Kraken vs Coinbase | Crypto Exchange Comparison
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Kraken and Coinbase are two of the mainstream cryptocurrency exchanges. Both platforms allow customers to buy different cryptos using fiat money, such as USD and EUR. Each trading website serves both experienced and beginner investors. In this Kraken vs Coinbase comparison, we will review different features of the two platforms to help users make an informed decision.
Kraken is one of the pioneer cryptocurrency exchanges. Initially launched in 2011, it started operating publicly in September 2013. Jesse Powell is the CEO of Kraken and so far, the company has its headquarters in San Francisco. In its first year of activity, Kraken gained a strong community around it.
It has become one of the most decent cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world. Currently, Kraken has the biggest Euro and Bitcoin trading volume in the entire global crypto space. In 2013, the trading platform listed on Bloomberg Terminals its Bitcoin price starts and became the first exchange ever to do so.
Additionally, in 2013 Kraken implemented, for the first time, an exchange audit system, which operates on a verifiable cryptographic proof of reserves.
Coinbase is another best cryptocurrency exchange, which is also based in San Francisco. Since its launch in 2012, it has amassed a user base of over 25 million people, and its services can be accessed by people from 30 countries. The platform was designed to work similarly to PayPal, facilitating the use of crypto technology through a user-friendly and familiar payment system.
After just one year, its growth attracted top partnerships, including Expedia, Dell, Time Inc, PayPal, and other recognized companies to support Bitcoin payments. Coinbase allows users to trade at a set price based on the current market value of the crypto, meaning that assets can be bought faster, as there is no waiting for the orders to be matched.
Kraken vs Coinbase: Supported Currencies
Another important factor in our Kraken vs Coinbase comparison is the variety of cryptocurrencies. So, users do not have to worry, because both platforms offer a long list of popular digital assets, including:
- Ripple (XRP);
- Bitcoin (BTC);
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH);
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC);
- Dash (DASH);
- Litecoin (LTC).
However, Kraken supports five fiat currencies: US Dollar, Euro, Pound Sterling, Canadian Dollar, and Japanese Yen. You can find more about all supported cryptos on the official Coinbase and Kraken pages, as their lists are updated regularly.
Kraken vs Coinbase: Payment Options
Coinbase supports the following payment options:
- Bank transfer (as well as ACH in the US and SEPA in the EU);
- Credit cards;
- Debit cards;
- PayPal (withdrawal only);
- Listed cryptos;
- CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, & USD.
It is worth noting that Kraken accepts payments in a number of fiat and cryptocurrencies, as well as SEPA, SWIFT, wire, and domestic transfers.
Kraken vs Coinbase: Supported Countries
Kraken supports all countries, except those mentioned below:
- North Korea.
Kraken is also accessible to US traders, except for the State of Washington (WA) and New York residents.
Coinbase services are available to users from the following countries: Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Kraken vs Coinbase: Fees
Kraken has a maker-taker fee system that is based on a 30-day volume:
|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%|
The fees vary depending on currency pair and volume, but, on average, it has lower fees compared to Coinbase. This is because Coinbase provides extra features than Kraken, such as instant card transfers, which are rather costly. Coinbase has the following fee structure:
- $10 and below: $0.99 fee;
- $10 to $25: $1.49 fee;
- $25 to $50: $1.99 fee;
- $50 to $200: $2.99 fee.
Bank transfer purchases usually come with a fee of 1.49%, while card purchases have applied a fee of 3.99%.
Kraken vs Coinbase: Creating an Account
Creating a Coinbase account is a relatively straightforward process. You submit your personal information, email, phone number, and ID photo; then, you have to wait for your account to be verified.
After this, you will have to add a payment method. On Coinbase, you can choose between bank transfer and credit/debit card. The credit/debit card options require you to upload a photo of your card. Bank transfers are less expensive but can take up to five working days for funds to be deposited in your account. Debit and credit card deposits are faster but costlier in terms of fees. Transaction limits for a Coinbase account depend on verification status, deposit method, and country of residence.
Kraken registration is also simple. You sign up with your details, wait for the account activation key in your email, and activate your account.
The verification part is a bit trickier, as Kraken is an exchange that deals with various fiat currencies. Kraken features five levels of verification. Each level comes with more features than the previous one in terms of limits and trading:
- Tier 0: No deposits and withdrawals. Requirements: Sign up;
- Tier 1: Can deposit (no limits) and withdrawal ($2.5k daily & $20k monthly) cryptos. Requirements: Full name, country of residence, DOB, & phone number;
- Tier 2: Can deposit ($2k daily & $10k monthly) and withdrawal ($2k daily & $10k monthly) with fiat currency. Additional features: higher monthly and daily limits, margin trading. Requirements: Tier 1+ address verification;
- Tier 3: Higher fiat deposit limits ($25k daily & $200k monthly) and withdrawals ($25k daily & $200k monthly). Crypto daily withdrawal limit becomes $50k and monthly limit is $200k. Requirements: Tier 2+ ID, proof of address, social security number (US only), & ID confirmation photo;
- Tier 4: For corporate accounts.
Kraken vs Coinbase: Customer Support
When it comes to user opinions on the Kraken vs Coinbase customer support matter, both exchanges offer good customer services.
Coinbase’s customer support can be reached via email and phone. Users have reported the support team to have decent response times, usually replying within 24-48 hours for support tickets. Kraken features a 24/7 chat support as well as a ticketing system. The exchange has been rated to have good customer service, but there have been some issues regarding account verification times.
Kraken vs Coinbase: Security
As both companies are based in the U.S., they have to be fully compliant with all U.S. laws and regulations. Moreover, Kraken and Coinbase apply the highest standards in the industry when it comes to crypto and fiat storage. Kraken has so far never been hacked, and this is because CEO, Jesse Powell, worked before at Mt. Gox and probably applied what he learned from that experience. The exchanges keep their company and user funds segregated, and most of the crypto funds (98%) are stored in a cold wallet.
Other protection measurements that are included by both exchanges are 2-factor authentication and an intricate identity verification process. Coinbase offers an extra safety measure, as it has insured its online crypto funds by a syndicate of Lloyd’s of London. U.S. customers’ USD wallets are insured by the FDIC for losses of up to $250,000.
Kraken vs Coinbase: Verdict
The Kraken vs Coinbase argument has no clear answer. It all mostly depends on the personal needs and preferences of a trader. Each of the two crypto exchange platforms has its benefits and downsides. For instance, Kraken is secure and reliable. It also offers low fees and high trade limits. However, the platform doesn’t favor U.S. users with its limited trading options. Besides, verifications take longer on Kraken, and its user interface isn’t very beginner-friendly.
Similarly, Coinbase offers an excellent user experience and easy funding options. It also accepts fiat currencies. However, the platform is not available in all countries, and some coins are not accepted. Another factor to consider is that they may have quite high fees compared to other exchanges.
As a user, you should make an informed decision based on your needs. We hope that our Kraken vs Coinbase comparison has helped you get an idea of the main differences between these two platforms.
Note: This post was originally published on 26 January 2019 and has been totally updated for the completeness and veracity of the content on 6 May 2021.