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Kraken.com Review – Pros and Cons of Trading at Kraken
- High liquidity
- Most trusted crypto exchange
- Cheap/free deposits in EUR
- Cheap deposits for USA (ACH, FedWire)
- Was accountable for Mtgox liquidation
- Margin Trading and Futures supported
- Customizability and variety of order types and position options
- Potential low fees
- Low leverage
- Deposits can be expensive for certain users
In 2019 Kraken have renewed their platform and reintroduced a comprehensive trading system with advanced order settings. They seem to have overcome earlier difficulties and are now upright again, back at the forefront of the most professional and most popular Bitcoin Exchanges.
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. After it’s inception Kraken had been able to raise a total of $6.5 million venture capital. Since 2014 the cryptocurrency exchange had even 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 EUR volume and liquidity, in which it still leads the charts.
Overall liquidity is generally relatively high and it’s quite possible that in the near future the trading platform will again become one of the world’s largest exchanges in terms of trading volume.
Registration And Verification
Signing up takes a minute and so does the tear 0,1 and 2 verification process. The 3 tiers are now called “Starter”, “Intermediate” and “Pro”.
Basically the 3 tiers differ in the deposit and withdrawal limits. It is possible to use Kraken without ID verification, but then you only have the Starter Account with no fiat money deposits and withdrawals at your disposal. See more details below.
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
- email address
- primary address
- phone number
From Tier 1 you are allowed to margin trade cryptos.
Cryptocurrency Deposits are unlimited.
Withdrawals are limited to $5,000 daily (worth of crypto).
Additionally to the personal data from Tier 1 you have to verify your ID and address at Intermediate. Thisis the account most traders will use since it serves most needs. Buying cryptos against fiat currency as well as fiat money cash outs, all to an extend that even big position traders can handle larger amounts.
These are the generous limits:
- fait deposit limit: $100,00 daily ($500,000 monthly)
- fiat withdrawal limit: $100,00 daily ($500,000 monthly)
- crypto deposit unlimited
- crypto withdrawal limit: $500,000 daily (unlimited monthly)
What you need to provide:
- Government Issued ID
- Proof of residence
- Photo of ID document
This account type is for companies, institutions and early investors with huge amounts of capital.
Additionally to the personal data from Starter and Intermediate you have to deliver financial statements due to Kraken’s money laundering protection policy. Also you need to make an AML verification.
- fait deposit limit: $10 million daily ($100 million monthly)
- fiat withdrawal limit: $10 million daily ($100 million monthly)
- crypto deposit unlimited
- crypto withdrawal limit: $10 million daily (unlimited monthly)
Deposits & Withdrawals
To deposit fiat currency in the US, Canada, Japan, Germany and other countries depending on the type of currency, an Intermediate account with ID verification will be necessary. However, the verification is quite quick, it can even be just a matter of hours.
Funding your account with fiat currency by bank transfer takes as long as bank transfers usually do – between 1 and 5 business days, depending on your bank and type of transfer (such as SWIFT or SEPA).
Deposit & Withdrawal Fees
Deposit options and fees are all covered in their FAQ:
- EUR SEPA Deposits: From 0€ to €35+0.125% depending on country and Bank
- USD Bank Wire Deposit (USA only): $5
or $35+0.125% (if through Etana Custody under certain conditions)
- USD Bank Wire Deposit (worldwide): $35 + 0.125%
or $5 only if High Limit applies (from $ 50k)
- CAD Wire Deposit: 0CAD to 1.25CAD + 0.25%
- GBP Bank Wire Deposit: 35GBP + 0.125%
- JPY Bank deposit: 35USD equivalent + ¥0.125%
Withdrawal options and fees:
- EUR SEPA Withdrawal: €0.09 to €35+0.125% depending on country and Bank
- USD Bank Wire Withdrawal: $5
or $35+0.125% (if through Etana Custody)
- CAD Withdrawal (Canada only): 0CAD
or 35CAD + 0.125% (if through Etana Custody)
- GBP Bank Wire Withdrawal: 35GBP + 0.125%
- JPY Bank Withdrawal: 35USD equivalent + ¥0.125%
There are small Cryptocurrency withdrawal fees that vary, depending on the coin. You can check that list here on Kraken:
Be aware that this list isn’t always up to date, as stated on that page.
Using The Website
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.
All your account management will be under the Account menu (top right corner). The rest of the top menu is obvious, Trade, Prices etc. The Support menu link will lead you to the support center where most of your questions get answered.
As you pick from the trading pairs, you can also easily access the tradingview widget right next to the pair you’ve chosen, to the left of it:
Kraken Trading Pairs
The platform supports over 30 cryptocurrencies that you can trade against Bitcoin, Ether or fiat currencies, mostly USD and EUR, some also against CAD or JPY. It depends on the coin.
As of November 2019 the following coins are listed on the trading site:
XBT is the same as BTC, some exchanges or brokers list Bitcoin under this abbreviation.
The supported fiat currencies are
USD, EUR, CAD, JPY.
The interface for simple buy and sell orders in the normal exchange section is self-explanatory, it’s really easy to put orders. Just click on “Trade” in the top menu to get to the order form and full in your amounts. Then click the buy or sell button and confirm your order in a final step before it gets placed. If it’s a limit order you can watch it sitting in your orders list till it gets executed. If you put a market order, it will be fulfilled right away.
Margin Trading & Futures
One new section is the Kraken Pro subdomain, which you access from your dashboard. This is the margin trading area designed for professional traders with an advanced trading interface in the style traders are used to. Here you find price chart with Technical analysis tools, the order book, your watchlist, the trading widget with advanced order types as well as your Orders, Trades and Positions widgets.
Leverage is up to 1:5, but you don’t have to use it at all if you don’t want to elevate your risk.
Let’s have a closer look at the margin trading section. You can choose the coin of your choice from the list or you can use the search field in that section and fill in the trading pair you’re looking for.
Margin trading is available for nearly all cryptocurrencies that are generally listed on Kraken. The leverage offered is up to 5x. Their variety of order types, customizable timing and other position options, are some of the best in the business.
Margin open fee for XBT and Tether trades = 0.01% and the Rollover fee = 0.01% / 4 hrs
Margin open fee for altcoins trades = 0.02% and the Rollover fee = 0.02% / 4 hrs
The trading fee structure is based on the usual maker taker fee model.
Maker Trading Fees range between: 0.0% – 0.16%.
Taker Trading Fees range between: 0.10% – 0.26%.
So takers always pay a bit more.
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.
Kraken also has an extra fee calculation on favor of high volume trader, which they call “Dark Pool”. This means that trading fees for high volume traders get lowered to encourage high volume trading activities. For the calculation of those fees your accumulated trading activities from the last 30 days are taken into account.
Note: Futures trading with up to 50x leverage is unfortunately not available in the USA. Citizens and residents from the United States are excluded from this trading product due to US law. Read more about margin trading in the USA.
The other new section as of 2019 is the Futures trading platform. Entering this area you need to confirm that you really want to enable Futures trading. In order to be allowed to start trading Bitcoin Futures you have to answer a Questionaire. Depending on your experience level you will be categorized as “Retail Trader”, “Professional Trader” or “Regulated or Large Undertaking”. Retail traders don’t get more than 2x leverage which is a reasonable measure to protect less experienced people from quick bankruptcy. The other levels get up to 50x leverage which has to be handled with caution.
Note that Kraken Bitcoin Futures are not available for citizens or residents of the United States of America as Bitcoin margin trading in the USA is subject to enormous restrictions.
And here is the Futures Interface:
Anyone looking for a mobile app will be gladly surprised that the company has even two trading apps: One for margin trading (Kraken Pro app) and one for Futures trading (Kraken Futures app). The margin trading app can be found in both app stores (iOS and Android). The Futures app is for Android only so far.
First of all, Kraken is an officially licensed and regulated company, authorized by the FCA (UK).
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.
As primary security measure regarding your account, there is two-factor authentication for all important steps such as login, withdrawals and trading. Also, a client can create a special pass-code called “master key”, with witch it can reset your account.
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.
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).
There are certain countries and jurisdictions where Kraken is not allowed to be used. This of course concerns all locations where cryptocurrency trading or margin trading of that kind is illegal or restricted to officially authorized companies only. Citizens of New York have formerly been restricted from trading on Kraken as we know, but we’re not sure if this still applies since there aren’t any information on that in their terms of service. But there are for sure some US states where Kraken can’t operate. Unfortunately you’ll only find out at an sign up attempt if this applies to your state or not.
Since its earlier days, Kraken has turned the page on customer support: Where there used to be a hopelessly overloaded and overburdened customer service that couldn’t handle all the emails, there is now a large team that answers quickly and personally. Usually even within an hour. Now there is not only a fast email ticket support, but even a 24/7 live chat directly on the website – a feature we had missed before.
Many questions can also be answered in the Help Center of the website. It is worthwhile to search there for your topic, then you may be able to save the support request.
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 the company was also voted best exchange by bitcoin redditors.
The company is incorporated at:
237 Kearny St #102
CA 94108, United States
They’re obviously targeting a wide variety of beginners to professionals. The clean white look, the tradingview widget, their own versatile charting platform cryptowat.ch, an extra margin trading area as well as a Futures trading platform Kraken offers one of the most comprehensive trading platforms in the industry. And it’s obvious that they are always working on delivering even more, on providing better service, on learning from their past mistakes.
Kraken is definitely one of the best Bitcoin exchanges out there, especially when it comes to cashing out Bitcoin. On this platform you can sell your coins and get your cash by the withdrawal option of your choice. They have an overall quite reliable reputation.
But even margin trading with advanced automation settings is now again possible, which enhances Kraken from a plain exchange for simple purchases and sales to a professional trading site where traders can even day trade for profit using leverage.
The trading site 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.