Kraken Crypto Exchange Review 2024: Pros, Cons, Features & Fees

Kraken stands out as a user-friendly exchange, making it perfect for beginners. While it does have higher fees, with support for both spot and futures trading, Kraken caters to various investor needs and offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies to trade. 

As one of the oldest exchanges, it provides a reliable platform for buying and selling Bitcoin, Ethereum, and over 220 other coins. Whether you’re new to crypto or an experienced trader, Kraken’s accessibility and diverse offerings make it a solid choice.

👍Pros 👎Cons
220+ cryptocurrencies supported Higher fees if you’re not a Kraken Pro user
User-friendly interface Unsatisfactory customer service
Lots of advanced features like SL order, futures trading, and more Few reports of losses due to hacks
High liquidity exchange Supports only 8 most popular fiat currencies

Kraken features and benefits

At Kraken, you can buy cryptocurrencies with cash or trade one crypto for another. For example, you can deposit $100 and get the equivalent in Bitcoin (BTC), then swap that BTC for another crypto like Ethereum (ETH) or USD Coin (USDC). Plus, you can sell your crypto for cash whenever you want.

Kraken handles hundreds of millions of dollars every day, so it’s easy to find someone to trade with.

Spot trading

There are two platforms on Kraken: Kraken and Kraken Pro. Kraken Pro has lower fees and is open to everyone with a Kraken account.

Kraken Pro 2024 Review

If you’re new to crypto, start with the regular Kraken platform. With a verified account, you can quickly buy crypto using your linked bank account and easily sell or exchange between currencies.

Kraken Pro is for more active traders. It may seem a bit complex at first, but it offers detailed info like charts and open orders, which can be valuable to learn about as you get more into trading.

Margin trading

Margin trading on Kraken allows you to buy and sell crypto using funds that exceed your account balance. With up to 5x leverage, you can trade with more money than you have. Leverage can increase your profits (or losses) when trading.

For example, if you deposit $5,000 USD. Using margin, you can trade up to $10,000 worth of BTC/USD.

Kraken Pro 2024 Review

Kraken charges stable and predictable fees for margin trades, typically between 0.01% and 0.02% to open a position, with rollover fees occurring every 4 hours for open positions.

If the value of your borrowed assets falls below 80% of the original value, Kraken will make a margin call. The system will notify you to either close some positions or deposit more collateral. If it drops below 40%, Kraken will sell your collateral to prevent further losses. So, keep an eye on your trades to avoid surprises!

Kraken NFT marketplace

Kraken offers a diverse selection of curated NFT collections, ranging from rare and culturally significant art to more affordable options from emerging projects.

Every NFT collection on the marketplace is verified, ensuring safe and authentic purchases. Kraken NFT marketplace supports tokens from various blockchains, including Ethereum and Solana.

You can browse and filter NFTs by price and rarity to find what you need. Once you’ve made your choice, you can buy the NFT instantly or make an offer using either cash or cryptocurrency. Your purchased NFT will then be securely stored in your Kraken account.

Futures trading

Crypto futures on Kraken are agreements to buy or sell crypto at a set price on a specific date. They’re a way to invest in crypto without owning it. You can trade futures for lots of different cryptocurrencies on Kraken.

There are two types of futures on Kraken: traditional ones with expiration dates and perpetual ones with no end date. The platform keeps perpetual futures aligned with their base asset prices by exchanging a 0.0003% funding rate between traders every hour.

Kraken allows users to trade futures with leverage up to 50x, which is more than margin trading where the maximum is 5x. It’s a handy way to potentially increase your profits, but be sure to trade carefully!

Staking program & reward system

Kraken offers staking, which is a way to earn extra tokens with your cryptocurrencies. It’s like putting your money to work for you. With staking, you lock up your coins for a while to help validate transactions on a blockchain, and in return, you receive more tokens.

Kraken claims you can earn up to 23% a year by staking assets like Bitcoin, Solana, Polkadot, and many more.

While Kraken’s 0.1% APR for Bitcoin might seem low to some, the good news is that Kraken doesn’t charge fees for staking or unstaking your assets.

Now, let’s talk about the two types of staking Kraken offers: on-chain and off-chain.

On-chain staking involves locking up your coins on a specific network so they can do tasks like confirming transactions and earning rewards.

Off-chain staking is a bit more complex and involves giving your assets to Kraken to use in different processes that earn you an Annual Percentage Yield (APY).

But remember, not everyone can join off-chain staking, as it depends on where you’re from. Some countries, like the US, UK, Canada, Hong Kong, France, Australia, and a number of other countries are restricted from participating in this type of staking. So, make sure to check if your country is eligible before getting started.

Kraken trading fees

Kraken charges a fee when your order gets executed, and it can range from 0% to 0.40% of your total order value. The fee depends on a few factors:

  1. How much you’ve traded recently (your trading volume).
  2. Which currency pair you’re trading.
  3. The total value of your trades over the past 30 days (in USD).
  4. Whether you’re a maker or a taker in the trade.

These factors determine how much you’ll pay in fees, so it’s good to keep them in mind when trading on Kraken.

For instant purchases, a percentage fee is charged along with a spread fee, which will be shown before you confirm the transaction. Additionally, there may be extra fees based on your chosen funding method, such as credit card fees.

Kraken Pro offers lower pricing compared to the main Kraken platform, making it a preferred choice for some traders.

Transaction Fee
Deposit 0%
Stablecoins instant purchase 0.9%
Other cryptos instant purchase 1.5%
Trading fee 0% to 0.26%
Card and digital wallet payment processing 3.75% + $0.25
Online banking/ACH processing 0.5%
Margin fee 0.01% to 0.02%
Futures fee 0.01% to 0.05%

Withdrawal fees

There are no fees for deposits on Kraken but there are fees for fiat withdrawals.

Transaction Minimum amount Fee
SWIFT (Etana Custody) $150 $25
SWIFT (Signature Bank) $20 $4
SWIFT (Silvergate Bank) $100 $20
FedWire (Signature Bank/MVB Bank) $20 $4
FedWire (Silvergate Bank) $100 $20
FedWire (Etana Custody) $150 $35
FedWire (Synapse) $20 $4

Maker-Taker Fees

If you’re new to trading and not familiar with maker/taker models, Kraken’s Instant Buy option might seem simpler.

Instant Buy lets you quickly buy crypto, but the fees are higher compared to using Kraken Pro. It’s a good idea to learn how to use Kraken Pro because it can help you save money on fees.

When you trade on a crypto exchange, you can either be a maker or a taker. Here’s what that means:

Maker. If you place an order on the exchange that doesn’t get immediately matched with an existing order, you’re considered a maker. Makers “make” liquidity by adding orders to the order book.

Taker. On the flip side, if you place an order that gets matched instantly with an existing order from the order book, you’re a taker. Takers “take” liquidity by executing trades that already exist.

Maker fees start at 0.20% on stablecoin and FX pairs and can go as low as 0.00% depending on your current 30-day trading volume. Taker fees start at 0.20% on stablecoin and FX pairs and can go as low as 0.10% on standard pairs or 0.001% on stablecoin and FX pairs.

30-day trading volume Maker fee Taker fee
$0-10,000 0.25% 0.40%
$10,000-50,000 0.20% 0.35%
$50,000+ 0.16% 0.26%

Kraken security measures

Here are some of the security features Kraken offers to keep your account safe and secure:

  • 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication). You can use Google Authenticator or Yubikey to add an extra layer of security to your account.
  • No phone/SMS account recovery. Your account recovery is in your hands, meaning no one else can take control of your account using your phone or SMS.
  • Withdrawal email confirmations. Whenever you make a withdrawal, you’ll receive an email confirmation. You can also lock your account yourself if needed.
  • PGP signed and encrypted email. Your emails with Kraken are signed and encrypted, ensuring secure communication.
  • SSL encryption. When you’re browsing Kraken, SSL encryption protects your data.
  • Real-time monitoring. Kraken constantly monitors for any suspicious activity on your account.
  • Data encryption. Your sensitive data is fully encrypted both when stored and when being sent.
  • 24/7 support. Kraken offers high-priority live chat and email support around the clock for any urgent concerns you may have.

Kraken supported devices

Kraken offers mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices, in addition to the standard desktop version. If you want to use the app along with the desktop version, you’ll need to approve the new device.

When signing in on a new device, Kraken will send an email to your registered email address to verify that it’s you, the account owner, trying to sign in. This adds an extra layer of security to protect your account.

Kraken geographical availability

Kraken is not accessible in two U.S. states, New York and Washington, due to certain rules. It’s also not available in countries that the U.S. has placed sanctions on, like Iran, North Korea, and Afghanistan, as well as a few others such as Congo and Libya.

However, Kraken also limits some features based on location. In countries like South Sudan and Yemen, you can create an account, but there are restrictions on how you can add money to it. Additionally, Kraken doesn’t offer futures trading in many places, including the U.S., because of the regulations.

Final thoughts

Kraken is a great option for anyone interested in cryptocurrency trading, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. It offers low fees on Kraken Pro and futures markets, which is a big plus. However, Kraken Pro might be a bit tricky to use at first.

One thing that could make Kraken even better is if they added more fiat currencies. Also, the Instant Buy fees could be lower. Right now, there’s a 0.9% fee on stablecoins and a flat 1.5% fee on all other cryptocurrencies, which can add up over time and chip away at a user’s wealth.

Overall, Kraken is still an excellent choice for trading and investing in cryptocurrency. Just be sure to understand all the costs and risks involved, and take steps to protect your account with two-factor authentication. With these precautions in place, you should have a positive experience using Kraken for buying and selling crypto.

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