Bitcoin exchanges have been steadily growing over the years. Kraken is counted as one of the largest platforms out there for trading cryptocurrencies. It is estimated to be currently exchanging over 17,000 BTC in terms of trading volume daily.
This crypto exchange platform was founded by Jesse Powell, who founded Kraken in 2011 as a replacement for Mt. Gox, following that company's 2011 security breach. The new company started by providing trading for three cryptocurrency pairs: Bitcoins, Litecoin, and Euros. It later added the ability to trade with additional currencies, allowing margin trading as well.
In this article, we will review Kraken's features and walk you through how to set up an account and trade on the platform.
What is Kraken
Kraken is one of the world's biggest exchanges. It offers the trading of more than 50 tokens and seven national currencies. What's more, Kraken, one of Coinbase's biggest competitors, is considering going public by the end of 2022.
The exchange is based in San Francisco, USA, and boasts of a worldwide presence and support. So far, Kraken has announced that over 3 million new clients have registered on its platform since the start of 2021. Kraken can facilitate trading in fiat currencies such as USD, EUR, or CAD for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and others.
Kraken also supports several languages, with over 60 percent of users coming from the US. The San Francisco-based exchange also boasts of being one of the first exchanges to offer leveraged margin trades, along with advanced order types and support for short selling.
Is Kraken Safe?
In the recent past, exchanges have been hacked, resulting in millions of dollars of lost coins. With this in mind, Kraken has set up advanced security features that include 2-factor authentication, email confirmations for withdrawals, and encrypted storage service.
Kraken stores 95% of all deposits in offline, air-gapped, geographically distributed cold storage. Clients are also able to withdraw funds immediately on-demand as the company maintains 100% reserves.
There are also additional options to secure accounts like PGP/GPG encryption and a global settings time lock, which provides extreme security when the user is away.
Other security features on Kraken include 24-hour live security monitoring by staff for any suspicious activity, SSL browser encryption, and live chat and email support for urgent concerns.
Platform & Features
Kraken boasts of some great features. These include:
A Simple Account Set-up Process
The first feature that makes Kraken stand out is its simple account set-up process. The company offers users an easy way to sign up on the platform. To register for a new account, all you need is your email address, a secure password, and about two to three minutes of your time. Once done, the only thing that remains is to verify your email.
Kraken will then send you an email with the information necessary to verify your account.
Advanced Trading Options
What makes Kraken stand out from its competitors is its advanced trading options and support for margin trading.
Margin trading provides leverage for your account, making it possible to increase your profits and losses depending on where you set the margin call level. For example, if you set it up at 2X and you buy $1.000 worth of BTC, you will make a profit of up to twice as much if the market moves in your favor. However, if it does not go in your favor, you stand to lose double the amount of money you put on the line.
Kraken provides its clients with a good variety of trading options, including limit orders, stop orders, market orders, trailing stop-limit orders, fill or kill and one cancels the other (OCO), to mention only a few.
In addition to margin trading support, Kraken also has the facility for short selling. Short selling involves borrowing crypto to benefit from falling market prices. This feature requires a specific procedure and active support from the company's staff.
The Mobile App
Another advantage of using Kraken is its mobile app that allows access to your accounts with just a few taps. This offers convenience for those who are on the go and gives access to their funds wherever they happen to be.
In addition, Kraken has an iOS app available in the App Store, but it doesn't support depositing or withdrawing any funds just yet.
Android users, on the other hand, have access to all the features. The app can be downloaded from Google Play Store. Once installed, you can access your account information anytime, anywhere without hassle, as long as you have a stable internet connection and cellular reception.
The company markets itself as one that offers the "lowest trading fees in the industry," and this is somewhat true. Currently, Kraken charges 0.9% for any stablecoin purchases and a 1.5% fee for bitcoin purchases, not to mention a fee as low as 0.5 % for online banking purchases.
They also have a volume-based discount program that reduces the transaction fees of market makers and takers. For instance, a 30-day trading volume of up to $50,000 will attract a maker fee of 0.16% and a taker fee of 0.26%.
A monthly volume of over $10,000,000 will be charged 0.00% maker fees and a 0.10% taker fee. The minimum fee charged by the company is about $0.13 when you trade BTC/EUR pair, and the maximum fee that you can pay for any number of transactions is about $10.
The Kraken fees are charged on a per-trade basis. The platform has much lower fees than those charged by other crypto exchanges, whose charges range from 0.25% to even as high as 5%. In addition, there are no deposit or withdrawal fees, although the bank you use may charge you.
Kraken Fees & Commissions
Kraken's cryptocurrency pairs have a predictable fee schedule that incentivizes market makers to provide better liquidity.
As mentioned earlier, Kraken fees are charged on a per-trade basis. The transaction fee varies depending on the trading volume (for example, 0.16% for a 30-day volume of $50,000 and below).
For traders who take on big volumes but are not frequent traders, the platform features an OTC service that offers more cost-efficient trading fees. Trading volume is measured in the currency of trade, so it may be different from the base or quote currencies.
What's more, Fees on Kraken are calculated as a percentage of the trade's currency volume (by default). However, for certain pairs, you can calculate them based on your currency. Check out Kraken's fees structure for more details.
Kraken supports over 50 trading pairs on its platform, with Bitcoin (BTC) as the base currency for most of the pairs. Other pairs also have fiat currencies or stable coins such as Euro and US dollar as their base currency. Here is a list of some of the popular supported coins:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- EOS (EOS)
- Basic Attention Token (BAT)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Compound (COMP)
- Cosmos (ATOM)
- Ripple (XRP)
How to Open An Account
To set up a Kraken account, click the sign-up button and enter a username and password. You can also specify your email address to receive Kraken's account activation emails. After that, you will be requested to verify your email address by clicking the link in the mail and entering a security code sent to your mobile phone.
You can then log in to your account, and you will be directed to a page where you can create a new password. This is an important step as it is the only way for you to recover access to your account if it ever gets lost or hacked. Kraken also advises that you keep this password safe by saving it on multiple devices and shred any old emails that you no longer need. While Kraken provides an account safety section (on the left-hand side of your dashboard), we recommend using a more secure way to store your passwords, such as Lastpass, 1Password, or Google Autofill.
Once your account is set up, you can fund the account with cryptocurrencies if you already own Bitcoin, Ripple, Litecoin, Ethereum, Qtum, Zcash, Monero, or Cardano. Kraken also offers USD, EUR, CAD, JPY, GBP, CHF, and AUD funding processes through Wire Transfers, Swift, Etana Custody, and the Silvergate Exchange Network. Take note that bank transfers will take between 1 to 5 business days. Kraken also offers an expansive set of funding options for their corporate-level clients, such as USD international wire transfers.
Open an Account and Start Trading Today
How to Trade Crypto on Kraken
Trading on Kraken is easy; simply click "Exchange" on the menu bar on the left side of your screen to get started. You can choose to sort by price, volume, or market cap. Once you've found something interesting, click it and then click the green "Buy" button.
Enter your trading amount in the top box. The trade fee will be deducted from the total amount. The bottom-left box is for your coin of choice, and the right one is for the base currency, typically Bitcoin (BTC). It will automatically calculate how much BTC you need to trade with. Once you're ready to go, click "Next."
You will arrive on a page that confirms your order. If you need to modify anything, click the "Back" button on your browser and make changes. Otherwise, click the green "Submit Order" button to proceed with your trade.
To sum up, Kraken is the place to go if you want to get serious about your trading. Their fees are a bit higher than other exchanges, but with excellent customer service and security features, it's worth your money.