Karken is a cryptocurrency exchange that enables you to trade more than 200 cryptocurrencies. You can also buy and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and crypto futures. The exchange also has guides and educational materials you can use to get more cryptocurrency experience.
If you want to start trading cryptocurrencies or looking for a new exchange to use, Kraken can be a good choice thanks to its low relatively low fees, advanced trading tools, and support for many cryptocurrencies. However, Kraken has some downsides, such as its complicated fee structure.
In this Kraken crypto exchange review, we’ll help you determine if this platform can be a good fit for you.
Kraken has everything you need to buy and trade cryptocurrencies.
- Over 200 cryptocurrencies
- Guides to help you learn about investing in crypto
- Cold storage and advanced security features
What is Kraken?
Kraken, founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell, claims to be one of the oldest and largest Bitcoin exchanges in the world. Its worldwide headquarters is located in San Francisco, California.
Kraken offers over 200 other cryptocurrencies and allows you to use seven different fiat currencies including the U.S. dollar (USD), the Canadian dollar (CAD), the British Pound (GBP), and more.
The company has raised funding from several investors, including Digital Currency Group, Blockchain Capital, and Trammell Ventures. Kraken is regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen), an arm of the U.S. Treasury that analyzes data on financial transactions.
|Mobile app||Android, iOS|
More than 200 cryptocurrencies, including:
|Best for...||People who are looking to invest in cryptocurrencies and engage in an ecosystem of crypto products|
What does Kraken offer?
Kraken is one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges. The platform has several crypto-related products, enabling you to immerse yourself in this world.
Wide range of cryptocurrencies
Kraken allows you to buy and sell over 200 cryptocurrencies. Some of the most popular cryptocurrencies available on the Kraken exchange are:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Cardano (ANA)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Polkadot (DOT)
- Uniswap (UNI)
It also offers several stablecoins such as tether (USDT) and USD coin (USDC), cryptocurrencies that are pegged to the value of a fiat currency. Stablecoins facilitate trading between crypto assets.
Be aware that cryptocurrencies tend to be very volatile assets if you want to start investing money in them. Prices of digital assets might swing wildly over short periods.
Simple and advanced trading
Kraken has a web-based interface that you can use on your computer. The exchange also has two versions of its iOS app on the App Store and Android app on Google Play:
- The Kraken app: Offers a simple trading interface that may be the best fit for you if you’re new to cryptocurrency trading.
- The Kraken Pro app: Offers an advanced interface with charting tools that you may find useful if you have enough experience with cryptocurrencies.
Kraken also offers Cryptowatch, a feature that allows you to monitor and make trades on multiple exchanges. You can set alerts, such as price and volume alerts, and analyze data using visualizations. This tool may help you find cryptocurrency investments that align with your goals.
Margin trading and crypto futures
Margin trading allows you to borrow money to increase your purchase power while trading on a platform. Kraken offers this advanced feature with leverage up to 5 times your money amount with a maximum limit of $500,000.
To use margin trading, you need to qualify for it first. Keep in mind that margin trading is a highly risky tool that may increase your profit but can also exponentially deepen your losses. That’s why this feature is a good fit for experienced traders who understand its high risk.
Another advanced feature that Kraken offers is crypto futures. Futures are a type of contract that lets you buy a certain asset at a specific price at a future time.
People learning how to buy cryptocurrency can use Kraken’s resources to learn more about what cryptocurrencies are and how they work. Kraken offers plenty of information to explain cryptocurrency for beginners. Kraken also offers educational videos and a podcast about the exchange and the crypto world.
Relatively low fees
Kraken charges relatively low fees, although its fee schedule is difficult to understand and navigate.
- Funding your account: Costs 0.5% if you perform ACH bank transfers or 3.75% + $0.25 for Apple Pay and Google Pay.
- Using Kraken’s instant buy function: Costs 0.9% for stablecoins and 1.5% for all other cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.
- Using Kraken Pro to trade crypto: Uses a tiered maker/taker structure. Being a maker means your trade is executed when a matching order is found. A taker is someone who places an order for immediate execution.
|30-day trading volume||Maker fee||Taker fee|
|$0 - $50,000||0.16%||0.26%|
|$50,001 - $100,000||0.14%||0.24%|
|$100,001 - $250,000||0.12%||0.22%|
|$250,001 - $500,000||0.10%||0.20%|
|$500,001 - $1,000,000||0.08%||0.18%|
- Margin trading: Costs a 0.02% opening fee for most cryptocurrencies opening fee with a 0.02% rollover fee per four hours.
- NFT trading: Has a fixed 2% transaction fee.
Staking is a form of holding certain cryptocurrencies to support their blockchain and earn rewards in exchange.
you can choose to stake some cryptocurrencies with Kraken, allowing you to potentially earn rewards twice per week from the exchange. The rewards vary based on the coin or currency staked. Some coins require a hold period, so read the details of the coin you’re considering staking before doing so.
Kraken takes security and privacy seriously. In addition to standard security features, such as two-factor authentication, it has a dedicated security team, servers located in secure cages under surveillance by armed guards, and data encryption. It also does penetration testing to help prevent hacking incidents and keeps 95% of all deposits offline in cold storage at many different locations.
What Kraken gets right
- Many available cryptocurrencies: Kraken offers over 200 cryptocurrencies to choose from.
- Several supported fiat currencies: Kraken supports seven fiat currencies, including the U.S. dollar, euro, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, and more.
- Advanced trading and cryptowatch: Kraken offers charting tools and allows you to monitor and make trades on multiple exchanges.
- Staking: The exchange enables you to potentially earn rewards twice per week on certain cryptocurrencies.
- Security: Kraken has a dedicated security team. The platform’s servers are located in secure cages under surveillance by armed guards. It also uses data encryption, cold storage, and penetration testing, among other security features.
What Kraken can improve
- Fee structure: Kraken’s fee structure is complicated and can be confusing. Additionally, its maker and taker fees are higher than some of its competitors, including Binance.US.
- Deposit timing: Deposits take up to 1 business day via most wire transfer methods, but any delay may lead you to miss an opportunity. Some other platforms offer immediate deposits. Robinhood, for example, uses an instant deposit feature that allows you to immediately use your funds.
- Debit and credit card deposits: Kraken does not accept debit or credit cards in the U.S. It also doesn’t support PayPal or other similar services for U.S. dollar deposits.
Who can open an account with Kraken?
To open an account with Kraken, you would need to satisfy two requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must live in any U.S. state other than New York and Washington
To prove your eligibility, you may need to provide your:
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license number
To create your account, simply follow these steps:
- Enter your email address, desired user name, password, and the state you reside in.
- Confirm your email using the activation code sent to it.
- Now that your account has been activated, you can verify your identity using your name, date of birth, address, phone number, and last four digits of your Social Security number.
- In some cases, Kraken may ask you to also provide an additional form of ID, such as your driver’s license or passport.
How much can you earn with Kraken?
How much you earn with Kraken depends on several factors, including which cryptocurrencies you decide to invest in, when you buy, and when you sell.
Investing is risky, especially when you consider investing in alternative assets such as cryptocurrency. There is no guarantee that cryptocurrencies will increase in value or even exist in the future. Ensure you understand the risks involved and have an investment plan before you invest with Kraken or any other cryptocurrency exchange.
FAQs about Kraken
Is Kraken legitimate?
Kraken is a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange that was founded in 2011. It pairs clients who want to buy and sell cryptocurrencies to facilitate the exchanges. Kraken, however, is not a cryptocurrency wallet, bank, broker, investment fund, advisor, or shop.
Kraken complies with legal and regulatory requirements where it operates and is regulated by FinCen in the U.S. The company has a physical location at 237 Kearny Street #102, San Francisco, California, 94108, and also has other locations worldwide.
Can you lose money on Kraken?
As with any investment, the investments you make on Kraken could result in you losing money. Investing is risky, and although it might provide positive returns, there’s a chance your investments could decrease in value, as well. If you’re looking for a place to store money without the risk of loss, consider a bank account insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Which fiat currencies does Kraken support?
Kraken allows you to deposit and use the following fiat currencies on its platform:
- U.S. dollar (USD)
- Euro (EUR)
- Canadian dollar (CAD)
- Australian dollar (AUD)
- Pound sterling (GBP)
- Swiss franc (CHF)
- Japanese yen (JPY)
Other platforms to consider
Kraken won’t be the perfect cryptocurrency exchange for everyone learning how to buy Bitcoin. If you’re looking for other options, you have several platforms to choose from.
Coinbase allows you to buy, sell, or trade over 200 cryptocurrencies. The platform offers automatically scheduled recurring purchases, secure offline storage, and advanced trading tools. You can also qualify for a crypto debit card that earns rewards on the purchases you make.
Read our Coinbase review.
Binance.US is another option worth considering. Binance.US is the U.S. based version of the Binance exchange, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world based on 24-hour volume. The Binance.US platform offers real-time charts, staking, low fees, and educational sources. You can also use the BNB coin to get trading fee discounts.
Learn more in our Binance.US review.
If cryptocurrency isn’t for you and you prefer to invest in more traditional assets, consider checking out our list of the best investment apps.
- Everything you need to buy, sell, and trade crypto
- Crypto guides help get you up to speed
- Crypto is held safely in cold wallets so bad actors can't reach it