industry continued to grow. The burgeoning crypto exchange found early success and started to buy up smaller exchanges such as Coinsetter and Cavirtex. It also acquired Cryptowatch in 2017.

Over the years the site improved by adding a mobile app and an NFT market place in 2021. It’s been estimated the site is worth over $3 billion.

Notable Kraken Features

Kraken has a number of significant features that attract new crypto traders. Here are some of the highlights of Kraken:

Staking

Kraken offers staking on proof-of-stake so that you can earn some passive income on your crypto. This is particular attractive to relative new crypto users who want to earn some side income but don’t want to learn the intricacies of actually running a validator node. The cost of entry is also very low (especially compared to Bitcoin mining) as you can contribute small amounts of crypto an earn interest on it.

Unfortunately staking services are not available to US residents.

Here are some of the popular chains that Kraken supports for staking:

  • Ethereum
  • Solana
  • Polkadot
  • Kusama
  • Cosmos
  • Cardano

Advanced Trading

Kraken offers a number of advanced trading options through its Kraken Pro service. Users can take advantage of ultra low fees with spot or limit orders.

On forex trading, Kraken helps crypto enthusiasts trade 32 cryptocurrencies in more than 140 markets with six fiat currencies: U.S. dollars (USD), euros (EUR), Canadian dollars (CAD), Japanese Yens (JPY), Great Britain Pounds (GBP), and Swiss Francs (CHF).

Leveraged Trading

More famously, Kraken is known for its unprecedented 5-times leverage margins, where you can trade with more money than you deposited. On Kraken, you can short cryptocurrency as well as invest in futures with the same 5-times leverage. High volume traders (over $100K) and institutions can use Kraken’s over the counter (OTC) trading desk with its one-to-one service to help them with their trading needs. Frequent high-volume traders can also get a dedicated account manager for customized attention.

An example of Kraken futures trading

Is Kraken Safe?

Kraken places huge emphasis on security. Its platform has never been hacked. That’s due to its extensive security protocol, which uses cold wallets and armed guards to protect its crypts. Kraken uses 2-factor authentication via Google Authenticator or a YubiKey, has its own security team and a bug bounty program for security lapses, where users get bitcoin for finding security bugs.

A confident Kraken promises the following:

95% of all deposits are kept in offline, air-gapped, geographically distributed cold storage. We keep full reserves so that you can always withdraw immediately on demand.

What Cryptocurrencies Are Supported?

A screenshot of some of the various cryptocurrencies offered on Kraken Exchange.

Kraken offers one of the most diverse selections of cryptocurrencies with over 185 different coins available to buy, sell or trade. It’s especially impressive considering that Kraken is licensed into the USA so it has to deal with more regulation than most exchanges.

There are very few coins you won’t find on Kraken and pretty much all the major digital assets are offered on the site.

Here’s a look at the most popular coins on Kraken:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Cardano
  • Ripple
  • Solana
  • Cosmos
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Polygon
  • Polkadot

Funding Options

Kraken accepts most major payment options including SEPA, SWIFT, wire transfer, ACH, debit card and credit card.

Credit cards and wire transfers to be the most expensive options while ACH is generally the cheapest.

Fees

You’ll run into two different kinds of fee structures on Kraken. The normal fee structure (also referred to as “Buy Now”) is around 1% for most assets.

Meanwhile Kraken Pro operates a make-and-take fee model, which means they charge you differently based on whether you’re adding to or taking liquidity of their platform. These are some of the lowest fees you’ll find on any exchange.

  • Maker fee: 0.00-0.16%
  • Taker/ Spot trading fee: 0.10-0.26% (cheaper for those who trade more than $50,000 a month).
  • Stable coin trading fees 0.000.- 0.2%

You’ll find Kraken’s full list of fees here.

Kraken’s fees are dynamic and adjusted on your previous 30-day trading volume. Different fiat currencies have their own rates, aside from which – and important to note – Kraken has a different fee structure for stable coins and margin trading.

Customer Service

Customer service is a high point for Kraken and tends to get back to customers extremely fast. The site offers phone support, live chat and you can also submit a ticket. It also has an extensive FAQ section that may solve your issue.

Please keep in mind that Kraken support will never ask for your username, password or 2FA so be aware if you are contacted by someone claiming to be support that asks for that info.

Supported Devices

Kraken Exchange is available on every major browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) for every operating system (Windows, MacOS, Linux). It’s also available as a mobile app on iOS and Android, although the mobile app doesn’t have quite as many features.

Conclusion: One of the Best of the Best

It’s hard to go wrong with Kraken. There are very few people in the crypto industry who speak ill of the exchange. It has a stellar reputation that’s been around longer than most exchanges.

The emphasis on security and customer service have made it one of the best exchanges in the word.

The history of crypto is littered with failed exchanges like FTX and Mt.Gox but Kraken has stood the test of time thanks to its prudent security and customer-first approach.

Article tags

Exchanges
Kraken
Arthur Crowson

Editor

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