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Kraken.com Review – Pros and Cons of Trading on Kraken
- high liquidity (especially in EUR and JPY)
- cheap/free deposits in EUR
- accountable for Mtgox liquidation
- margin trading and short selling are supported
- customizability and variety of order types and position options
- potential low fees
- at peak times the site is prone to errors / stops performance
- can be expensive to deposit currency for US/Canada
- overwhelmed customer support - tends to answer after weeks, and then very shallow
- not a lot of crypto pairs to begin with
- lately orders weren't always executed properly
- Check out the most professional brokers in our list of brokers with advanced orders.
- For brokers accepting EUR payments visit our list of brokers with BTC/EUR trading pair.
- For brokers accepting USD payments visit our list of brokers with BTC/USD trading pair.
Kraken is owned by Payward, Inc, which is registered in California Secretary of State’s database under corporate number C3599291.
Based in San Francisco, Kraken is an international exchange with a clear web design and global access from customers. Although the company has raised a total of $6.5 million venture capital in the mean time, Kraken has become a somewhat of a direct successor to Mtgox even in terms of assimilating some of the JPY/BTC volume after the Mtgox fallout and it later became the world’s largest bitcoin exchange in euro volume and liquidity, in which it still leads the charts. Overall liquidity is also high on the charts with $223,893,382 daily volume which makes it currently a top5 exchange by volume.
Registration and verification
Signing up takes a minute and so does the tear 0,1 and 2 verification process.
Depending on the verification level, users get different permissions:
Account funding is limited to cryptocurrencies only. At this point you already have to provide the following data:
- full name
- date of birth
- country of residence
- phone number
From Tier 1 you are allowed to margin trade cryptos.
Cryptocurrency Deposits are unlimited.
Withdrawals are limited to $2,500 daily and $20,000 monthly (worth of crypto).
Additionally to the personal data from Tier 1 you have to verify your address at Tier 2.
Now you can deposit and withdraw fiat currency.
fait deposit limit: $2,000 daily ($10,000 monthly)
fiat withdrawal limit: $2,000 daily ($10,000 monthly)
crypto deposit unlimited
crypto withdrawal limit: $5,000 daily ($ 50,000 monthly)
Additionally to the personal data from Tier 1 and Tier 2 you have to deliver the following:
Goverment issued ID + ID confirmation photo
Utility bill of residence
social security number (US only)
fait deposit limit: $25,000 daily ($200,000 monthly)
fiat withdrawal limit: $25,000 daily ($200,000 monthly)
crypto deposit unlimited
crypto withdrawal limit: $50,000 daily ($ 200,000 monthly)
The High Value account is for very rich people or corporations, as it permits even higher money transfers. To get it you have to contact the kraken.com support.
Deposits & Withdrawals
The higher levels of verification beyond tier 2, get progressively harder and Kraken is somewhat strict in their reviews, which can be tedious for some, but can also be a good thing.
To deposit fiat currency in the US, Canada, Japan, Germany and other countries depending on the type of currency, Tier 3 verification will be necessary. Tier 3 verification takes about a few days.
The white dashboard and loading screens do give the website a nice elegant feel. Very easy to use for beginners, it’s intuitive and mostly just really clean. The dashboard can be a bit annoying for veteran bitcoin traders that are used to another type of web design, but for newbies to this market, this will work just right.
You cannot trade between the crypto-currencies, only deposit and withdraw to and from them. Deposits usually take 1-5 days and your maximum and minimum deposits for each currency will be listed on the funding/deposit or funding/withdrawal pages
All your account management will be under the “Account” menu. “Charts” menu is obvious. The HELP dropdown menu will also be useful for support and security issues. As you pick from the trading pairs, you can also easily access the trading view widget right next to the pair you’ve chosen, to the left of it.
Here’s a list of what pairs you can trade, deposit and withdraw from, into and on Kraken: EUR, CAD, JPY, USD, USDT Tethers
And the list for cryptos: Bitcoin (XBT), Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Stellar/Lumens (XLM), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Augur REP tokens (REP), ICONOMI (ICN), Melon (MLN), Zcash (ZEC), Dogecoin (XDG), Tether (USDT), and Gnosis (GNO).
Deposit options and fees are all covered in their FAQ:
- EUR SEPA Deposit (Free) – EEA countries only
- USD Bank Wire Deposit ($5 USD) – US only
- EUR Bank Wire Deposit (€10) – outside US only
- USD Bank Wire Deposit ($10 USD) – outside US only
- GBP Bank Wire Deposit (£10) – outside US only
- JPY Bank deposit (Free, ¥5,000 deposit minimum) – Japan only
- CAD Wire Deposit (Free)
Withdrawal options and fees
- EUR SEPA Withdrawal (€0.09) – EEA countries only
- USD Bank Wire Withdrawal ($5 USD) – US only
- USD Bank Wire Withdrawal ($60 USD) – outside US only
- EUR Bank Wire Withdrawal (€60) – outside US only
- GBP Bank Wire Withdrawal (£60) – outside US only
- JPY Bank withdrawal (¥20) – flat Japan only fee
- CAD EFT Withdrawal ($10 CAD fee, $25K CAD daily max) – Canada only
Cryptocurrency withdrawal fees are as follows:
- Bitcoin ฿0.00025 = 7$ flat fee
- Ether Ξ0.00500
- Ether Classic ξ0.00500
- Ripple Ʀ0.02000
- Litecoin Ł0.02000
- Dogecoin Ð2.00
- Stellar STR 0.00002
- Iconomi ICN 0.200
- Zcash ⓩ0.00010
- Augur (REP) Ɍ0.01000
The most notable one to notice here is of course the flat bitcoin fee, introduced recently to the Kraken website, most likely a temporary fix to the issues that bitcoin has been experiencing before the potential Segwit upgrade or split.
Margin trading is available on these currency pairs: XBT/EUR, XBT/USD, ETH/XBT, ETH/USD, ETH/EUR, ETC/XBT, ETC/ETH, ETC/USD, ETC/EUR, REP/XBT, REP/ETH, REP/EUR. The leverage offered is up to x 5.0. Margin open fee = 0.02% and the Rollover fee = 0.02% / 4 hrs
The trading fee structure is more confusing and complex than usual, mostly because of the maker/taker paradigm. Trading Fees range between: 0.0 – 0.26%.Your fees will depend on volume, and function; extremely high volume can result in fees as low as 0.00-0.10 percent. But if you’re buying less than $50,000 of bitcoins monthly expect to pay between 0.16-0.26% in fees per order. In some special cases they also have deposit fees.
If you use the ‘Simple’ order form you will pay 0.26%. If you learn how to use Kraken’s advanced order types you can pay only 0.16% as a market maker.
The chart interface is very basic, but for seasoned traders they’ve added the tradingview widget, which is suitable for very in-depth professional style analysis and is very easy to access as previously mentioned.
They’re obviously targeting a wide variety of beginners to professionals. The clean white look, the tradingview widget and their recent focus on even better and more versatile charting with cryptowat.ch are the latest steps.
But also their variety of order types, customizable timing and other position options, are some of, if not the best in the business.
In Kraken all of the databases containing sensitive user data aren’t accessible from the website and can’t be decrypted without an access to the multiple highly secured systems. Many security tools are also provided to help the user secure his account, in case someone else is trying to use his login credentials.There is a two-factor authentication for account login and he client can create a special pass-code called “master key”, with witch he can reset your account.
Another additional and recommended option for security is to add a global settings lock the the account.
Advanced security measures also include PGP signing encryption for sending email.
Kraken was the first crypto exchange to have released a public audit proving it’s Bitcoin reserves in 2014, but hasn’t repeated this afterward (not for Bitcoin or any other digital currency held by them). It has also not gone the extra mile by registering with FinCEN and refused applied for a Bitlicence in the past (closing their service in New York where it was applied to). Citizens of New york and other states are still restricted to sign up to kraken.
Their website has stood the test of time, so has their security. Only individual accounts without 2FA have ever been hacked. Added to that, server lag has been rare and as such has raised itself above the rest even to this day.
Customer support current issues (June 2017):
Recently Kraken’s support has been horrendeous and overloaded. Their current capacity is overwhelmed with support e-mails as they can’t handle the increasing usage of their platform anymore. Customer support is more or less out of order. They answer after weeks and give a standard answer hoping that your problem has solved itself. Unacceptable, but they are hiring new customer care representatives according to their official twitter account and that should soon be resolved. Most likely this was just temporary under-staffing issue that is taking some time to fix as their support has mostly always come through
How Kraken.com was founded
Jesse Powell, the founder of Kraken, is one of the prominent names in the bitcoin world, especially after 2011 when he was assisting Mtgox’s latest security troubles. Along with his friend Roger Ver, and with his past experience in the virtual goods business, he was invited to help Mtgox and that was when the idea for Kraken was born. Jesse Powell like many entrepreneurs saw a need and a niche, and in the case of cryptocurrency, it was that of a better managed exchange. He started just that, on July 28th, 2011. You can find Jesse on Twitter, too.
To this day their story is closely related to that of Mtgox, and a big influx of new accounts to Kraken were created from past Mtgox clients as Jesse Powell has been closely working with the Mtgox investigation and Mtgox aftermath. Kraken was officially selected to aid mtgox’s liquidation in 2014. Most bitcoin enthusiasts at the time were approving of that decision and welcomed it as a great progression. At that point Kraken was also voted best exchange by bitcoin redditors.
The company is incorporated at:
237 Kearny St #102
CA 94108, United States
Anyone sensible enough would wait until the customer care issues and slowdown is resolved before entering the exchange with new funds, but if you live in Europe, Kraken might be your first and most pertinent choice. It has been running since 2011, which produces a track-record longer than most, without any serious issues and it’s still dealing with the Mtgox debacle. That and the fact that the founder is heavily interested and involved in this space, even acquiring websites like cryptowat.ch, ensures this exchange might just be one of your safer choices.