Kraken is an exchange platform for bitcoin and other crypto assets that stands out for being one of the oldest in the ecosystem. Its low fees, multiple deposit and withdrawal options, and rigorous security systems make this the favorite exchange for many to trade.
Its headquarters are located in the United States, and it is licensed to operate as a crypto bank . So far, Kraken is one of the few exchanges that has not lost funds due to hacks, something that offers its users confidence. Now, is it a good option to trade bitcoin? What sets it apart from other exchanges? Discover the answers here.
It is an exchange where you can trade a wide variety of crypto assets, including the most popular ones like bitcoin, ether, XRP, cardano, and litecoin. Kraken was founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell, in order to offer users a means to invest in cryptocurrencies quickly and safely . Over the years, the company has grown to the point of becoming the fourth largest exchange to date, according to the CoinMarketCap ranking .
Its 24-hour trading volume is more than one billion US dollars , with an average weekly visits to its platform of approximately 2,900,000. Kraken’s main headquarters are in the United States, specifically in San Francisco, California. Therefore, the exchange must comply with the laws and regulations of the country, such as KYC ( Know Your Customer ) verification . Currently, it has a license to function as a bank for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but we will talk about this later in detail.
With this platform you can operate with more than 300 pairs and exchange cryptocurrencies for national currency with multiple payment methods. Kraken is an alternative for both professional traders and institutions , offering advanced features, personalized management and high liquidity.
What does Kraken have to offer you? These are the main services that you will find on its platform:
If you are looking for a platform to exchange crypto assets for national currency or for other digital currencies , Kraken could be a solution. It offers several deposit and withdrawal options at the corporate level, including international bank transfers in US dollars. But keep in mind that the confirmation time for each transaction is a bit slow (more than 24 hours), something that we found inefficient when compared to other exchanges.
Exchanging one cryptocurrency for another was a simple process that only took a few minutes thanks to the intuitive interface. We can buy crypto assets with national currency, but to do so, the account must be verified. Selling is also quick and easy as we just had to select the currency and amount and wait a bit for the transaction to complete.
You have the option of margin trading and trading with up to 5x leverage . This allows you to execute more complex and risky trading strategies, be it short or long. On its website , Kraken claims to have low rollover fees , up to 0.02% every four hours. We can say that one point in favor of this service is that you can manage your positions the way you want to maximize your profits.
With Kraken Futures you will have access to regulated futures products of ether, litecoin, bitcoin cash, XRP and bitcoin. With futures contracts, you speculate on the direction that the price of an asset will take. It is a way to increase the probability of making a profit when operating in a market as volatile as cryptocurrencies, but it also increases the risk of losses. The downside is that only customers with verified accounts can access futures products . Besides, they are not available for users in the United States.
The company is working to open the first cryptocurrency bank in the US , known as Kraken Bank . It will be under the supervision of the Wyoming Banking Division, and is expected to launch this year. Initially, it will only be available in the United States, offering traditional banking and crypto services. Now, keep in mind that Kraken Bank funds will not be insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation).
What do you need to sell or buy bitcoin on Kraken?
The first step is to register on their platform , a process that we found simple and fast. You must enter the requested data, such as email, country of residence, username and password. Next, you will receive a code to the email you have indicated, which you must enter to complete the registration.
To access more features and higher limits, you have to verify the account . There are three levels: basic, intermediate and pro. In the basic one, the limit for withdrawals with cryptocurrencies is USD 5,000 per day, while for deposits there is no limit. You cannot make bank transfers or trade OTC or futures. But Kraken will allow you to buy or sell cryptocurrencies, trade on the sidelines, and earn rewards with staking.
When performing the basic level verification, the platform requests data such as name, surname, date of birth, address and telephone number , so there was no difficulty in completing this part of the process. To go to the intermission, it is necessary to upload a photo of an identity document, be it a passport or driver’s license, and proof of residence, such as a utility bill. In this case, we do experience problems uploading the document to the website. After several attempts, it was finally possible to achieve it.
Generally, the verification process takes less than two minutes at the basic level, and only five minutes at the intermediate level. For the pro, it can take up to a couple of days, which makes sense considering that these accounts have full access to Kraken services and there are no limits for bank transfers, deposits or withdrawals.
Features of the bitcoin trading exchange
Among the measures that Kraken takes to prevent theft of funds and personal information is cold storage. 95% of assets remain offline , which is an obstacle for hackers. Users’ confidential information is encrypted, and their access is controlled and monitored, according to the company.
The company has a team of experts to perform penetration tests and thus detect vulnerabilities in your system. The platform features 2-factor authentication, email confirmations for withdrawals, SSL encryption, and global setup time lock. These security measures appear to be sufficient to keep funds safe, and can be easily configured from the user’s profile.
One of the most striking features of its interface is that many of its trading tools are customizable . You will find several panels, including one that provides you with market information and allows you to select the instruments to operate, another with the charts and another where you will see the orders, both open and closed. We can choose between a classic chart view or an advanced market view.
For more advanced traders, there is an API, which gives you an even more personalized experience tailored to your needs. Now, among so many advanced features, it seems to us that the Kraken platform can be a bit complicated for some traders, especially those who are just starting out in the crypto world. If that’s the case, you will probably need a little time before you learn to use all the tools.
The panel to operate had a simple and precise design . It is divided into four options: new order, open and closed orders, positions and operations. Regarding the tools, it seemed like a good idea for the platform to give us three alternatives (simple, intermediate and advanced) to open an order.
If you choose the simple option, you just have to decide if you are going to buy or sell, the type of currency and the amount. At the intermediate level, we were also able to select if we wanted leverage, when the order starts, and when the order expires. In the advanced one, the conditional closure option is added.
The app is available for Android and iOS devices. We have noticed that its latest version has notable improvements, such as a simpler and more attractive design . With a couple of taps, you can buy or sell crypto assets in the blink of an eye.
One thing we like is that it gives you an overview of the market with easy charts, price history, and more. And if you lose your mobile device, you don’t have to worry, it is possible to revoke access from your account.
Customer service and support
Kraken has a live chat available 24 hours a day, and an email for urgent requests. However, a downside is that their live chat is not yet in Spanish . There is also a help center with articles that answer the most common questions from users. Another option is to send a request for more specific questions, and a member of their support team will contact you by email. In this case, the response time was average, about 24 hours.
To deposit or withdraw funds from your account, you have several options. You can do it with a Visa or MasterCard, cryptocurrencies or SEPA , in the case of users who reside in Europe. The national currencies that the platform supports are USD, EUR, CAD, JPY, GBP, AUD, and CHF. According to the company, the deposit of funds made in CAD and EUR SEPA has no cost.
Besides, you can deposit in cash, but this is only possible with the Canadian dollar at the moment. Please note that the first time a cash deposit is made, there is a 72-hour temporary withdrawal hold , and the same applies for card purchases. This seems inconvenient to us for those who do not want to waste time. If there’s one thing Kraken requires in this regard, it’s a bit of patience.
You’ll find over 80 cryptocurrencies to trade and exchange, including bitcoin, ether, XRP, bitcoin cash, monero, dogecoin, cardano, litecoin, polkadot, EOS, and NEO. It is a low number when compared to exchanges like Binance, which has more than 300 coins.
However, Kraken has the most popular crypto assets, so most traders will probably get the option they want. There are more than 300 pairs, such as BTC / USD, ETH / USD, XRP / USD, EHT / EUR, and LTC / USD. To see the complete list of digital currencies, go to their website .
Kraken’s liquidity is the fourth highest, according to CoinMarketCap . Its average liquidity according to this source is 500/1000 , only 97 points below Binance , the exchange that ranks first in this regard. But it is above the Coinbase average , which is 483/1000 at the time of this writing.
Its trading volume for its most traded pair, ETH / USD, is more than 260 million USD, which represents a percentage of 13.28%. Its liquidity for this pair is 709/1000.
In which countries is it available
Kraken serves a large number of Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru, Panama and Paraguay. It is not currently available in Cuba.
However, not all of their services are available in the aforementioned countries. For example, Kraken Futures is restricted in the United States, Bolivia, Ecuador, Haiti, and other countries. To find out if you have access to future contracts in your region, check out this article .
What are Kraken’s fees and commissions?
Kraken’s trading fees vary according to the user’s trading volume in a 30-day period. In this case, the exchange is based on the maker-taker scheme , where the maker is the one who opens an order and the taker is the one who executes it.
For those with a volume of 0 to 50,000 USD, the commission is 0.16% for the maker and 0.26% for the taker . This fee is low when compared to Coinbase Pro , whose maximum commission for makers and takers is 0.50%.
Advantages and disadvantages
Its interface is customizable and adapts to all types of traders.
It is available in many Latin American countries and in Spain.
You can do spot trading, operate on margin and with futures contracts.
It has a license to operate as a crypto bank in the United States.
It has never been hacked, and has multiple security measures such as offline storage and SSL encryption.
The company conducts independent audits to ensure the transparency of its operations.
KYC verification is mandatory to deposit or withdraw in national currency.
Due to high security standards, transactions often take time to validate.
Due to its advanced features, it could be a difficult platform for beginners.
Futures contracts are not available to users from countries such as the United States, Ecuador and Bolivia.
Conclusion: is Kraken a safe exchange?
Kraken is an exchange that provides multiple alternatives for those who want to trade in the Bitcoin market. One of its advantages is that it provides its services in many countries, including Spain, the United States and several in Latin America. In addition, it complies with the regulations and laws of the US territory to operate as a crypto bank, making it the first exchange to do so.
Its security systems are advanced and its trading fees are low. But if you’re looking for a beginner-friendly option, we find Kraken to be a bit overwhelming with all the features available. Our verdict is that despite the delay to confirm transactions and KYC verification is mandatory, Kraken is an exchange that you can trade safely and has advanced customizable tools that the most experienced are likely to love.