Review: Kraken Digital Assets

Discover Pros & Cons of Kraken Crypto Exchange

Updated: Nov 23rd, '22


What is Kraken?

Is Kraken a legitimate financial institution you can trust with your savings? Does this cryptocurrency exchange have reasonable fees? Can you say that Kraken is user-friendly? These and many other questions will be covered in this in-depth review of one of the most popular and long-standing cryptocurrency trading platforms in the world.

Kraken has been around since 2011 and the company's headquarter is in San Francisco, California. Kraken is considered to be one of the most secure exchanges on the market, with a long list of features designed to protect both traders and their assets. In this article, we will take a closer look at whether Kraken is a good choice.

Kraken logo

Kraken: Quick Facts

Founded 2011
Headquarters San Francisco, USA
Users > 9'000'000
Official website kraken.com
Crypto 185+ coins available
Stocks Not available
Metals Not available
Card Not available

⚠️ Warning! Investment is never without risk. You may lose your investment due to market risks involved.  ⚠️

Key Facts About Kraken

Kraken is a digital asset exchange that offers a wide range of assets, including cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, and commodities. It’s one of the oldest and most well-established exchanges in the industry, with over 4 million users from all over the world. Kraken offers a highly intuitive trading interface that’s suitable for both beginners and experienced traders. It also has an advanced trading platform for more experienced users.

Kraken supports a wide range of fiat currencies, including USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, and JPY. Along with it, there are multiple ways to fund your wallet provided by Kraken, as the company provides its services in over 190 countries globally. This crypto exchange also supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Stellar (XLM), EOS (EOS), Augur (REP), Tether (USDT), and Zcash (ZEC).

Kraken is one of the biggest names in the crypto industry.

Kraken has built up a very solid reputation in the industry and is often recommended as one of the best exchanges for both beginners and experienced traders. Kraken prides itself on the fact that it is the only major cryptocurrency exchange that has not been exposed to hackers or data leaks. It was also the first exchange in the world to volunteer for an extensive "Proof of Reserves" audit. This regular series of exhaustive checks independently verifies that the assets of Kraken users are stored securely and are present in the reserves at a 1:1 ratio. This means that even in the most dire and extreme circumstances, all of the digital assets you store with the exchange are 100% safe.

Kraken is enjoyed by over 9 million clients all over the world as has a long list of features that make it an attractive option for all kinds of users, beginners and pros alike. We will cover the key Kraken advantages and unique features in the next section.

Kraken: Unique Features

Wide Range of Assets Available

Kraken supports a wide range of digital assets, providing users with an ability to buy and sell more than 185 cryptocurrencies. This makes the exchange a good option for those who want to diversify their crypto portfolios by including lesser-known altcoins. On top of that, having access to so many coins and tokens means you will never have a FOMO moment once previously-overlooked assets start trending. This means that trading crypto with Kraken enables your investment strategy to be as efficient as your trading acumen allows.

User-friendly Trading Clients on All Platforms

Kraken's crypto trading interface is very clean, the platform itself is very easy to use and it is suitable for both beginners and experienced traders. Next to the standard "consumer" apps made with beginner to intermediate-level trader in mind, Kraken also offers an advanced trading platform. The advanced trading platform (called "Kraken Pro") is a standalone app that was built with more experienced traders in mind. These who take crypto trading seriously are invited to "supercharge their trades" using a wide range of advanced trading features. These include: deep liquidity across various markets (allowing you to easily trade large amounts), high rate limits thanks to extremely swift and robust API and very low spreads.

Kraken provides both a consumer (retail) app and a Pro one.

Margin Trading

Margin trading amplifies your trades, giving you an ability to execute trades using amounts exceeding your total deposit. Kraken offers up to 5x leverage, and you can use that to go short or long on a cryptocurrency of choice quickly and easily. For high-stakes crypto traders, Kraken offers high margin limits - eligible users have access to up to $500'000. Another benefit of margin trading at Kraken is low rollover fees - you pay just 0,02% per period for your leverage.

Tip: Confused about the trading jargon? Visit our investor's dictionary and get up to speed with all the lingo in no time!

Staking Your Cryptocurrencies

You can earn up to 21% annually by staking your crypto at Kraken. Staking your coins only takes a few clicks and you can instantly unstake your assets whenever you need them. An additional plus of staking crypto at Kraken is that the rewards are transferred to your account twice a week, unlike most other exchanges offer. Surprisingly, you can also stake fiat currencies off-chain, and get up to 3% annual return on USD and 1,5% on EUR.

Crypto Indices

Powered by CF Benchmarks, Kraken's cryptocurrency indices are institutional-grade tool based on up-to-the-second pricing data. This means that the crypto index prices always 100% reflect the state of affairs on the broader crypto market. The pricing indices included are based on Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin. If you are in the market for utilizing a regulated financial product with high integrity to supplement your investment portfolio, Kraken crypto index is a great solution you should definitely consider.

Crypto Futures

Futures, as defined in our investor's dictionary, are a specific type of contract for executing a transaction at a later date. Investors who are confident in certain asset's price increasing or decreasing at a certain point in time may choose to commit to a futures contract to secure profit in the future.

Kraken's crypto futures come with additional benefits. Not only users are provided with leverage to amplify their transacting power, but they can also hedge against spot market volatility, no matter which way the market moves. Overall, an ability to gain exposure to a wide range of digital assets without owning them (called "multi-collateral advantage" by Kraken) is a very powerful tool in your arsenal.

⚠️ Warning! Investment is never without risk. You may lose your investment due to market risks involved.  ⚠️

You can be confident in Kraken's security and your data's privacy.

Kraken: Fee Structure

Unlike some of the other cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken pricing model is very transparent and straightforward. As is standard in the industry, the fees for "consumer" products (these aimed at casual "retail" investors) are significantly higher than the ones for the advanced "Pro" trading platform. With fees as low as 0%, Kraken is one of the most cost-efficient trading platforms you can sign up for. Find the Kraken cost tables with fees for each of the product types below.

Kraken: Instant Buy Commission
Fee type Stablecoins Other coins & currencies
Kraken Fee 0,9% 1,5%
Bank card processing 3,75% + $0,25 3,75% + $0,25
Digital wallet processing 3,75% + $0,25 3,75% + $0,25
Online banking / ACH 0,5%

Our advice: Avoid using "Instant buy" to purchase crypto with a bank card. This is not unique to Kraken - every exchange imposes high fees on these transactions as the bank card processors take a significant cut the exchange has to compensate somehow. Instead, deposit assets in your account via bank transfer and buy the coins you are after once it hits your account. You will end up saving up to 3% of your funds, which is a very significant amount, even if your investment is quite small.

Kraken Pro: Fee Structure
30-Day Volume Maker fees Taker fees
$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% 0.14%
$5,000,001 - $10,000,000 0.02% 0.12%
$10,000,000+ 0.00% 0.10%

Context: Your trade order might have either taker or maker fees applied to it. Trades get the maker fee if your order is not immediately matched against an open order already on the books (meaning you add liquidity by expanding the exchange's volume of assets on the books). Taker fees are applied to trades that get immediately matched with an order already in the books (thus, reducing the liquidity of the exchange overall). In general, the more popular (reflected in daily trading volume) your asset of choice is, the lower your trading fees are.

Kraken: Fees for Stablecoins, FX Pairs & Pegged Tokens
30-Day Volume (USD) Maker Taker
$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%
$1,000,000+ 0.00% 0.00%

Kraken fees are very reasonable - the crypto powerhouse leverages its position as one of the world's largest and oldest exchanges to provide its users with an attractive fee structure. The exchange also encourages you to trade frequently and with a high transaction volume by decreasing platform's commission as your trading volume increases. Kraken is definitely an excellent choice if you are serious about cryptocurrency trading, meaning your efficiency as a trader scales with the amount of trades you execute.

Kraken: Futures Commissions (Maker & Taker Fees)
30-Day Volume (USD) Maker Fee Taker Fee
$0 - $100,000 0.0200% 0.0500%
$100,001 - $1,000,000 0.0150% 0.0400%
$1,000,001 - $5,000,000 0.0125% 0.0300%
$5,000,001 - $10,000,000 0.0100% 0.0250%
$10,000,001 - $20,000,000 0.0075% 0.0200%
$20,000,001 - $50,000,000 0.0050% 0.0150%
$50,000,001 - $100,000,000 0.0025% 0.0125%
$100,000,001 + 0.0000% 0.0100%

Fees imposed by Kraken for trading futures follow the suit - the exchange wants you to get on the next level, facilitating its mission of driving cryptocurrency adoption all over the world. It is important to keep in mind that you can also take advantage of leverage provided by the platform when trading futures. This means that the gains required to make up for the costs involved in using the platform are easier to achieve, meaning your margins increase if your strategy is successful.

Kraken is a global crypto exchange.

Kraken: Pros & Cons

Advantages

How does Kraken compare to competing crypto exchanges and "all-in-one" investment apps like Bitpanda that allow you to buy and sell cryptocurrencies? In addition to various benefits (and some of the downsides) we already mentioned, here is our selection of Kraken's most important advantages.

  • Plus sign
    Secure & Reliable. Kraken always had a "security-first" approach, introducing multiple layers of protection to ensure the safety of your assets.
  • Plus sign
    Very Simple Interface. As a beginner, it is important you get the most important info without being overloaded. Kraken accomplishes that with flying colors.
  • Plus sign
    Incredible Selection of Coins. With over 185 cryptocurrencies available, Kraken has the widest selection on the market.
  • Plus sign
    Regulated & Frequently Audited. Kraken's assets under management are stored at a 1:1 ratio, meaning your funds are safe regardless of whatever extreme circumstances might occur.
  • Plus sign
    Trustworthy & Reliable. Kraken is widely recognized as one of industry's biggest and most influential names, with numerous institutional clients.
  • Plus sign
    High Liquidity Available. Kraken's popularity ensures there is sufficient liquidity at all times, meaning your fees tend to be lower.

Downsides

Beyond the advantages of buying and selling cryptocurrencies using Kraken are a few downsides we want to warn potential new Kraken customers about.

  • Minus sign
    Non-Pro Fees. Just like most other exchanges, Kraken charges higher fees for trades executed outside of Pro platform. You can mitigate that by simply using Pro interface once you get more comfortable.
  • Minus sign
    Crypto-only. This is not a downside if your goal is to invest in crypto, but you might need an additional app to trade stocks and commodities as well.
  • Minus sign
    Basic Mobile Apps. However, this might actually be an upside for an inexperienced trader. All the basics are included without any fluff.

How To Create A Free Kraken Account

Intrigued by Kraken's secure and powerful, yet user-friendly platform and want to try it out? Luckily, creating a Kraken account is absolutely free and comes with a "no-strings-attached" policy, so there really is no reason to ignore this exchange. Here are a few simple steps you need to follow to open a Kraken account:

  1. Select Your Client

    Navigate to Kraken's official website or download Kraken's app in either Google Play or App Store. Follow simple on-screen instructions to create your account and verify your email address.

  2. Verify Your Identity

    A regulatory requirement and a standard process for signing up to any digital banking or investment app. It takes approximately 5 minutes and the only things you need are your smartphone's camera and your ID.

  3. Secure Your Account

    When dealing with financial services apps and websites, it is of paramount importance to take every step necessary to secure your funds and personal information. Set up 2FA (two-factor authentication) - there is no point in risking it.

  4. Fund Your Account

    Once you do that, the only to-do item left is to add money to your account. You can use a variety of payment methods to do so - we suggest using a bank transfer for best results and lowest commission.

  5. Start Investing!

    You are now all set and ready to start investing in digital assets with Kraken! Make sure to trade responsibly and always acknowledge the risks associated with any investment.

Kraken Pro is a powerful trading platform.

Kraken: Frequently Asked Questions

We identified some of the specific aspects of Kraken that interest (or confuse!) a lot of our visitors. In the following F.A.Q. we attempt to clear up some of these, one question at a time.

How do I add money to my Kraken account?

There are multiple ways to fund your account Kraken offers. Firstly, as soon as your account gets "Starter" level verification or higher, you can deposit any digital assets or cryptocurrencies into your account. For fiat funding, you can use your bank card - however, this involves significant fees we mentioned above. You can deposit cash in some locations, but the best fiat account funding option is still just sending a bank transfer from your bank account.

To see all of the options available in your region and the fees associated with these, sign in to your Kraken account and navigate to the "Funding" tab in the desktop client.

Can I have multiple Kraken accounts?

Yes, you are allowed to have multiple Kraken accounts, unless you are based in Japan. The only rule that applies in this case is that you can not use multiple accounts in order to circumvent the withdrawal and deposit limits imposed on your highest verification level account. However, you can always message Kraken support to request for an increase in limits.

Can I create a joint Kraken account?

Unlike banks we covered in our "Best Joint Bank Accounts" rating, Kraken does not have an option of opening a joint account. That is a strict legal requirement imposed by the authorities on digital asset exchanges - an account might only have one owner. You can, however, fund your Kraken account from a joint bank account, so it's not impossible to embark on an investment journey together!

Is there a Kraken demo account?

You can create a demo account for Kraken Futures! However, there are no demo accounts available for trading on the "core" crypto exchange.

Kraken is an industry-leading crypto powerhouse

Kraken Alternatives

Looking for an alternative to Kraken? Below is our selection of the best investment apps and platforms we suggest you consider. We also suggest you discover our list of the most popular investment apps, stock brokers and crypto exchanges when making your decision.

eToro

  • Demo account
  • Crypto staking
  • CopyTrader
  • PayPal support
  • Low fees

eToro is a world-famous award-winning broker that offers an impressive range of assets at very competitive rates. Stocks, ETFs, CFDs, Forex and a variety of crypto assets with a very fast onboarding process and a user-friendly interface.

  • HQ: Tel Aviv, IS
  • Users: 27'000'000
  • Founded in: 2007
  • Stocks & ETFs: ✔️
  • Cryptocurrencies: ✔️
  • Metals:
  • Card available:

Trade Republic

  • Easy to use
  • Over 9000 assets
  • Regulated institution
  • Savings plans
  • Derivatives available

A fully-regulated German investment platform for trading stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, Trade Republic is an up-and-coming financial institution with a very easy-to-use product aimed at people looking to make first steps on their investment journey.

  • HQ: Munich, DE
  • Users: > 1'000'000
  • Founded in: 2015
  • Stocks & ETFs: ✔️
  • Cryptocurrencies: ✔️
  • Metals:
  • Card available:

DEGIRO

  • Low trading fees
  • International
  • Great choice of securities
  • International awards
  • Regulated and compliant

European brokerage company aimed at retail investors that gives users an opportunity to buy and sell stocks, bonds, options and ETFs via powerful online trading platform. DEGIRO has been experiencing explosive growth due to its low fees and high security.

  • HQ: Amsterdam, NL
  • Users: > 2'000'000
  • Founded in: 2008
  • Stocks & ETFs: ✔️
  • Cryptocurrencies:
  • Metals:
  • Card available:

⚠️ Warning! Investment is never without risk. You may lose your investment due to market risks involved.  ⚠️

Our Verdict: Is Kraken The Best Crypto Exchange?

Kraken is one of the best and most reliable cryptocurrency exchanges that we've used. They offer a wide range of features, low fees, and have been around for a long time (which is a rare and a very valuable characteristic in the crypto industry). Of course, no single solution is perfect - for instance, unlike the all-in-one investment platform Bitpanda, Kraken does not offer stocks, ETFs nor precious metals. It also does not provide any "social trading" features eToro does. Kraken chooses a different route - doing one thing, but doing it on a world-class level. And it definitely succeeds in doing so, as evident by the crypto exchange's growth in the amount of customers, trading volume and its geographical expansion.

Overall, we can definitely vouch for Kraken - it is a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable and feature-rich cryptocurrency exchange (with a cool logo!).


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