Kraken is for everyone, buy or sell cryptocurrencies if you are new, trade altcoins if you have some experience, or margin trade if you are a professional.
|US Residents Allowed||Yes|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|Withdrawal Limit Without KYC Documents||KYC is Needed|
|Credit/Debit Card Purchases||Yes|
|Trading Fees||Not Fixed | See Fees|
Start and Founder
Kraken was founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell, after Mt. Gox had a security breach.
Jesse Powell told Bloomberg News that he began working on Kraken as a replacement for Mt. Gox. If that company were to close permanently, the crypto community would have a new exchange.
Back then, cryptocurrency exchanges were not as common as they are nowadays, and only a few have survived.
The exchange has made several acquisitions since then, including:
- June 2016 – CleverCoin, European bitcoin exchange
- March 2017 – CryptoWatch, charting and trading platform
- July 2019 – Cryptofinance, a software tool that provides access to crypto market data delivered via Google Sheets
- July 2019 – Interchange, a Portfolio Reconciliation Solution
- January 2020 – Bit Trade, Australian cryptocurrency exchange
Kraken is headquartered in San Francisco, California, but they have offices in Japan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom too.
You can add two-factor authentication to protect your account — which we highly suggest.
They do not allow phone/text message account recovery, as sim-swaps can happen, and you could lose access to your account that way.
Kraken is not insured, but they keep 95% of all deposits offline, air-gapped, in geographically distributed cold storage. They keep the remaining 5% in hot wallets, so you can always withdraw immediately on demand.
The exchange was founded in 2011 and had been operating since early 2013, which means that they are one of the oldest, largest, and most trusted cryptocurrency exchanges.
Unlike other exchanges from that time, Kraken is one of the few that has never been hacked.
All sensitive account information is encrypted both at the system and data level, and access to them is controlled and monitored.
With all these security measures, we still recommend everyone to keep their cryptocurrencies in hardware wallets.
Kraken’s primary focus is to satisfy a wide range of customers, and have products ready for everyone, be it a regular or a corporate account.
The exchange’s main features are the following:
Kraken allows users to trade using major Fiat currencies, such as USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, JPY and CHF. They are allowed to do that because Kraken complies with legal and regulatory requirements in the jurisdictions where they operate.
The exchange has developed a professional trading platform, called Kraken Pro, where experienced users can trade using a stripped-down interface.
Even though the exchange tells its users that it’s not a cryptocurrency wallet, they have made staking available for those that prefer to keep their coins/tokens on their platform. This way, they can earn passive income after their assets.
Cryptocurrencies available for staking are Tezos (XTZ), Cosmos (ATOM), and Dash (DASH).
Kraken gives you the ability to margin trade, with up to 5x leverage, with only 0.01-0.02% (per 4 hours) in rollover fees.
The amount one can borrow is capped at $500,000.
You can use their Pro site with advanced order types.
In addition to Bitcoin, there are more than 30 altcoins to trade.
Getting an altcoin listed on Kraken is not as easy as on smaller exchanges. However, thanks to their strict listing policy, it is unlikely that the altcoin you will buy there will have a sudden exit scam or the developer will go missing.
With a few exceptions, altcoins on their platform have a working product and at least $100 million market capitalization.
They offer institutional accounts which are great for firms, banks, funds, or just crypto-related business in general.
With their institutional accounts, companies can enjoy the benefits of a higher limit on fiat deposits and withdrawals, or higher API rate limits.
Corporate clients will also receive full access to Kraken’s OTC Desk, as well as a dedicated account management team via email, phone, or a messaging service.
You can trade futures contracts on their platform, which as the name suggests, is an agreement to buy or sell a cryptocurrency at a later date for a fixed price.
You can use up to 50x leverage with these contracts.
We recommend this feature for advanced users only.
They have launched FX Trading in 2020, which will let you directly trade between CAD, CHF, EUR, GBP, JPY and USD on Kraken.
Kraken values their support, in addition to the extensive documentation on their website about various functions, you will also have the ability to chat with a real person 24/7.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pros and Cons
- Products for every experience level
- One of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges
- Hasn’t been hacked
- Reasonable fees
- Gives you the ability to trade futures contracts
- Has an OTC desk
- Awesome security measures
- FX trading
- Outstanding support
- Pro portal for advanced traders
- Not insured
|Maker||Taker||30 Day Volume|
|0.16%||0.26%||$0 – $50,000|
|0.14%||0.24%||$50,001 – $100,000|
|0.12%||0.22%||$100,001 – $250,000|
|0.10%||0.20%||$250,001 – $500,000|
|0.08%||0.18%||$500,001 – $1,000,000|
|0.06%||0.16%||$1,000,001 – $2,500,000|
|0.04%||0.14%||$2,500,001 – $5,000,000|
|0.02%||0.12%||$5,000,001 – $10,000,000|
A maker trade is when you post a bid/ask in the order book, without instantly taking any trades, which creates liquidity — that’s why the exchange is rewarding you for it with smaller fees.
A taker trade is when you take an order out of the order book; this costs a fee, but you don’t have to wait for your order to get filled.
|Maker||Taker||30 Day Volume|
|0.20%||0.20%||$0 – $50,000|
|0.16%||0.16%||$50,001 – $100,000|
|0.12%||0.12%||$100,001 – $250,000|
|0.08%||0.08%||$250,001 – $500,000|
|0.04%||0.04%||$500,001 – $1,000,000|
Margin trading has a 0.01% opening and 0.01% 4-hour rollover fee for Bitcoin while traded against USD or EUR, while other margin pairs have a 0.02% opening and 0.02% 4-hour rollover fee.
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We did not contact anyone before writing this review, and we rated them to our best knowledge.