Kraken vs. Okcoin [2024]: Which is Smarter for New Investors?

INVESTING - CRYPTOCURRENCY
Kraken lets you trade more cryptocurrencies, while Okcoin offers more advanced trading options. What else is different?
Updated April 3, 2023
Fact checked
man holding bitcoin

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Many new investors were pulled into the world of cryptocurrencies during the bull market that erupted in the middle of 2020. With this flush of new investors, many new cryptocurrency exchanges popped up offering help for investors learning how to buy cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency exchanges make it easy for investors to buy and sell digital currencies for other assets, particularly conventional or fiat money. However, these exchanges differ in the payment methods they accept and the fees they charge.

In this Kraken versus Okcoin review and comparison, we’ll look at the key differences between these two popular cryptocurrency exchanges to help you decide which might be right for you.

In this article

Kraken vs. Okcoin

Kraken Okcoin
Mobile app iOS, Android iOS, Android
Fees Buy/sell transactions:
  • 0.9% fee for any stablecoins
  • 1.5% fee for any other crypto or foreign exchange (FX) pair
  • Payment card processing fee:
    • 3.75% + €0.25 ($0.28)
  • Online banking/ACH processing fee:
    • 0.5%
  • Trading fees (Kraken Pro):
    • 0.00% to 0.16% maker fee
    • 0.10% to 0.26% taker fee
  • Margin fees:
    • 0.01% to 0.02% opening fee
    • 0.01% to 0.02% rollover fee
Buy/sell transactions:
  • Difference between buy price and sell price (the spread) - which fluctuates between 1.0%-1.5%
  • Payment card processing fee:
    • 3.99% transaction fee
    • Minimum transaction amount: $75.00
  • Online banking/ACH processing fee:
    • $0.99 per transfer
  • Trading fees:
    • 0.00% to 0.10% maker fee
    • 0.02% to 0.20% taker fee
  • Margin fees:
    • Fluctuate in real time between the highest and lowest daily rates
Available cryptocurrencies 101 cryptocurrencies currently supported, including:
  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Tether (USDT)
  • USD Coin (USDC)
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Solana (SOL)
60 cryptocurrencies currently supported, including:
  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Tether (USDT)
  • USD Coin (USDC)
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Solana (SOL)
  • Terra (LUNA)
Buy/deposit methods
  • Bank account (ACH)
  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • Bank account (ACH)
  • Bank account (Wire transfer)
  • Debit card
  • Credit card
Sell/withdrawal methods
  • Bank account (ACH)
  • Bank account (wire transfer)
  • Bank account (wire transfers only)
Order types
  • Limit
  • Market
  • Stop loss
  • Stop loss limit
  • Take profit
  • Take profit limit
  • Additional order types for futures trading
  • Limit
  • Advanced Limit
  • Market
  • Stop
  • Trigger
  • Trail
  • Iceberg
  • TWAP (Time-Weighted Average Price)
Other features
  • Can use margin to trade with up to 5x leverage
  • For advanced traders: Kraken’s Account Management Service
  • 24/7 chat, email, ticket support
  • Can use margin to trade with up to 3x leverage
  • Earn rewards by staking crypto
FDIC-insured Not FDIC-insured Digital assets are not FDIC-insured

U.S. dollar deposits held in custodial banks are FDIC-insured

Best for… Active traders who want access to a large list of cryptocurrencies Investors after low fees and strong security
Visit Kraken Visit Okcoin

How does Kraken work?

Kraken is considered one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges on the market. Jesse Powell founded Kraken in 2011 to replace Mt. Gox, which had suffered a damaging security breach. In 2013, Kraken officially launched and offered trades for Bitcoin, Litecoin, and many other crypto alternatives. From 2017 to 2019, the exchange experienced significant growth due to the mainstreaming of broader crypto markets.

Kraken allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin and other top altcoins such as Ethereum. It has one of the largest currency catalogs, offering over 100 cryptocurrencies to prospective buyers. Although it's an easy platform for beginners, Kraken also offers tools for more experienced crypto traders.

The Kraken Pro option is available to users who want a more advanced cryptocurrency trading module. Fees on Kraken Pro are charged on a per-trade basis.

Kraken is also known for supporting spot trading at current market rates and cryptocurrency futures. Spot trading involves buying and selling assets at the current market rate (the spot price) with the aim of taking delivery of the underlying asset. This is a popular practice among day traders who seek to open short-term positions with low spreads and no expiration date.

Cryptocurrency futures allow investors to utilize leverage in order to improve profits. At its most basic, futures trading lets traders buy or sell an asset at a future date for a fixed price. Although Kraken Futures offers the same essential function for trading cryptocurrencies with up to 50X leverage, the feature is not available to U.S. residents.

Read our Kraken review.

... Or visit Kraken

How does Okcoin work?

The Okcoin exchange was founded in China in 2013 by Star Xu and has a huge international reach, offering trading to investors in 192 countries. The company has stated that it aims to make crypto investment and trading more accessible to newcomers learning how to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It has sought to achieve this with a highly accessible platform and some of the lowest fees around.

Okcoin provides a platform for users to buy, sell, and trade familiar cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and many others. The exchange allows users to set up automatic purchases in their crypto of choice. This feature works like a subscription, which automates orders at an interval of your choice (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, etc.). It also offers a mobile app with all these features to iOS and Android users.

China’s aggressive crackdown on cryptocurrencies has negatively impacted Okcoin in the past. The platform was forced to halt trading in 2013 and again in 2017 during the crypto bull market. However, that measure was restricted to yuan-based trading in cryptocurrencies. North American users should be in the clear no matter what policies China pursues going forward.

Read our Okcoin review.

What both cryptocurrency exchanges excel at

Attractive to beginners

Both Kraken and Okcoin offer sleek platforms accessible to beginners and experienced traders alike. The interfaces are clean and easy to use, and signing up for an account is simple.

Offer many fiat currencies and global exposure

Kraken and Okcoin support many fiat currencies. Okcoin delivers services to a massive stable of countries around the world. Meanwhile, Kraken accepts fiat currencies in U.S. dollars (USD), euro (EUR), Canadian dollars (CAD), Australian dollars (AUD), and several others.

Access to token and rewards through staking

Both exchanges offer users the opportunity to earn additional tokens and rewards through a process called staking. This locks up some of your crypto assets to help validate transactions on a particular blockchain but earns you a percentage of rewards over time.

Kraken and Okcoin also offer excellent security through air-gapped cold storage. This means that cryptocurrencies are kept secure through a hardware wallet on a computer or device not connected to any network. This helps protect your data from hackers, viruses, and malware.

Kraken Benefits

  • 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

5 important differences between Kraken and Okcoin

1. Number of cryptocurrencies supported

Kraken supports over 100 cryptocurrencies as of January 26, 2022, including Chainlink, Dogecoin, Monero, and Shiba Inu. However, there are notable restrictions for specific countries over which cryptos are available to trade.

On the other hand, Okcoin offers 60 individual digital currencies for trading. These include the big players such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether.

2. Fees

The Kraken Pro option utilizes a maker-taker fee schedule with volume incentives based on users' activity in the past 30 days. Fees are charged on a per-trade basis and calculated as a percentage of the trade’s quoted currency volume. To sum up, the more actively you trade on Kraken, the lower your fees.

Okcoin’s fees are determined by a trailing 30-day trading volume. Trading volume simply measures how much a financial asset has been traded in a period of time — how many shares of Tesla have been exchanged in one trading session, for example.

Users that trade more on Okcoin are rewarded with lower trading fees. That volume is automatically converted to USD using the exchange rate of the digital asset at the time of the transaction. Transaction fees are charged based on the volume of the asset the user purchases.

3. FDIC-insured

Kraken investments are not FDIC-insured. The company points out that crypto exchanges do not qualify for deposit insurance programs since exchanges are not savings institutions. However, the exchange vows that all assets will be kept on hand and available as cash or “the least risky, most liquid cash equivalents.”

Okcoin, on the other hand, has been laser-focused on obtaining licensing in dozens of U.S. states. The exchange places U.S. dollar funds in one or more custodial accounts at FDIC-insured banks. However, since digital assets are not legal tender, crypto investments are not FDIC-insured.

4. Advanced trading

Kraken offers users the ability to use market, stop, or limit orders. Margin trading involves using borrowed funds to trade a given financial asset. In this case, that would be a cryptocurrency.

Kraken also allows you to use margin to trade with up to 5x leverage. Leverage allows investors to use debt rather than equity to purchase a financial asset. Beginners should keep in mind that margin trading carries substantial risk as you could lose much more money than you initially invested.

Okcoin offers the ability to place market, stop, or limit orders. You can also place an iceberg order, which hides the full order size from the order books by breaking it into smaller limit orders.

More active and experienced traders may be more attracted to Kraken’s advanced trading platform. Its fees are more favorable for those who make more trades. Both offer margin trading, though Okcoin doesn’t allow it for users in the U.S., Europe, and Singapore.

5. Buy and deposit methods

Users seeking to make deposits to their Kraken account need to use USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, British pound sterling (GBP), Swiss franc (CHF), or Japanese yen (JPY). The most common deposit method is a bank transfer using a unique reference number.

Kraken does not accept transfers from third-party payment processors, including PayPal, Paysera, and Western Union. It also doesn’t support U.S. domestic deposits via check or physical cash.

Kraken only supports physical cash (in person) and debit card deposits (in person) in Canadian dollars. It also doesn’t accept debit and credit cards for any other currencies.

When it comes to Kraken versus Okcoin, Okcoin is slightly less restrictive with its buy and deposit methods. Okcoin accepts USD deposits via domestic and international wire or a conventional bank transfer (ACH).

Unlike Kraken, Okcoin users also have the option to use a debit or credit card (VISA or Mastercard), albeit with a 3.99% deposit fee. As a result, it might make more sense to use a wire or bank transfer.

Which cryptocurrency exchange should you choose?

The choice between Kraken or Okcoin comes down to some key preferences and what you want out of a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

If you want access to a very large catalog of crypto assets, Kraken is likely the more attractive option due to its long list of supported cryptocurrencies. However, if you’re only interested in the largest digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Okcoin might be a better option.

Users will also be subject to higher fees if they don’t use Kraken Pro, making Kraken a more attractive choice for active crypto traders. It is also a high-liquidity exchange that makes it easier to buy and sell at market rates. That said, Kraken still has a friendly interface, even for newcomers.

Okcoin could be a better choice for crypto traders who are just starting out or learning how to invest money. It boasts a competitive and low trading fee and an accessible platform interface. However, there is less variety of available crypto assets. This may push away those on the hunt for a larger list of cryptocurrencies.

FAQs

Is Kraken trustworthy?

Kraken has worked hard to bolster its security to dispel concerns over potential data breaches. In 2019, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell warned investors to avoid holding crypto that they do not intend to trade on any exchange. Instead, they should seek out more secure storage like hardware or a crypto wallet.

Overall, Kraken offers a secure exchange provided users follow good online security practices. This includes two-factor authentication for sign-in, account withdrawals, and trades. Moreover, Kraken offers air-gapped cold storage, strict surveillance, precise API key permission control, and SSL encryption.

Is Kraken better than Uphold?

Kraken offers 101 cryptocurrencies compared to the Uphold cryptocurrency exchange, which only offers 76. Beyond that, Kraken also supports more transactions.

In addition to the ability to buy, sell, hold, limit, and stake, Kraken supports futures trading. It also gives you access to Cryptowatch, a premium trading terminal that provides real-time crypto data.

Kraken also offers an attractive fee structure, especially for highly active users. Uphold has a fee structure in the United States and Europe with a spread that typically ranges between 0.8% and 1.2% on Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, spreads can be higher for cryptos and tokens with lower liquidity. Uphold’s fee structure can be complex for newcomers, making Kraken the more attractive option.

Is Binance better than Kraken?

Binance is a heavyweight when it comes to total cryptocurrency offerings, supporting hundreds of cryptocurrencies. It also boasts FDIC-insured USD balances. Moderately active traders may be more attracted to Binance’s lower trading fees. However, that gap is narrowed if you take advantage of Kraken Pro’s lower fees for high-volume traders.

Both platforms require some getting used to for new traders. However, Kraken offers a cleaner interface and a more responsive customer support line. Binance also suffers from a lack of availability in a handful of U.S. states.

Bottom line

Kraken offers low fees, especially for highly active users, and boasts superior liquidity in U.S. markets. The Kraken platform also supports margin and futures trading for more ambitious crypto traders.

If you want a large cryptocurrency catal, Kraken could be a better option with over 100 individual cryptocurrencies supported. On the other hand, new users may hit some barriers due to its somewhat restrictive buy and deposit methods.

Okcoin has a smaller cryptocurrency catalog. However, it offers fantastic liquidity that often punches up with some of the top exchanges on the planet. It also boasts low fees and a plethora of advanced trading options.

FinanceBuzz is not an investment advisor. This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

Kraken Benefits

  • 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

Author Details

Ambrose O'Callaghan Ambrose O'Callaghan is a freelance finance and investment writer based in Hamilton, Canada. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from McMaster University and enjoys creative fiction writing as a hobby. His writing credits include Motley Fool and Baystreet.ca.

Want to learn how to make an extra $200?

Get proven ways to earn extra cash from your phone, computer, & more with Extra.

You will receive emails from FinanceBuzz.com. Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

  • Vetted side hustles
  • Exclusive offers to save money daily
  • Expert tips to help manage and escape debt