In this Kraken review, we will look at one of the most established cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms on the market.
Kraken has a long-standing reputation as one of the most secure exchanges, and it certainly lives up to it – the security features are one of the strongest in the industry.
However, a complicated interface, the lack of mobile app and slow customer service reply, put the exchange behind its competitors.
Let’s read on to find out more.
- Name: KRAKEN
- Website: www.kraken.com
- Type: Cryptocurrency Exchange; Trading; Margin Trading
- Cryptocurrency: BTC, ETH, XMR, DASH, LTC XRP, XLM, ETC, REP, ICN, MLN, ZEC, XDG, GNO
- Fiat Currency: USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, JPY
- Rating: 7.0/10.0
Kraken has launched six years ago and is one of the world’s most prominent cryptocurrency exchanges.
Based in the US, it also operates in Canada, the EU, Japan, and throughout the whole of the US. It is also the largest Bitcoin exchange globally regarding the volume of Euros and its liquidity.
In June 2016, Kraken proceeded to add Ethereum dark pool trading for those traders looking to trade big with Ethereum. It is also one of the few exchanges that trade with Ven.
The exchange is so highly regarded that it provides the Bloomberg Terminal with its Bitcoin pricing. In 2017, it also launched fiat currency funding options and users can now trade their crypto for Canadian Dollars, US Dollars, British Pounds, and Japanese Yen.
Kraken is owned by Payward Inc and is headquartered in San Francisco, USA.
It requires verification to trade, and it also separates its users into different tiers which have different limits such as how much you can deposit and withdraw. Each level requires different or additional information from the user, so depending on what you want to use it for, and how much personal information you want to hand over, there is a tier for you.
The exchange also offers a unique feature which means you can see what your crypto portfolio is worth in USD, EUR etc. as well as its value in its particular cryptocurrency.
Kraken offers a pretty simple interface when compared with other sites, and it is also customisable so you can tailor it to your level of knowledge.
You can also trade cryptocurrency on Kraken, but we suggest not doing so until you know what you are doing. There are plenty of cryptocurrency and fiat trading pairs to chose from, so you should be able to satiate your trading bug, just by trading usually.
One of the best points about it is that you can buy cryptocurrencies with fiat currency, without having to change it to Bitcoin first, unlike many of its competitors who offer either no, or very limited pairs.
Regarding reputation, not only does it hold its Bloomberg Terminal claim to fame, but it was the first exchange to pass a cryptographically verifiable proof-of-reserves audit, and it became the government of Japan’s court-appointed trustee.
One of the most significant advantages of Kraken is the quick verification of corporate accounts – most exchanges take up to few days to verify company accounts. Kraken, on the other hand, does it within a few hours.
If you Google Kraken, you will find some mixed reviews mainly related to customer service, but on the whole, it is one of the better options out there.
Kraken: Cryptocurrency Offered
Kraken is one of the market leaders regarding the vast range of cryptocurrencies that it offers. The selection on offer far surpasses that of its rivals such as Coinbase.
Cryptocurrencies offered on Kraken include; XBT, BCH, DASH, EOS, ETC, ETH, GNO, ICN, LTC, MLN, REP, USDT, XDG, XLM, XMR, XRP, and ZEC.
Kraken: Depositing Cryptocurrency
Making deposits on Kraken is hassle-free.
You can deposit in EUR, JPY, CAD, USD and in a variety of methods such as SEPA, Wire, and SWIFT.
When it comes to waiting times, you can expect to wait a maximum of five business days, particularly in the case of bank deposits and withdrawals.
Some of the payment providers may ask for additional KYC information, in addition to the details required by Kraken itself. These can include a confirmation photograph or even a proof of source of funds document.
There can also be charges incurred if the bank or intermediary bank converts the currency of the deposit into a different currency and this can also incur additional costs.
Remember you can deposit in fiat currency, or in Bitcoin depending on your circumstances.
Kraken: Withdrawing Cryptocurrency
When it comes to withdrawing on Kraken, it is pretty straightforward.
All that you need to do is navigate to the withdrawal section and click on withdraw. You can withdraw to your wallet or your bank account depending on what you require.
If you wish to withdraw Euro’s and you are in possession of an EU bank account, you also have the option to withdraw via SEPA transfer for a flat rate fee of just €0.09.
When you sign up to Kraken, and to withdraw, you need to make sure to save the withdrawal method details that you need. You can choose from direct to your account, SEPA, Wire, Swift etc.) and you need to make sure that you are suitably verified before trying to process a withdrawal.
When it comes to withdrawal fees, they vary depending on the method, but they average at around 0.19% with a minimum withdrawal amount of $20.
When it comes to Japanese Yen, you have to deposit a minimum of 5000 Yen with no fees to do so, but it costs a maximum of 20 Yen to withdraw.
Kraken: Mobile Application
For those that like to trade on the go, fear not, as there are several choices when it comes to mobile applications.
For iPhone users, there is an official Kraken application which allows you to check the markets and to stay on top of your balance.
Unfortunately, at present, it does not allow trading although this is something that could be in the pipeline for the future as the official Kraken website is taking suggestions from users for features they would like to see.
There is also an unofficial Kraken API available for Android devices so that you can manage your Bitcoin and other altcoins wherever you are.
The app allows you to check your various balances as well as place buy and sell orders. This includes limits, markets, stop-loss, take profit and settle positions.
You can also embark on margin trading with leverage, and to follow the markets in real time. It also offers the ability to efficiently manage your favourite pairs and access all relevant data and charts (including charts from Cryptowatch) for each pair and to keep up to date with news and specialised media on all of the leading currencies.
Your privacy is protected via a PIN code, so you can be sure that your activity is protected.
While this API is not an official app, it has some pretty great reviews from mobile users and is well worth checking out.
The lack of an official application that allows trading is a big minus for Kraken.
The API that is available is fit for purpose, but many prefer to use an official application. Hopefully, this is something that will be fixed in the future.
Kraken: Privacy and Security
Being one of, if not the largest exchange in the world, Kraken take security very seriously.
The exchange comprises of a multitude of security features that prevent the unauthorised access of funds or information. They also pride themselves on high liquidity and full reserves, stable banking relationships and exceptionally high levels of legal compliance.
All deposits go directly to cold wallets and are protected by air-gap isolation from any online connections. Some coins are stored in semi-cold wallets which are guarded by locked drives.
Only the coins that are required to maintain operational liquidity are stored online, and all wallets are encrypted.
When it comes to users accounts, two-factor authentication is required to log in, as well as funding, trading, and anything that uses an API key. Users also have the opportunity to enable an additional two-factor authentication channel, known as a Master Key which allows secure account recovery.
All emails are PGP/GPG encrypted and the system used for the uploading of personal documents is also highly secure.
You can also set a global setting lock which prevents people tampering with account information such as withdrawal addresses, should a hacker gain access to the account.
Armed guards protect the Kraken data centre, video surveillance, retina scans, and their servers are locked inside individual cages. All data is encrypted as well as being replicated and backed up each day.
Having been the victim of DDoS attacks in the past, Kraken uses Cloudflare amongst others to prevent further instances.
Furthermore, all staff working for Kraken have been thoroughly reviewed and vetted, as well as requiring multiple sign-offs to access anything that is remotely sensitive.
Krakens fees depend on what you are trading, or how you are depositing or withdrawing.
The fees that you pay are also tier-based, so the more you trade in your account, the less your transaction fees will be.
Fees are charged on a per-trade basis and are calculated as a percentage of the quote currency volume of the trade. Individual pairs can have fees charged based on the trade’s base currency, which can be specified when you place the order.
The users’ fee volumes are measured by using the market value of the “Fee Volume Currency” at the time the trade is made. It is worth noting that this can be different from the base or quote currency of the pair.
Kraken: Customer Service
When it comes to customer support and service, Kraken does try to excel.
Unfortunately, and due to their popularity, their response times have come under fire in the community, for being a little lacklustre. They also do not offer any phone support which means talking to someone directly, can be a little impossible.
There is, however, a full FAQ section on the website, with a search function that allows you to search for answers before you engage the support team.
There are also lots of posts on various forums where you can find help and guidance for lots of common issues.
Should you still not find any solution to your query, then you can submit a help ticket directly through the website.
Let’s be honest; no trading platform is particularly easy to use or get to grips with, as the very concept of trading is a complicated one.
Kraken is about average when it comes to ease of use, but the fact that there are different tiers available to users does make it a little more accessible.
The layout of the site is easy to navigate and cleanly designed, and once you understand what all the buttons, charts, and graphs are for, it will become a lot easier.
Kraken: Who’s The Platform For?
Kraken has a little bit of something for everyone.
If you are a beginner, it allows you to start off small without overcomplicating things, and if you are more advanced, it can accommodate you as well.
Using it even at the most basic level will still require an element of know-how about trading until you get your confidence up.
Kraken: How to buy your currency, step by step
Buying currency on Kraken is a pretty simple process:
- First of all, you need to deposit funds into your Kraken account. You can deposit cryptocurrency, or fiat currency using a variety of different methods.
- Once the money arrives in your Kraken account, you simply navigate to the order forms under the “New Order” tab.
- You then need to select the currency pair of your choice.
- If you press “buy” and the currency paid x/y is highlighted, then the x currency will be purchased, and the currency y sold.
- If you press “sell” and the currency pair x/y is selected, then x currency will be sold and the y currency will be bought.
- Kraken also offers a full trading guide to assist all traders from start to finish.
Kraken: Overall Rating
Kraken is quite a divisive cryptocurrency exchange.
On the one hand it has a sterling reputation for its size, security, and liquidity, but on the other hand, it falls in two key areas.
These are the lack of an official mobile application where you can trade on the go and a pretty slow customer service response time.
For this, it loses two points. Let us hope that they address these issues in due course, and if they do, we could see Kraken being the best cryptocurrency exchange out there.
While it’s a bad exchange, the interface and trading pairs are slightly outdated. Comparing the Krake review to Binance, for instance, shows quite a lot of shortfalls that put the exchange behind its more modern competitors.