• US Clients

  • Trading Platform

    Web Based Trading Platform

  • Number of Assets

    1

  • Types of Assets

    Cryptocurrencies

Full Review

Kraken describes itself as the “largest Bitcoin exchange in euro volume and liquidity.” The exchange was founded in July 2011 by Jesse Powell, who holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from California State University, Sacramento.

The exchange is headquartered in San Francisco, and serves users from the entire of North America—with the exception of New York because of the BitLicense—Europe and Japan. Anyone around the world can easily use its entry level services, such as price charts and statistics. As of January 2017 the cyrptocurrency platform was the world’s 2nd largest in terms of volume.

Kraken has gone through three funding rounds and raised $6.5 million in capital from 13 investors, including Money Partners Group, Blockchain Capital and Digital Currency Group. The company has also completed five acquisitions, including crypto market visualization platform Cryptowatch, Bitcoin exchange Coinsetter and Dutch exchange Clevercoin.

Following the bankruptcy of Mt. Gox, the trustees of the receivership picked Kraken as the platform through which claimants could apply to receive lost funds.

The Advantages

The following are the advantages of using Kraken:

  • A very popular platform for intermediate or professional crypto traders and occasional users
  • Kraken has an excellent rank (5th) on the list of leading cryptocurrency exchanges
  • Support for an increasingly wide range of high-volume cryptocurrencies as well as fiat currencies
  • Bitcoin Cash credited to all users promptly & now open for trading
  • Very low fees compared to other more “beginner-friendly” exchanges like Blockchain.info or Bitpanda
  • Pioneering transparency: Kraken was the first exchange to carry out proof-of-reserves auditing
  • Free deposits for Euro, Canadian dollar, and Japanese yen
  • Super fast SEPA withdraws: mine usually take no more than 2 days (so much faster than any other exchange)
  • Very reasonable fees: fiat & cryptocurrency trades/withdrawals are much cheaper than on other exchanges
  • Excellent security initiatives: two-factor authentication is encouraged using Google’s 2FA app
  • Supports margin trading for users seeking greater exposures with smaller upfront capital

The Disadvantages

The following are the disadvantages of using Kraken:

  • The user interface is not as beginner friendly as other exchanges like Coinbase or CEX
  • Account verification times are no faster than competing sites such as Bitstamp or Coinmama
  • Up to $15 fees for every fiat deposit and withdrawal through SWIFT (international banks)
  • Occasional arbitrary closure of accounts has been reported (when fraud is suspected), though this not as common as on Coinbase
  • Slow buggy execution of orders, sometimes failing or taking up to 30 seconds, which can result in loss of money for professional traders
  • Often unresponsive customer support following the recent cryptocurrency bull-market & large influx of new users.
  • Like most custodial exchanges, Kraken holds the private keys to your account’s crypto address

Interview of Kraken CEO

The above discussion with Kraken CEO, Jesse Powell, dates from 2015 and was recorded at the CoinSummit conference. For a more recent interview check out this podcast episode from April 2016 – Trace Mayer and Jesse Powell discuss the past, present, and future of Kraken.

Services Available on Kraken

Users can buy and sell cryptos, as well as margin trade. Here are the 15 crypto coins currently supported by Kraken:

  • Bitcoin (XBT)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Monero (XMR)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Stellar/Lumens (XLM)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Augur tokens (REP)
  • Iconomi (ICN)
  • Melon (MLN)
  • Zcash (ZEC)
  • Dogecoin (XDG)
  • Tether (USDT)
  • Gnosis (GNO)
  • EOS (EOS)

Fiat currencies supported on the exchange include euros, Japanese yen, US dollars, Canadian dollars and British pounds. Fiat deposits and withdrawals are completed through SEPA, Swift, and bank wires. US users can deposit and withdraw through bank wire service, which costs $5. Bank wire transfers from outside of the US cost US$10, €10 or £10. If you are in Canada, you can deposit or withdraw Canadian dollars (CAD) through bank wire at no cost. Users in the European Economic Area can deposit and withdraw using free SEPA wire transfer. Meanwhile, Japanese users can deposit and withdraw any amount below ¥5,000 through bank deposits free of charge. Kraken released a mobile app for iPhone in September 2014. However, reception has never been good. While users praise the smoothness of the mobile version of the website, they complain that the app is full of bugs and rarely works. The app has a rating below 3 in Apple App Store. As for the website, most beginners prefer to avoid Kraken because the website layout can be slightly confusing. However, most advanced users don’t seem to complain about the interface.

Kraken’s interface is not optimized for beginners

Who Uses Kraken ?

This review of Kraken would not be complete without giving you an idea of where and how people are using the site. Kraken ranks second after Coinbase in terms of website traffic according to similarweb.com. The exchange comes before Bitstamp, Xapo and Bitsquare, in that order. However, among the top five global cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken claims the highest mobile use percentage (38.46%). Each of the others receives less than 27% of their traffic through mobile devices.

Kraken has some impressive stats[/caption] The Kraken website receives 470,381 visitors daily, with the majority coming from the US (14.53%), France (9.79%), Germany (8.04%), the United Kingdom (6.68%) and the Netherlands (5.52%). Those who visit the site through desktops make up 61.54% of traffic, while the rest comes from mobile devices (38.46%).

In terms of volume, CoinMarketCap usually ranks Kraken as between the fourth and sixth largest exchange. Those most of the time ahead of it include Bithumb, Bittrex, Bitfinex, Poloniex and OKCoin.

Kraken’s Fees

Kraken offer cheap fees

Kraken offer the lowest fees compared to all other major exchanges. For example – when I withdraw Euros through SEPA bank transfer I’m only charged 0.09€ by Kraken. That’s pretty amazing compared to the hefty 10€ average fee that corporate banking institutions charge their clients. Good job to these guys!

Fees depend on the tier in which your account belongs. The higher the tier and the amounts involved, the lower the fees you pay. Fees are calculated as percentages of trade volumes, and they range between 0% and 0.26%. Both the buyer and the seller are charged fees, with a buyer in a trade paying more than a seller.

The fee amount also depends on the currencies involved. A pairing of cryptocurrencies incurs lower fees than one that exchanges fiat with cryptocurrency.

In addition to percentage-based fees, users pay a flat processing fee of $60 per page for paper copies of communications.

Creating a Kraken account

Signing up for an account on Kraken is similar to creating an account on most online platforms. As described below, the exchange has included extra features on the signup page to secure and protect user accounts. The platform also meets Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements from US regulators.

The first step when signing up is to input your email address and create a password that is at least eight characters long and includes letters, numbers and special characters. You also have the option to share a PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) public key that the platform can use for added security when sending you emails.

You are also prompted to create a master key that gives your account a second layer of security that includes two-factor (2FA) login protection. This is especially useful when changing passwords or switching devices. The master key can be a password, a Yubikey password or public/private key pair, or Google authentication. You will need to store your master key separate from your other login credentials.

The second step in signing up is to activate your account. You’ll receive an email with an activation key that you then copy and paste into a second form. With this done, you gain access to your account.

The entire process takes between five and ten minutes and is largely smooth and easy to follow.

While Kraken has never had a major security incident like those experienced at Mt. Gox or Bitfinex, in July 2016 several users reported having their accounts hacked and funds stolen. Kraken later reported, however, that almost all the users affected failed to use two-factor login protection.

While Kraken provides users with public addresses for depositing cryptos to accounts, it holds the private keys to those public addresses. Therefore, as a user you have to trust their honesty and capacity to keep your cryptos safe.

Account types

Kraken exchange offers five types of accounts (aka – “tiers”). Immediately after you sign up, you get a tier 0 account. What differentiates the different levels is primarily the daily and monthly limits on fiat and cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals.

The different tiers also expose you to different fee structures. The higher the account tier, the lower the fees you pay per trade. I actually found that upgrading to a different level was far easier than I had initially thought.

Tier 0

The tier 0 account allows neither deposits nor withdrawals of fiat or crypto funds. Therefore you can do little with a tier zero account except access price statistics and trading charts. To really get the feel of Kraken, you need to upgrade to tier 1 account.

Tier 1

With a tier 1 account, you can deposit and withdraw cryptos. There are no daily or monthly limits to how much you can deposit. However, you can only withdraw less than $2,500 worth per day and $20,000 per month. The account allows trading between different cryptocurrencies, but not between cryptos and fiat currencies. To qualify for a tier one, you need to update your profile with your full name, your date of birth, country of residence and telephone number. You may have to wait from one to three days after providing these details to be verified as a tier 1 account. The waiting period can be longer for people outside North America, Europe and Japan.

Tier 2

When you get a tier 2 account, you are eligible to deposit fiat currency up to $2,000 daily and $10,000 a month. You can also withdraw $2,000 in fiat daily and $10,000 per month. The amount of cryptocurrencies you can withdraw increases from $2,500 per day to $5,000. The monthly limits go from $20,000 to $50,000. To qualify for tier 2, you need to share your postal address with the exchange. Just like the previous tier, you may have to wait for several days for approval.

Tier 3

I just love the sizable volumes that this verification level enables – perfect for a serious trader. Indeed tier 3 affords you a daily limit in fiat deposit of $25,000 and a monthly limit of $200,000. The withdrawal limit for fiat currency increases to $25,000 and $200,000 monthly. The amount of cryptos you are allowed to deposit daily rises to $50,000 and monthly to $200,000. To qualify for a tier 3 account, you need to provide a government-issued ID and verify proof of residence by providing a copy of a utility bill no more than three months old. US citizens must provide a social security number. You are also required to upload an ID-confirmation photo. This is a picture of you holding the ID you provided for verification, alongside a handwritten, signed and dated note reading: “Only for trading digital currency on Kraken”

Tier 4

This level is reserved for corporate entities or for individuals trading at high volumes. I’ll be honest – I haven’t reached this tier yet and probably never will. Nevertheless, accounts in tier 4 can deposit daily amounts of up to $100,000 in fiat currency and $500,000 monthly. Withdrawal limits for both fiat and cryptos are $100,000 daily and $500,000 monthly. To get a tier 4 account, you need to contact support.

Similar alternatives to Kraken

Here are some Kraken alternatives that are very similar in terms of functionality and reputation:

  • Gdax.com – high-volume pro trading crypto exchange (USA)
  • Bitfinex.com – leading bitcoin exchange for day traders (Hong Kong)
  • Poloniex.com – 2nd largest crypto exchange. Recent issues, as shown in my review of Poloniex. No fiat deposits (USA)
  • Bittrex.com – largest crypto exchange. Recently overtook Poloniex in terms of monthly traffic.

Have you ever used Kraken? How was your experience & what would you add to this Kraken review? Let me know in the comments below.

Add Review

51 Reviews

Nice article! However, recently Kraken has removed some altcoin that used to pair with USD, which is a little bit bad; nevetheless, they had removed conditionals like stop-loss, take-profit, trailing, and so on. Unfortunately due to their decision to remove these essential trade options, many users are leaving Kraken (including myself).

which trading platforms are good alternatives? (that will pair fiat currency e.g. USD with a variety of crypto currencies)

You could try Gdax, or Bitfinex (no easy fiat deposits) as good Kraken alternatives with cryptos paired to fiat (mostly USD)

Ah nice to hear actual feed back from a Kraken user. It’s true that most exchanges do occasionally have to remove certain altcoins as they loose popularity and volume.

I appreciate the heads-up about their removal of conditionals like stop-loss, take-profit, & trailing. 🙂 Thanks

Small mistake “Both the buyer and the seller are charged fees, with a buyer in a trade paying more than a seller.” Fees differ for maker/taker not buyer/seller.

kraken seem to have big problems with its trading engine scaling, with currencies being removed, conditional trade types removed and the number of decimal places in orders being reduced to try and improve performance. I would like to know why the engine is struggling…

I have been using kraken for a few months but now it has become unusable. As others said, orders will go through randomly, most of the time they won’t but you’ll know minutes later, and they have (rightly) removed many currency pairs and decimals but things are just getting worse!! They have also eliminated stop orders and things got even worse! How is that possible?? Can they have such a surge in customres/trading to be unable to manage the simplest orders? Again, most of the time when you click the final BUY button nothing happens and when it happens you’ll know much later! And this is the answer I got from support “Unfortunately at this time, the engine is obviously having issues accepting new orders. There is not a quick fix to this. The best option for now is to wait and try the order again. There is no way circumvent the current trading engine issues, they are affecting everybody.” So there in no way out, unless you move to another exchange…

Thanks for your experience Pippo. We’re seeing many reviews of kraken where users are encountering your reported issue and it’s increasingly taking a toll on the exchange’s reputation. For now, I’ve downgraded their rank and rating on the homepage top list of sites to trade btc and alts. I will be following the situation.

Could it be struggling because of front-end scaling issues? I say this because the Kraken API seems to work ok for making orders.

At least they are doing a good job compared to Poloniex, who’s been offline for extended and repeated periods – and there’s never any withdraw hassle on Kraken 🙂 Thumbs up to them

Kraken currently does not allow Washington state residents to use their exchange because of stringent state regulations.

I like Kraken for their market positioning ????. The operation is located and headquartered in the USA, yet they have targeted both north american and European traders. The BTC/EUR volumes are perfect for me (i buy approx 200 euro per week). And the best part is that I can trade with leverage (margin trading) on Kraken. Not many other places offer such crypto instruments (no I’m not using Poloniex ???? for now as they have slow customer support).

This exchange is the worst, I tried it for the first time and lost $500 on it right away because this site is either down or would not let you do orders for an hour, it is a nightmare to deal with them, STAY AWAY !

I am surprised there are still people who uses them, after reading bad reviews I thought that it may be work of competition and decided to try it, boy did I learned a lesson, $500 lost for trying KRAKEN !

Kraken is very intuitive and I find the support is also okay – but true, the downtimes are ridiculous.
Can’t reach for hours and ave to place and order ten or twenty times, it’s all matter of luck if you make a deal…
It’s unbearable and not future-compatible.
They should invest in a second server maybe ?

Indeed, i have head numerous complaints of Kraken going down during peak trading times. Unfortunately such interruptions can causes losses for traders. Good job posting your feedback about Kraken here for others to read. I myself have had issues with the site not letting me do orders for 10 to 15 minutes. Sometimes it is as if Kraken’s system just gets overloaded and cannot handle requests.

> I am surprised there are still people who uses [Kraken]

Let’s not forget that Kraken is the cheapest crypto exchange in terms of fees. The exchange also has some of the best volumes, good margin trading, and extra fast withdraw/deposit times. Compare all that to sites like CEX or Coinbase and it’s easy to understand why people (expert traders) still use Kraken.

You sometimes get about 15% better deals on Kraken than, say, on Bitfinex – i had that with BCH – now that is attractive.
Sending and withdrawing crypto also works well and timely…
But the downtimes are so terrible. I can’t see why there’s no attempts at fixing this, obviously 2018 should be a boom year for cryptos.
THIS is a great way of making sure Kraken won’t be a part of that when it could be a winner.

This is quite interesting. They have a mobile app touted as smooth yet full of bugs and is far from 100% reliable, yet Kraken supposedly has a third of its users coming in thru it? What I’d like to know is how many of the monthly mobile app visitors return. Perhaps, this surge in mobile views is due to the large number of new BTC and crpytocurrency enthusiasts.

They’ve already done several funding rounds and raked in $6.5 million. I know it’s difficult to balance low withdrawal/deposit fees with exceptional service, but they do need to improve their customer support and UI (especially those buggy orders that get dropped for no reason) if they want to at least maintain their hold.

I think the high number of visitors thru their mobile app is more due to the fact that more and more people are viewing things on their smartphones rather than on their laptops and desktop computers. After all, it’s easy to go to the app store and check out Kraken. According to this Kraken review, the mobile version of the exchange is smooth. Now, they just have to ensure that their app is just as easy to use.

Likewise, I have to agree regarding the Kraken disadvantages. I know they have a lot of users to deal with, but bad customer support should be solved as soon as possible. They have a surge in popularity, but this could be wasted if new users are unimpressed with both support and UI after conducting their own Kraken inspection.

Then again, this full analysis of Kraken also points out the fact that the exchange has a strong hold on the more experienced and high-level cryptocurrency traders. They have no problems with high volumes of either cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies. Combined with low reasonable fees (for most of the time), I can see how the cons pale in comparison to the Kraken advantages.

16th of October 2017 I made payment into Kraken’s corresponding bank and a week later I created a ticket to follow up why my funds havent yet reflected into the Kraken Acc. They replied a day later saying they couldn’t locate my deposit. Another week goes by and they emailed saying it looked like my deposit arrived without the proper referencing to assign it to my account automatically.
Ok no problem I thought. The funds have been located and they assured me few days later it will be into my account. Well it’s now 1 November and still nothing.
During this time the bitcoin price has risen 1000USD so now because of their incompetence and delay it defetes the purpose of purchasing a bitcoin and I am sure as hell I will not be compensated for their poor service.

> They replied a day later

I understand the frustration, but do please note that 1-day customer service response times is like faster than light speed when it comes to bitcoin exchanges. To give you an example – when issues arise on Coinbase, customers can expect to wait 3-7 days to get a response – and on Cex the average response time from support is 2 to 3 weeks! No joke, but these platforms are literally overrun with new users everyday. They’re coping as well as they can, hats off to Kraken for such a fast response time.

> During this time the bitcoin price has risen 1000USD

These moments are indeed frustrating – I’ve missed so many price-dips for similar reasons to yours. Especially with people saying that it’s best not to keep money stored up on any cryptocurrency exchange. It’s a compromise between planning ahead and risking funds kept online. That’s why it’s always important to find the most trustworthy exchange. During my Kraken review I’ve tried to show that despite its faults, there are indeed many expert traders that trust the operators with good deals of their money.

I am waiting for 2days now on a response or a fix for my locked account, after 5 minutes I got a mail asking to provide more info so they could unlock, never heard back again. in the mean time I posted 2 more requests for help, no response. I am thinking, they let me sit in the dark here on purpose. 48 hours nd counting for a locked account report. This is insane and if they let me wait just because they can

Hi John, it’s annoying I know. Do realize that these exchanges, Kraken included, are being flooded with requests from new and long-time users. There’s just so much activity going on in the crypto world right now. Kraken are experiencing serious UI issues, but I would guess that their integrity remains solid and trustworthy.

Agreed, have to see things in context.

Hey cheers for your review and insight on Kraken.com. I’d just like to add that their site has some serious disadvantages as of recent times. Extremely unstable. Putting an order through is like gambling at the casino! Most of the time, the order doesn’t go through and you are asked to refresh to verify. And then of course, you are directed to a page that tells you about error 502. I think they are too incompetent to fix their trading engine. My analysis is that Kraken does not deserve all the traders that they have. Pro traders are gonna go elsewhere soon (if they haven’t already done so).

Very much agree with your experience on Kraken here. It’s true that the exchange is unusable these past weeks. Fingers crossed they sort things out fast. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, this helps new users enormously

A horrible first experience using kraken. Countless errors, timeouts and kick outs from the website, orders to buy and sell impossible to make and if it works, they go wrong, double entries, no stop loss orders available to reduce stress on the systems and to make things worse, now got a locked account and nobody responses to my mails. Have no clue on how to get in contact or to get my money back.

Yes, I’ve added a warning on the top of the page about Kraken’s current website timeout issues.

Sp far no issues with Kraken. Platform is easy to navigate.

I have used Kraken for 12 months now. Deposit / Withdrawal of funds and response time (inc. assistance with queries), have been excellent. The criticism I have is the uncertainty when placing an order. You are advised to resubmit the order (as it MAY not have been processed) which can result in placing an order twice.
For GBP customers there remains an issue with the exchange advising that it was dropping the currency due to volume issues. Getting GBP back to the UK is now more difficult – it would be extremely uneconomic to convert any Cryptocurrency to GBP on the Kraken exchange.

I am a newbee but wanted to try and I sent 1 bitcoin to Kraken. To try out I first sent 0.1 Bitcoin, this went without a flaw. Then when I wanted to send the other 0.9 Bitcoin I accidentally pressed the wrong button and got a BitcoinCash address instead of the Bitcoin address I needed to use. So I sent Kraken support an email to apologise for my mistake and to ask them to recover my funds. The answer I got was:
“It isn’t about finding your funds. The funds are held in a wallet that we control. But since you sent assets to the wrong address, there now involves a great deal of work to recover these funds. Kraken doesn’t have the time and resources to devote to every mistake made by our clients. Trust me, there are many of these cases.That being the case, we are not able to assist you with this recovery.”
So they make it possible for their clients to make these kind of mistakes but they are not willing to recover any funds. When I made the mistake it was a $ 3500,- mistake. Now it is a $ 12,000 mistake and they don’t have the ‘resources’ to do anything??? They can use (part) of my funds to hire someone to do nothing else and still make a healthy return!

This without a doubt the worst website in the world. I have been trying to set up an account on tier 3 and all I keep getting after loading my ID is a 502 error code.

Just refresh the page. I had been experiencing the same thing with trying to sign up. Found that refresh always works

Yes, please read my warning message at the top of this Kraken review. The UI is nearly unusable at this point and therefore I would recommend that users avoid depositing.

When you say “Kraken has been experiencing severe and persistent UI/trading-engine issues. I highly recommend users avoid depositing for the time being.” Are you referring to fiat and crypto currency or just fiat? Thanks!

The 502 error code instantly. Please fix this bshit.
Kraken is still (among) the cheapest.

agreed 😉

https://blog.kraken.com/post/1413/update-on-system-performance-and-upgrade/
They posted this 2 days ago. Any feedback from current users?

Nicely spotted! Personally, I have noticed less cloudflare timeout pages, which is a welcome improvement.

I sold my etherium in April 2017 with Kraken and I never received my money. Kraken support tells me that he has changed provider and his unable to give me my money because he can not trace the transaction. SCAM Avoid KRAKEN !!!

I confirm that Kraken is in great difficulty and the platform is unusable as well as unreliable, causing waste of time and money. Requests to support have no answer or if they are answered are mockery

You have only mentioned the bank wire fees for Kraken. Most US banks will charge $15 for incoming and $30 for outgoing domestic wire transfers. This adds to the cost each time exchanging with fiat currencies.

Good point Sean! Thanks for sharing this advice for users on Kraken (or most other exchanges with fiat portals via the US)

I have a kraken account with dual authentication into which I deposited .5 bitcoin and purchased 10,000 rpx. After much delay in signing to my account I discovered all my rpx had been sold and all the funds transferred out to a destination unknown to me. No help from customer support. Long and short of it is I have lost about $1,500 that should have appreciated to $20,000 plus. I would suggest that great caution is in order using Kraken.

I’ll give anyone 1/2 my recovery who can help me recover. Phone 904-268-4177

Being a citizen of EU country have set an account for trading in beginning of December 2017 but still can not start the verification process in order to deposit fiat currency. The standard message I get is “Feature in unavailable”. After contacting customer support (provide via emails only) I have received an answer that Kraken is indeed experiencing the verification problems for random users. However no time frames given when these issues could be resolved. Just the same standard auto-reply type of messages.
Thanks for your kraken review all the same i enjoyed reading!

Seems like Kraken is disappeared with users money! more than 36 hours down time without any explanation. What do you suggest? Another scam ahead??

I’m updating as soon as we hear news. Please keep a lookout for updates at the top of this article.

I’m glad I was able to recover my funds, I would have had to file for bankruptcy, thanks to Geminihacks (dot) (com). I was able to get a hold of these scam brokers and take back my money. I would gladly refer anyone.

Hi everybody, I am new here, just wanted to know about kraken.com. There is a lady she is suggesting me to invest in btc Mining. Let me know whether it is genuine or a scam.

Hi Martin, firstly apologies for the delayed response, the website has been going through some work. Kraken is a good exchange that is well regarded in the crypto space. When you say invest in btc mining, it suggests that you would want to invest in mining software or part of a group who mine for bitcoins, this cannot be done through kraken. If you wanted to simply buy btc then you can do that through kraken

Hi,
Just a quick question.. I installed the app of Kraken and to upload a wallet they asked me to install another app: Bituniverse..
This is a normal procedure?

Hi Jamie, no you shouldn’t need to download a second app when trying to get the kraken one.