Kraken is one of the largest and most lucrative exchanges on the market.
But if you want to sail the high seas of Bitcoin, there is a lot you need to know. And with so many negative user reviews lately, it’s hard to tell which information, if any, is reliable. That’s why we wrote this Kraken review for 2018.
Let’s set sail.
What is Kraken?
Kraken is a digital asset exchange. It’s just like the New York Stock Exchange, except users trade cryptocurrency rather than stock in a company. The platform charges a fee for matching a buyer with a seller. Unlike brokers (ex. Coinbase), you cannot buy BTC directly with a credit card.
The company was released on the high seas by Jesse Powell in 2011 and has been a pioneer in the crypto realm since inception. It was the first to pass a verifiable proof of reserves audit, switch to the now-standard XBT code, and be featured on Bloomberg’s ticker.
The platform is designed with experienced traders in mind (more on why later). Its mobile app, fees, and trading options are some of the best around.
Also, it is the world’s most liquid Euro/crypto trading market, so EU customers will find it even more lucrative.
However, the company has fallen under heavy scrutiny as of late and been subject to a flood of negative user reviews (see the reviews section).
Which Real Currencies Can I Trade?
Which Coins Does Kraken Offer?
Kraken supports 17 coins and dozens of trading pairs:
Is Kraken Safe? | Is it Legit? Why do so Many Claim it’s a Scam?
With so many allegations and negative reviews around the web, it’s important to set the record straight on the company’s security and reputation.
To start, the company does an excellent job of addressing the two main concerns of clients: security and stability. Not only do they have full reserves in cold storage, but they also have sophisticated measures in place to protect the exchange. In terms of financial stability, few can match Kraken. Aside from 2FA, here are a few more encouraging signs:
The company is also very transparent. The CEO is well known, the HQ is in San Francisco, and the investors are public.
Verdict: The exchange is very secure and stable.
What are Kraken Fees?
Kraken fees are very trader friendly but very complicated. Here’s what you need to know:
Maker/Taker Trading Fees
The fee depends on the coin you trade. For most, it’s:
Kraken Deposit Fees
Deposits are also very trader-friendly. Here’s a rundown:
Kraken Withdrawal Fees
With fees starting as low as €.09, it’s cheap to get your money off of the exchange.
Kraken Reviews | Why is Everyone Angry?
For such an old and reputable exchange, users have not been happy with the company lately (3/18). The CEO even had to publicly apologize, saying there was “no excuse” for his platform’s poor performance.
The exchange suffered major performance issues, including bugs, downtime, and poor support. Some even called it a scam.
These eloquent users aren’t happy with the platform’s performance
The company definitely is not a scam. They just were severely overburdened by the crypto explosion. Missing deposits, long wait times, and other support issues were eventually resolved. In terms of performance, the exchange went through a major upgrade in January to improve it.
A simple Google search will return threads full of expletives and other vivid languages in regards to Kraken’s support and performance. However, after the upgrade, things seem to have gotten much better.
Verdict: Kraken is highly respected around the community and most traders love it. When the platform works (which isn’t often enough), it’s a great place to trade. Positive reviews focus on the range of coins and tools along with low fees. Negative reviews hate the erratic wait times and system performance.
How to Use Kraken | Signup, Verification, Trading
It isn’t the most beginner-friendly exchange out there (find better options here), so using Kraken and understanding all of its rules is a tall task. Make sure to read up and know exactly what you’re getting into.
1.) Register and Confirm Your Email
If you’re ready to set sail, go to Kraken.com and register. Then, click the link that comes to your email.
2) Verify Your Account
Kraken verification is much more complex than competitors. Each “tier” unlocks new abilities and limits. Here’s a quick breakdown with limits for deposits and withdrawals (of fiat currency):
Go the verification screen, choose your tier, and enter your details to begin the process.
NOTE: Kraken tier 1 verification should be instant. So should tier 2. Tiers 3 and 4 may take a while, but as of February 2018, support was still severely overburdened. As of March, things have improved but be prepared to wait.
3) Buy Bitcoin
Once you are verified, you can deposit into your wallet using SEPA, SWIFT, or bank wires. Buying Bitcoin is much easier than before on the sleek new interface. As you can see, the charts are detailed but straightforward.
Top 3 Alternatives to Kraken
If the exchange is too complicated or you aren’t a fan of verification, here are some alternatives that might appeal to you.
Binance is the massive exchange that is taking the crypto world by storm. If you want to speculate on rare altcoins, enter sports car giveaways, and trade on one of the most detailed interfaces on the market, this is the place. It’s crypto only, but its liquid order book is one of the best places to make money with Bitcoin.
Poloniex is another massive exchange. It receives 50 million unique visits per month. Here you can find all of the trading options of Kraken (detailed charts, margin trading), except with more coins and better performance.
Bittrex is the American answer to Binance. With over 190 coins and a sleek and secure interface, it is the exchange of choice for experienced traders. Its fees and reputation are just as good as Kraken’s.
Q: Is the Kraken App High Quality?
A: Yes. The app has a 4-star rating on the Android Play Store and allows you to manage your BTC in a single click.
Q: Is There Kraken Margin Trading?
Q: Does the Exchange Accept PayPal?
Q: How Long Does it Take to Get Verified on Kraken?
A: The platform claims just a few days, but at this point, nobody really knows. Good luck.
Q: Can I Trade Ripple (XRP)?
Q: Where is Kraken Located?
A: San Francisco.
Performance and Support Issues
Verification Wait Times
Liquid Order Book
Kraken is an advanced exchange with detailed trading options that are best for experienced traders. Its low fees, detailed trading options, and fiat currencies make it ideal for professionals who know their way around cryptocurrency. Performance and support issues are improving, but it isn’t ideal for beginners.