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Van Thanh Le

Feb 19 2024

8.2 / 10


Should you trust Kraken with your crypto? Read our unbiased review & discover the pros, cons & hidden fees before you invest!



Ease of Use


Financial Accessibility


Vast Asset Variety


Robust Security Measures



Fee Structure



Kraken Review Scores







Fees & Costs




Ease Of Use




Trading Pairs




Payment Options




Customer Support




Security & Safety


Kraken Review 2024: A Seasoned Cryptocurrency Exchange

Kraken, launched in 2011, just two years after Bitcoin's debut, is a true pioneer in the cryptocurrency exchange landscape. With over 10 million clients across 190+ countries, it boasts a well-established presence and continues to attract new users seeking a reliable platform for their crypto endeavors.

Source: Kraken

But what makes Kraken stand out in the ever-evolving crypto market? Let's dive into its features and see if it might be the right fit for you.

  • Instant Buy: Perfect for those looking to snap up some crypto without delay. While convenient, this feature comes with a fee structure designed for speed over savings, charging 0.9% for stablecoins and 1.5% for other cryptocurrencies, plus an additional 0.5% processing fee on purchases made through an online bank account.
  • Kraken Pro: Tailored for the more discerning trader who prefers the intricacies of the maker/taker fee model. With this option, you're looking at a 0.16% maker fee and a 0.26% taker fee for transactions up to $50,000, rewarding users for their trading volume and frequency.
  • Spot Trading: Trade assets in real-time at their current market prices.
  • Margin Trading: Leverage your trades with borrowed funds for potentially higher gains.
  • FuturesHedge or speculate by agreeing to buy or sell assets at a future date for a predetermined price.
  • Indices: Access aggregated pricing data for a curated selection of cryptocurrencies.
  • Stakings: Earn rewards by supporting the network of a specific cryptocurrency.
  • OTC Trading: Trade large amounts discreetly and directly.
  • NFT Marketplace: Dive into the world of Non-Fungible Tokens, where digital art and collectibles meet blockchain.

Key Takeaways

Let's dive straight into the heart of Kraken, stripping away the fluff to reveal the core. Here are the key takeaways from the review:

  • Vast Asset Offerings: With 242 assets and 670+ trading pairs, Kraken stands out for its variety and liquidity, being a top choice for those trading major pairs like BTC-USD and ETH-USD.
  • Top-Notch Security: Implements Fort Knox-level protection with 95% of funds in cold storage and rigorous security measures including multi-factor authentication and encryption.
  • User-Friendly Experience: Offers two interfaces, Kraken for beginners and Kraken Pro for experienced traders, making it accessible to everyone alongside a quick KYC process.
  • Flexible Funding Options: Supports a variety of deposit and withdrawal methods with low fees for bank transfers and options for digital wallet funding.
  • Competitive Fee Structure: Kraken Pro users enjoy low fees starting at 0.26%, while Instant Buy charges higher fees for the convenience.
  • Comprehensive Trading Tools: Features advanced charting, margin trading with up to 5x leverage, and staking options for earning passive income.
  • Reliable Customer Support: Provides 24/7 support with fast response times and dedicated account reps for high-volume traders.
  • Mobile Accessibility: Two mobile apps cater to all user levels, ensuring a seamless experience on the go.
  • Compliance-Conscious: Holds licenses in multiple jurisdictions but faced a recent SEC lawsuit over its staking services, settled in 2024.
basic mode.png
Source: Kraken

Kraken’s Pros

  • Asset Diversity: Offers a broad range of cryptocurrencies and trading pairs.
  • Security Measures: Implements advanced security protocols to protect user assets.
  • Ease of Use: Provides intuitive platforms suitable for all user levels.
  • Financial Accessibility: Supports various funding options for global users.

Kraken’s Cons

  • Fee Structure: Charges higher fees for certain transactions.
  • Geographical Restrictions: Access limitations in some regions due to regulations.

1. Asset Variety and Liquidity

Kraken crypto exchange stands out in the crypto exchange arena with a robust offering of 242 assets and over 670 trading pairs, positioning it firmly as the 6th out of 34 exchanges in terms of assets holding and cleanliness on DefiLlama. This platform is particularly notable for its emphasis on WETH, leading the pack in Kraken’s asset breakdown. 

asset breakdown.png
Source: DefiLlama

Impressively, it's the second-largest exchange by ETH-USD volume and ranks third for BTC-USD volume over the past three months, according to Kaiko data. With a staggering $207B+ Quarterly trading volume, Kraken ensures traders experience minimal slippage, especially in BTC-USD & ETH-USD pairs, a testament to its liquidity prowess.

fiat volume share & slippage.png
Source: Kaiko

Comparatively, Kraken’s asset variety is on par with its U.S. counterpart Coinbase, albeit smaller than global giants like Binance or OKX. However, it outpaces derivatives-centric exchanges like Bybit and the top coin-focused Bitstamp, making it an ideal choice for lower-intermediate to intermediate-level traders. These traders are catered to with ample trading options minus the overwhelm of overly extensive lists.

2. Security and Reliability

Kraken stands tall in the crypto world, not just for its vast offerings but also for its impeccable security, consistently ranking at the top. Let's dive deep into the layers that safeguard your digital assets:

Fort Knox-Level Protection:

  • Multi-factor authentication (2FA): Secure your account with Google Authenticator or YubiKey, ditching the risky phone/SMS recovery method.
  • Cold storage: 95% of user funds lie in offline, armed-guard-protected vaults, accessible only through rigorous authorization processes.
  • DDoS protection: Kraken's infrastructure withstands even the fiercest attacks, ensuring uninterrupted service.
  • Encryption galore: Sensitive data rests and travels encrypted, leaving no gaps for prying eyes.
confirm new withdrawal address.png
Kraken sent an email to me to confirm my new withdrawal address.

Transparency You Can Trust:

  • Proof of Reserves: Regular audits by independent firms verify that Kraken holds the assets it claims. You can even personally confirm your holdings align with the audit results.
  • Security testing: A dedicated team and a bug bounty program hunt down and fix vulnerabilities before they become problems.

Beyond the Basics:

  • ISO/IEC 27001:2013 and SOC 2 Type 1 certifications: These internationally recognized standards demonstrate Kraken's commitment to best practices.
  • Constant updates: Kraken's security team is exceptionally proactive, informing users about potential threats and their ongoing efforts to stay ahead of the curve.

In this Kraken exchange review, we note its stellar security record, though a 2016 phishing attack did impact some users' funds. Kraken emphasizes the importance of strong individual security measures like 2FA to prevent such incidents.

3. Ease of Use and Interface

Creating a Kraken account is a breeze. I whizzed through the KYC process in minutes, thanks to facial verification and clear instructions. It's one of the fastest on-boarding experiences I've had in the crypto world, almost instantly.

This Kraken review applauds the platform for smartly offering two interfaces: Kraken for beginners and Kraken Pro for seasoned traders:

  • Kraken: Ideal for beginners, it's the most user-friendly interface I've seen. Think uncluttered layout, minimal functions, and a handful of core assets - perfect for dipping your toes in the crypto waters.
  • Kraken Pro: For experienced traders, it's a customizable haven. Resize widgets, utilize TradingView analysis, and track real-time order flow. A minor quibble: the price chart could be bigger, but maximizing the window helps. Order placement remains smooth and intuitive.
kraken vs kraken-pro.png
Source: Kraken

Kraken doesn't leave you hanging. Their "Learn" section is packed with guides, videos, and webinars, catering to both crypto novices and experienced traders. Beginners can delve into comprehensive guides on Bitcoin and other cryptos, building a strong foundation before diving in.

Kraken's interface strikes a balance between beginner-friendly simplicity and advanced trading power. Whether you're a crypto newcomer or a seasoned pro, you'll find the tools and resources you need to navigate the platform with confidence.

pro mode.png
Source: Kraken

4. Deposit and Withdrawal Options

Fueling your Kraken crypto exchange’s trades is easy with a variety of deposit methods and smooth withdrawals. 

  • Bank Transfer: The go-to method, with low fees (e.g., $3 for SWIFT deposits) and support for major currencies like USD, EUR, and CAD. Funds arrive within 1-5 business days.
  • Credit/Debit Cards: Verified users (Express, Intermediate, or Pro) can deposit instantly using Visa/Mastercard, subject to verification holds (72 hours).
  • Digital Wallets: Fund your account quickly with supported digital wallets, depending on your region.
  • ACH Online Banking: Enjoy instant deposits in specific regions for trading (but with a 7-day withdrawal hold).
usd deposit.png
Source: Kraken

Withdrawing funds is equally convenient:

  • Supported Cryptocurrencies: Numerous cryptos are supported for withdrawal, allowing you to move your assets seamlessly.
  • Fiat Withdrawals: Choose from various methods like bank transfer, SEPA, and others, depending on your currency.
  • Fast Processing: Expect withdrawals within 1-5 business days for most methods.

Before you send your money to Kraken, remember that:

  • Deposits must match the specified currency to avoid returns and fees.
  • Verification might be required for some methods and may impact withdrawal holds.
  • In Canada, verified residents can make cash and debit card deposits through an in-person provider. 
  • Kraken does not accept US domestic deposits via checks and will destroy any mailed checks.  

5. Fees and Charges

Kraken offers various fee structures depending on your service preference and trading volume. This Kraken exchange review delves into the specifics of its fees and charges, spotlighting the blend of affordability and premium options on offer

For traders leveraging the Kraken Pro platform, transaction costs are impressively low, starting at a mere 0.26% and potentially dropping to zero for those with a trading volume exceeding $10 million in the past 30 days. Margin trading on Kraken comes with a nominal opening fee of 0.02% and a similar rollover charge every four hours, offering leverage without hefty costs.

kraken fees.png
Source: Kraken

However, for those opting for the convenience of Instant Buy to swiftly dive into the crypto waters, fees take a steeper climb, peaking at around 5.3% for a $200 BTC purchase via debit card. This premium for immediacy highlights a trade-off between convenience and cost-efficiency.

Moreover, Kraken promotes inclusivity with fee exemptions for US clients funding their accounts via Bank Transfer (ACH), along with free deposit options for CAD and EUR SEPA transactions, underscoring Kraken's commitment to accessible trading. Yet, traders should remain vigilant for the less transparent fee structures that may lurk within the Instant Buy service, advising a careful balance between speed and expenditure.

6. Trading Tools and Features

The Kraken exchange app is a treasure trove for traders, offering a wide array of tools and features designed to enhance trading efficiency and profitability. Whether you're seeking in-depth analysis or streamlined mobile access, Kraken has you covered.

  • Charts & Indicators: Dive deep with Kraken's comprehensive charting tools, featuring a vast array of technical indicators to fuel your trading strategies. The platform caters to both visual and analytical preferences, making it a versatile choice for any trader.
  • Kraken Pro App: Experience a seamless mobile trading experience with Kraken Pro. Enjoy features like custom price alerts, advanced order types, and dark mode for fatigue-free trading on the go. Plus, its integration with Cryptowatch unlocks a world of trading tools, portfolio management, and automation.
tutorial video.png
Source: Kraken
  • Futures & Margin Trading: (For eligible users) Amplify your returns with up to 50x leverage on futures contracts or leverage up to 5x on margin trading. Kraken offers diverse contract expiry times for strategic hedging and market positioning. Remember, margin trading carries inherent risks, so tread carefully.
  • Staking & Rewards: Earn passive income by staking your crypto! Kraken supports staking for over 20 assets, offering up to 35% APR (excluding US customers due to regulations). This flexible option lets you earn rewards while holding your crypto.
kraken staking.png
Kraken Staking APRs. Source: Kraken
  • Parachain Auctions (Unique to Kraken): Participate in the Polkadot ecosystem by contributing to parachain auctions directly through Kraken. This user-friendly platform simplifies the process, even for those without technical expertise, empowering you to support emerging projects within the network.
  • NFT Marketplace: Dive into the world of NFTs with Kraken's zero-gas fee marketplace. Trade NFTs across multiple blockchains, leverage the rarity tracker for informed decisions, and even benefit from profit-sharing as an NFT creator.
  • Learning Resources: Kraken empowers its users with a dedicated "Learn" section, packed with articles, videos, and guides covering everything crypto. This commitment to education fosters confident navigation within the crypto space for all experience levels.

7. Customer Support and Service

Whether you're a seasoned trader or a crypto newbie, Kraken's got your back with 24/7 live phone and chat support. Need more personalized attention? High-volume traders get their own account rep for a truly VIP experience. On top of that, you can reach out via email, social media, and even online forums like Reddit.

While wait times can vary, Kraken boasts impressive response rates: less than 2 minutes for phone calls, 5 minutes for web chat, and under 48 hours for email. My own experience confirms this - email replies arrived within hours, and web chat was near-instantaneous. However, some users report occasional hiccups with long wait times or unresponsive tickets.

Independent auditors consistently rank Kraken “A” for both security and customer service. This speaks volumes about their commitment to user experience.

8. Mobile App and Accessibility

Kraken caters to both casual and seasoned crypto enthusiasts with its two dedicated mobile apps. The Kraken exchange app is a testament to their commitment to accessibility and ease of use. Available for iOS and Android, these apps are designed with the user in mind, boasting high average user ratings that reflect their reliability and secure framework.

  • Kraken: This user-friendly app is your gateway to buying, selling, converting, and tracking your crypto holdings. It boasts high average user ratings, reflecting its intuitive design and focus on a smooth user experience. Think of it as the mobile extension of your Kraken web account, with everything laid out clearly and simply.
  • Kraken Pro: For experienced traders seeking advanced features, Kraken Pro delivers. This mobile-first app packs the power of the exchange platform in a sleek and streamlined design. Dive into margin trading, leverage options, and futures contracts, all from the palm of your hand.
mobile app.png
Source: Kraken

No matter your smartphone preference, Kraken has you covered. Both apps are available for download on the App Store and Google Play, ensuring seamless accessibility across a wide range of devices.

Having reviewed both apps, I'm impressed by their focus on user experience. Kraken's commitment to simplicity shines through, making it easy for anyone to navigate the sometimes complex world of crypto. Whether you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned trader, Kraken's mobile apps offer a secure and convenient way to manage your crypto on the go.

9. Compliance and Regulation 

Kraken, a name synonymous with cryptocurrency trading, prioritizes regulatory adherence and user trust. They hold various licenses and registrations across jurisdictions, including:

  • Canada: FINTRAC MSB
  • UK: FCA registration for CryptoFacilities LTD (a Kraken service)
  • Australia: AUSTRAC DCE
  • Japan: FSA registration as a Crypto Asset Exchange Operator

However, navigating the ever-evolving crypto landscape isn't without its bumps. In November 2023, the SEC sued Kraken for allegedly offering unregistered securities through its staking program. While the lawsuit was settled in February 2024, it highlights the complexities surrounding crypto regulation.

Despite this, Kraken maintains a strong reputation for security and user trust. They consistently rank highly in these areas, reassuring users that their investments are protected. Keep in mind, however, that Kraken isn't accessible everywhere, with restrictions in New York and Washington state.


Kraken offers a secure haven for crypto exploration, but navigate with caution. Its diverse features and competitive fees cater to experienced traders, while beginners can dip their toes in with the user-friendly interface. Remember, crypto is a turbulent sea, so research, understand the risks, and choose your exchange wisely. In this Kraken review, we see it might be your vessel, but charting your course is entirely up to you.

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