Finding a reliable cryptocurrency exchange can be a challenge. It seems that exchanges get hacked every month. And with BTC hitting new highs almost every week, it’s critical to find an exchange you can trust.
Kraken seems to tick all the necessary boxes for a reliable and secure crypto exchange. It is based in the US and has never been hacked. Kraken allows you to trade from fiat currency to crypto directly. There are also 50+ cryptocurrencies available to trade in the US. In this article, we provide an overview of what Kraken has to offer.
One of the oldest and most secure cryptocurrency exchangesPays rewards for coins wageredOffers advanced tools such as margin and futures trading
Who is Kraken?
Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange. It was founded in July 2011 and is based in San Francisco, CA. It is one of the largest and oldest exchanges. The founder is Jesse Powell. The company has raised $118 million in seed funding.
What do they offer?
Kraken allows you to exchange fiat currencies such as USD, Canadian dollar, Euro and GBP for cryptocurrency. You can also switch from one cryptocurrency to another. There are over 90 cryptocurrencies available on Kraken to buy via fiat currency or exchange, but 35+ of those tokens are not currently supported in the US
The Kraken platform just added support for two more cryptocurrencies: Ocean Protocol (OCEAN) and Energy Web Token (EWT). Both currencies can be deposited and traded from March 3, 2021. Please note, however, that residents of the US and Canada cannot currently trade EWT.
Fiat Financing Options
Kraken has several methods available to fund your account with fiat. It uses companies that offer money transfer services (similar to Plaid). Each has different minimums, maximums, and fees for funding the account.
You can also buy crypto with a credit card, but this is the most expensive method. There is a surcharge of 3.75% + € 0.25. To use fiat currency, you must complete KYC (know your customer) validation. KYC requires verification of your identity. Once your account has been opened, you will not be able to withdraw funds for 72 hours.
Once the account is fiat-funded, you can select a crypto to buy. There are coins that allow you to go directly from fiat to crypto (majors) and there are (alt) coins that you can only access through a major cryptocurrency. For example, if you want to invest in EOS, you cannot buy it with fiat currency. You must first buy BTC (Bitcoin) or another major cryptocurrency and then use it to trade EOS.
One of the draws of Kraken is strike. This allows you to earn rewards on the coins available in your wallet. Currently there are 10 coins that can be wagered. The rewards are paid out every two weeks. The specific reward percentage you earn varies by coin, but currently ranges from 4% to 20%.
Check out all our favorite crypto savings accounts >>>
In the account section you will find open orders and positions. You can also place trades here, including market and limit orders. This area includes the standard web-based interface and Kraken Pro, which we’ll discuss shortly.
After completing a transaction, consider moving your cryptocurrency to a software or hardware wallet. To move funds into your software wallet, withdraw from Kraken by providing the address of your software wallet. You must confirm your wallet by email before the first withdrawal. From that moment on, your wallet address will be available in Kraken.
Kraken Pro is available after you create a wallet. Kraken Pro is more polished than the standard web-based trading interface. It is similar to Coinbase Pro. It includes charts, market depth, open orders and positions, and the ability to place trades.
Kraken Pro offers certain features that you will not find even on some of the most advanced platforms, such as margin trading and crypto futures trading.
The Kraken Pro platform also offers lower trading fees than many of its competitors. While Coinbase Pro fees start at 0.50% and Gemini ActiveTrader fees start at 0.35%, Kraken Pro undercuts both by starting at just 0.26%.
Are there any costs?
Yes, the default Kraken trading platform is 0.90% for stablecoins and 1.49% for all other crypto pairs. You pay 0.50% extra if you use bank transfer (ACH) to finance the purchase or 3.75% + €0.25 if you pay with a card or digital wallet.
Kraken Pro uses a maker/taker fee structure which is much more competitive. Most merchants pay 0.16% for maker orders and 0.26% for buyer orders. However, the rate for both decreases as your 30-day volume increases. Below are the 30-day volume-based maker and buyer rates:
You will also encounter different fees for depositing and withdrawing funds depending on the method used.
How does Kraken compare?
If you live in the US and maximum supported currencies is what you are looking for, you should probably choose another exchange like Coinbase.
However, some advanced traders find Kraken Pro’s pricing or features preferable over other “Pro” platforms such as Coinbase Pro or Gemini Active Trader†
Check out this quick table to see how Kraken compares:
How do I open an account?
You can visit the Kraken website to open an account. You must be at least 18 years old to open an account and you must live in one of Kraken’s supported areas† Kraken also has a mobile app that is available in most countries.
Is my money safe?
Kraken has never been hacked and is considered a reliable crypto exchange. However, it is probably still best to move your crypto to an external wallet.
Kraken offers different levels of protection for its users. It uses Google Authenticator 2FA for:
Trade and finance. There is also a Masterkey (Yubikey recommended) security level. Masterkey is good in case you lose your phone or Yubikey.
Remark: During testing, we encountered issues with Kraken’s two-factor system with both Yukikey and Authenticator apps. You can get locked out of your account with these tools, which is a big problem. Hopefully Kraken will fix it, but be warned.
Global Settings Lock (GSL) is only available after the above three levels are set. GSL prevents Funding 2FA and Trading 2FA from being changed if the login is compromised.
How do I contact Kraken?
Like many of the other crypto exchanges, Kraken has amassed a huge pile of disgruntled customer reviews on trust pilot†
Still, they do publish a customer service number, which is more than we can say for most exchanges today. Here are their customer service numbers and hours of operation, depending on where you live:
Mon – Fri, 3 AM – 7 PM (EST)
Mon – Fri, 8:00am – 12:00pm (GMT)
Is it worth it?
There is a lot to discover on Kraken. It has one of the largest supported currency lists (including the popular Dogecoin meme currency) you will find today, it offers rewards when you wager coins and even allows margin and futures trading. It’s definitely worth a look.
However, other cryptocurrency exchanges may offer higher interest rates/rewards on crypto assets staked or a less complicated fee structure. Check out our 10 favorite cryptocurrency investment sites for 2021 to compare your options.
Frequently Asked Questions about Kraken
Here are some of the most common questions people ask about Kraken:
Is Kraken an American company?
Yes, Kraken is based in San Francisco, California and is available in 48 US states.
Does Kraken have a crypto reward card?
No, and no upcoming cards have been announced so far.
What fees does Kraken charge for margin trades?
Margin traders pay an opening fee of 0.02% and a rollover fee of 0.02% every four hours.
Does Kraken have Shiba Inu?
Yes, Kraken started supporting Shiba Inu deposits on November 29, 2021 and trading went live the following day.
Stablecoins: 0.90%All other tokens: 1.50%
Payment by card/digital wallet
Additional 3.75% + €0.25***
90+ total; 50+ in the US
$4,000 within a 7-day time-based rolling period.
FedWire from SWIFT: $4 to $40
Business ProSilvergate Exchange
Network (SEN): free
2FA (Google Authenticator and Yubikey)
95% of all deposits are kept in cold storage
Global Settings Lock (GSL)
Phone, chat or support requests only