Kraken has firmly anchored itself as a trusted and feature-packed crypto exchange in the blockchain world. Established by Jesse Powell in 2011, Kraken has weathered the volatile storms and dazzling sunshine of multiple crypto market cycles.
Learn whether this San Francisco-born behemoth is a secure harbor for your digital assets or a danger for traders navigating the tumultuous crypto sea.
What Is Kraken?
Kraken is a crypto exchange where traders and investors can buy, sell, and trade an array of digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Best known for its comprehensive offering and user-friendly interface, Kraken also offers advanced trading features, including futures and margin trading, appealing to seasoned traders seeking high-risk, high-reward opportunities.
These features have gained Kraken a loyal following, making it the third biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by trading volume after Binance and Coinbase.
The platform is accessible in over 180 countries and supports over 200 cryptos, including key altcoins like Cardano, Polkadot, Chainlink, Dogecoin, Litecoin, and more. In addition to offering a wide range of crypto, Kraken also offers competitive fees.
Finally, Kraken also offers robust security measures. The crypto exchange uses a combination of hot (online) and cold (offline) storage to secure funds, with most funds kept in air-gapped cold storage. The platform also offers standard security features like two-factor authentication. Security is a key feature of Kraken, as concern over security was what started the exchange.
Kraken History: Lessons from Mt. Gox
Kraken was launched by Jesse Powell in July 2011, drawing from his previous experience as the founder of the gaming company, Lewt. Powell’s interest in crypto started after he visited the offices of Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox following a major hack. Due to lacking security measures, the exchange lost hundreds of thousands of Bitcoin, worth hundreds of millions of USD at the time.
Recognizing the potential of crypto yet concerned about the lack of security measures, Powell set out to create an exchange that would prioritize user security.
They have also acquired several other Bitcoin-related companies, such as Cryptowatch, a charting and trading platform, and Glidera, a Bitcoin wallet funding service, allowing them to expand their suite of services.
Kraken Products & Features
Kraken has grown beyond a simple crypto trading platform, offering an array of tools and features to serve its users’ diverse needs. As such, Kraken aims to be a one-stop-shop for everything crypto, and its mobile app, available for both Android and iOS devices, provides easy access to all its services.
Kraken Exchange: Crypto Trading for Beginners
Kraken’s flagship product is its crypto exchange, known for its advanced trading features, robust security measures, and extensive range of supported cryptos. The exchange supports over 200 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and numerous altcoins. Moreover Kraken offers various order types, including market, limit, and stop orders, providing flexibility for traders.
The exchange also offers competitive trading fees. They employ a tiered, maker-taker fee schedule that encourages market participation and boosts liquidity. Fees start at 0.16% for makers and 0.26% for takers. However, for high-volume traders, fees can potentially reach 0.00%.
In addition to these features, the exchange also offers a range of fiat withdrawal options. Their terms, from withdrawal minimums, fees, and processing times, differ from country to country. Moreover, Kraken supports withdrawals in the following currencies: USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, GBP, CHF, and JPY.
Kraken Pro: For Advanced Crypto Traders
Kraken Pro is your gateway to advanced crypto trading. It offers a robust, customizable, and visually appealing interface that meets the needs of the most discerning traders.
At a glance, here’s what Kraken Pro offers:
- Customizable Trading Interface: Kraken Pro allows traders to choose from a wide array of trading modules. The highly customizable interface enables users to create a personalized layout that best suits their trading strategies and preferences.
- Real-time Performance Data: The platform provides live market data on a fast, responsive user interface, allowing traders to stay updated with market trends and make timely decisions.
- Advanced Trading Tools: Kraken’s tools include full-featured charting, technical indicators, live order books, and streaming trades. The platform also supports advanced order types and instructions such as stop loss, take profit, IOC, reduce-only, and trigger options.
- 210+ Assets: Kraken Pro opens the door to an ever-growing number of crypto assets, stablecoins, and fiat currencies. It allows users to trade crypto assets like XRP, Dogecoin (DOGE), Litecoin (LTC), stablecoins, and more.
- Futures Trading: The platform offers flexible futures trading options for over 90 perpetual futures. Users can take long or short positions, trade with leverage, and enjoy one of the industry’s most competitive fee structures.
- Asset Staking and Earning: Kraken supports a range of earning options, with APYs up to 24%.
- Mobile Trading: All the features of Kraken Pro are also available on iOS and Android mobile platforms.
Kraken Pro provides a comprehensive suite of tools and features to help both new and seasoned traders to navigate the crypto market confidently.
Kraken NFT: An Emerging Marketplace for Digital Artwork
The Kraken NFT Marketplace is a relatively new addition to the Kraken ecosystem. This marketplace is designed to facilitate the trading of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
- Zero Gas Fees: The marketplace offers a significant advantage over competitors by eliminating gas fees for trades conducted on its platform, making trading more cost-effective for its users. However, traders should note that they will pay gas fees once they move their NFTs of Kraken.
- Rarity Scores: Kraken provides rarity scores to help users evaluate the uniqueness and potential value of an NFT. These scores assess how an NFT’s combination of attributes compares with the rest of the collection.
- Multi-Chain Support: Kraken NFT Marketplace supports NFT collections across multiple blockchains, including Ethereum and Solana, with plans to add more in the future.
Kraken NFT allows traders to manage NFTs directly with just their Kraken account. Still, the platform is a relatively new addition to the Kraken ecosystem and will likely not replace NFT marketplaces like OpenSea anytime soon.
Kraken’s staking feature allows users to earn passive income on their crypto holdings. By locking their tokens in staking contracts, users can earn on-chain crypto staking rewards. The platform supports staking for several cryptocurrencies, including ETH, DOT, and ADA.
Unfortunately, as of 2023, crypto staking services are unavailable to US users. This development follows a $30 million settlement between Krakren and the US Securities and Exchange Commission. In the settlement, the platform agreed to discontinue offering these services to US clients.
Kraken Learn & News
Kraken’s ”’Learn” section offers a wealth of educational resources for both new and experienced crypto enthusiasts. It includes articles, guides, and videos covering a range of topics but mostly focusing on the basics of crypto.
Kraken also has a “Blog” section where users can stay updated on the latest developments in the crypto world.
Kraken vs. Binance
Binance is one of Kraken’s major competitors, boasting the highest trading volume of all crypto exchanges. While both platforms offer a wide range of cryptocurrencies and advanced trading features, there are some key differences.
Binance offers a more extensive selection of cryptocurrencies, and its Binance Smart Chain has attracted a significant number of DeFi projects.
However, Binance has faced regulatory scrutiny in several countries, which has led restrictions on some of its services. Moreover, Kraken also has a more intuitive user interface.
Kraken vs. Coinbase
Coinbase and Kraken are US-based exchanges offering a wide range of cryptocurrencies. They both have strong security records and are highly regarded in the industry.
However, Coinbase is often considered more beginner-friendly, with a simpler interface and easier signup process. Coinbase also has a larger user base and was the first major crypto exchange to go public.
Kraken, however, tends to have lower fees than Coinbase and offers more advanced trading options, such as futures and margin trading. Kraken’s staking feature is also more extensive, supporting more cryptocurrencies.
What are Kraken’s Pros and Cons?
Kraken has a range of features that make it an attractive choice for many crypto traders. However, like any platform, it has its strengths and weaknesses.
- High Liquidity: Liquidity is essential for traders to get the best returns, especially in high-frequency trading. Thanks to its size, and relatively low fees, Kraken boasts deep liquidity for most significant cryptos.
- Low Fees: Another reason for Kraken’s high liquidity is its low fees, which incentivize users to Maker fees at Kraken start at 0.16% and can go as low as 0.00%.
- Wide range of supported cryptocurrencies: Kraken supports a large number of cryptocurrencies, giving users plenty of choices.
- Strong security measures: Kraken has a strong track record in terms of security, with robust measures in place to protect user funds.
- Customer support: Some users have reported slow response times from Kraken’s customer service team.
- Limited fiat options: While Kraken supports a number of major fiat currencies, its selection is limited compared to some other exchanges.
Is Kraken Right for You?
Crypto trading is a multifaceted landscape with individuals with unique needs and preferences. Some may be high-frequency traders looking for a platform with technical analysis tools and liquidity. Others might be casual traders or long-term investors, prioritizing a user-friendly interface, low fees, and robust security measures.
As someone who receives payments primarily in crypto and trades sporadically, I’ve found Kraken to be a good fit. The platform’s simplicity and intuitiveness have made managing my crypto earnings straightforward. The interface is clean and uncluttered, making it easy for me to perform occasional transactions.
I’ve also appreciated Kraken’s competitive fee structure. The trading fees are reasonable, and what has been particularly cost-effective for me is the withdrawal fee – just one euro in the SEPA region. Given my regular need to convert a portion of my crypto earnings into fiat currency, this low fee has been beneficial.
Despite its user-friendly interface and low fees, Kraken does not compromise on security. While I do not keep my crypto or fiat in a crypto exchange (and neither should you), I’m still pretty confident that my funds are safe from hacks.
In summary, my experience with my Kraken account has been predominantly positive. The platform combines ease of use, affordable costs, and strong security, thereby serving as a reliable liquidity provider for managing my crypto earnings.
Why This Matters
Choosing a reliable crypto exchange can significantly impact a user’s trading and investment journey. This goes beyond the user interface and trading fees, as a wrong choice can lead to nightmarish scenarios. Hacks, rug pulls, and bankruptcies are just some of the concerns users have to consider. This makes choosing a reliable platform essential.