Kraken Review | Fees, Security, Pros and Cons
In our Kraken exchange review, we will be going through some of the features and characteristics that make this exchange one of the most popular trading venues on the market.
We will go over the top services they provide as an exchange, talk about their pricing and fees, and see what exactly differentiates Kraken from the other crypto exchanges. Many people might ask themselves: Is Kraken safe? or… Should I invest in cryptocurrencies using Kraken? So, you will definitely find the answer below.
Kraken Exchange Overview
Kraken is a crypto-to-crypto and fiat-to-crypto exchange which works like a traditional stock exchange by matching buy and sell orders for a fee. The exchange is one of the most popular crypto trading platforms, and it has one of the highest Bitcoin to euro trading volumes in the world.
Officially founded by Jesse Powell in 2011, Kraken was created as a response to the Mt. Gox security breach. It was among the first cryptocurrency exchanges to be included in Bloomberg’s terminals, as well as to ace a verifiable proof of reserves audit.
The platform is more geared towards professional traders, providing a comprehensive set of tools, such as detailed charting and indicators, as well as crypto-trading options such as margin trading, OTC, dark pool trading, futures contracts, and options. This enables traders to maximize their gains based on market swings, using advanced trading strategies.
SIDENOTE. A crypto dark pool is a private trading platform that allows users to trade without making the transactions public. This allows major players (known as whales) to buy/sell large amounts of crypto without directly impacting the market and the price of the cryptocurrency.
Kraken offers a wide variety of trading options, both in fiat and crypto pairs. The platform supports a total of 50 cryptos, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Zcash (ZEC), Dogecoin (DOGE), EOS (EOS), as well as many other altcoins.
Kraken users can also make deposits and withdrawals with a number of fiat currencies, such as CAD, EUR, GBP, JPY, and USD.
In terms of Ripple trading, Kraken has 4 fiat currency pairs and 1 cryptocurrency pair available:
- USD / Ripple;
- EUR / Ripple;
- CAD / Ripple;
- JPY / Ripple;
- BTC / Ripple.
- New York.
Liquidity and Trading Volumes
The exchange boasts high levels of liquidity, which, in turn, has led to high trading volumes. Good liquidity is essential for an exchange, as trades are funded much easier and faster.
Kraken Review Interface
Kraken’s interface is divided into three templates: Simple, Intermediate, and Advanced. Its trading software is regarded as one of the most complex and comprehensive in the industry, as all its sections include an increasingly diverse set of trading parameters.
While the trading interface may seem a bit cluttered with all its features, it is perfect for advanced traders. This interface comes in 13 color schemes, that can be changed by the user with just one click.
The pricing chart can be set to go into full-size screen mode. The right side of the chart features basic drawing tools, Fibonacci extension, and retracement tools.
In the order book, you can find the bid and ask prices with the trade history and a watch list being listed below.
Users are also able to change the parameters such as moving averages and Bollinger bands for all chart overlays, as well as trading indicators.
Kraken supports the depositing and withdrawing in a number of ways: bank transfers, SEPA, SWIFT, wire transfers, and cryptocurrencies.
You’ll find bellow on our Kraken review about transfer fees that vary based on transaction costs and can be adjusted according to the fee structures of the payment service. The current fees are:
- EUR SEPA: Deposit (Free) / Withdrawal (€0.09) – EEA countries only;
- USD Bank Wire Deposit ($5 USD) / Withdrawal ($5 USD) – the US only;
- EUR Bank Wire Deposit (€10) – outside the US only;
- USD Bank Wire Deposit ($10 USD) / Withdrawal ($60 USD) – outside the US only;
- JPY Bank deposit (Free, ¥5,000 deposit minimum) / withdrawal (¥20) – Japan only;
- CAD Wire Deposit (Free) / EFT Withdrawal ($10 CAD fee, $25K CAD daily max).
Almost all crypto deposits are free of charge, but there are fees when withdrawing:
- Bitcoin (XBT): Withdrawal (0.001 BTC);
- Ether (ETH): Deposit (small transaction fee to move ETH into Kraken’s wallet) / Withdrawal (0.005 ETH);
- Ripple (XRP): Withdrawal (0.02 XRP);
- Litecoin (LTC): Withdrawal (0.02 LTC);
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH): Withdrawal (0.001 BTC);
- Tether (USDT): Withdrawal (5 USDT);
Kraken’s fee structure is a bit more complex, with a maker-taker system that is based on volumes calculated on a 30-day trading period. The fees are charged for each trade made, and are divided into four categories: trading, stablecoin, dark pool, and margin trading.
It is important to note that their dark pool is only available to verified Pro accounts, with the minimum order sizes being 11.5 XBT (~$100,000) and 375 ETH (~$50,000).
Dark pool fees:
Margin trading fees:
Our Kraken Review About The Verification Process
Like all other major crypto exchanges, Kraken complies with both AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations. This means that users who want to use their platform need to verify their account using personal information such as full name and address.
There are 5 tiers of users available on the platform, which are differentiated based on the various actions they perform. Each tier comes with various benefits.
Tier 0 is the starting level for every account that has been confirmed via email. A Tier 0 account can browse the platform but is not able to make deposits, withdrawals, or trade.
Tier 1 accounts are verified using the KYC and AML procedures by providing personal details such as full name, date of birth, country, and phone number. These accounts can trade cryptocurrencies but are not allowed to trade fiat or to make withdrawals and deposits.
Tier 2 is achieved by providing your full physical address, and enables users to deposit or withdraw up to 2,000 EUR/week or 10,000 EUR/month. Moreso, they allow the users to trade both fiat and crypto and withdraw up to $10,000/week and $50,000/month.
Tier 3 accounts require proof of identity and proof of address. They unlock deposits and withdrawals using Canadian Dollars (CAD), with the withdrawal limits being increased to $50,000/week and $200,000/month. Fiat transactions are also increased to $25,000/week and $200,000/month.
Tier 4 is the highest tier available on Kraken and requires in-depth identity verifications, but provides access to all the features of the platform. In order to get verified for a Tier 4 account you need to sign an application form and your KYC documents. The limits for both crypto and fiat transactions are greatly increased.
If you still ask yourself: Is Kraken safe? Then, you must know that Kraken is considered one of the most secure crypto exchanges in the industry. The platform stores 95% of its crypto funds in air-gapped cold storage wallets, which are geographically distributed all over the world.
All the sensitive and personal user information is encrypted and kept on secure servers. Other data protection measures include GSL and Master Key features.
The team also employs a 24/7 surveillance on the exchange and domain itself monitoring all the outgoing and incoming activity.
For user accounts, Kraken requires that they activate 2 Factor Authentication. The exchange also features email confirmation for withdrawals, global setting time lock, granular API key permissions, customizable account time, and SSL encryption for its website traffic.
In our Kraken review you will find that it is compliant with all US ‘know-your-customer’ policies for preventing fraud and illicit funding.
In May 2017, Kraken was the victim of a DDoS attack, which prevented users from completing trades. The platform went online to solve the problem and improve its security. In spite of this, the exchange has never actually lost funds in a hack so far.
Kraken Customer Support Review
Kraken provides 24/7 support through email, and users can also contact the support team directly through their chat feature. The website also features a detailed FAQ page with answers to most common questions regarding account, fees, and trading.
The platform can also be reached at its social accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, where users can get quick responses to their problems. Many user complaints are regarding Kraken’s internal ticket system, which is rather slow at times.
Usually, Kraken’s response time is within 24 hours, but when there are higher volumes, the exchange will take some time to answer.
Kraken Exchange Review: Verdict
The conclusion of our Kraken crypto exchange review is that is one of the leading platforms in its industry for a good reason. It has high liquidity, ample crypto listings, competitive fees, and plenty of advanced trading tools and options.
Note: This post was originally published on 20 September 2019 and has been totally updated for the completeness and veracity of the content on 14 December 2020.