Kraken Review 2023: Pros, Cons and How It Compares
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The bottom line:
Pros & Cons
Large selection of digital assets.
Low fees for advanced traders.
Limited options for funding accounts.
Not available in all U.S. states.
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Note: On Feb. 9, 2023, crypto exchange Kraken agreed to pay a $30 million settlement with the SEC over allegations surrounding its staking program. As a part of the settlement, Kraken discontinued its staking program for U.S. customers. This review has been updated to reflect that change.
Where Kraken shines
Large selection: Kraken lets its customers buy more than 150 different cryptocurrencies, and the service offers 130 crypto trading pairs.
Relatively low fees: While Kraken’s rates for entry-level traders are in the middle of the pack, fees on its more advanced Kraken Pro service are among the lowest reviewed by NerdWallet.
Where Kraken falls short
Limited funding options: Kraken has limited options for U.S. customers who want to put money into their account. The platform uses a service called Trustly to allow people to connect their bank accounts, and Kraken says this method works with more than 1,000 financial institutions. But if your bank is not among those institutions, you’ll have to wire money into your account — a process that can involve calling your bank to arrange the transaction.
Not available everywhere: The exchange is not open to people in New York or Washington state.
Kraken is best for:
Kraken at a glance
Trading and transaction fees
Up to 2%, though fees on KrakenPro are lower.
Number of cryptocurrencies
More than 150.
Crypto-to-crypto trading pairs
On Kraken’s website, you can easily find important information, including investment minimums, supported assets and how to close an account.
Kraken doesn't insure customers' crypto, but it has a solid track record for digital security.
Staking and rewards
Kraken no longer offers staking or rewards.
Kraken's apps for iOS and Android have an average rating just above 4 stars.
Kraken has 24-hour live phone and chat support.
More details about Kraken's ratings
Minimum trade: 5 out of 5 stars
The minimum trade depends on the cryptocurrency being traded. Bitcoin’s minimum, for instance, is .0001 BTC, which was worth about $2 at the time of publication. The minimum for Ethereum, meanwhile, is 0.01 ETH (a little over $10).
Trading and transaction fees: 3 out of 5 stars
Kraken’s fees become more attractive when you use its more advanced features.
The company’s entry-level service, “Instant Buy,” charges a fee of 1.5% for most cryptocurrencies. (The price is lower, at 0.9%, for stablecoins.) In addition, users must pay a 0.5% processing fee when using ACH/online banking to purchase crypto with Instant Buy.
Meanwhile, traders on the Kraken Pro service pay no more than 0.26% using a maker-taker model. Those fees gradually fall until they hit 0% for traders whose past 30-day trade volume is over $10 million.
Number of cryptocurrencies: 5 out of 5 stars
Kraken offers more than 150 cryptocurrencies.
Crypto-to-crypto trading pairs: 5 out of 5 stars
Kraken has about 130 trading pairs.
Storage and security: 4.5 out of 5 stars
While some other exchanges have insurance to cover assets held on their platform, Kraken does not. But the company says it has taken stringent steps to insulate customers from cyberattacks.
Notably, it says it keeps 95% of its deposits offline, with enough in reserve that people can withdraw at will.
Broadly, Kraken emphasizes that it does not consider itself a stand-in for digital wallet services, and its service allows users to use their own wallets when their assets are not being held on the platform.
Staking and rewards: 1 out of 5 stars
On Feb. 9, 2023, Kraken agreed to pay a $30 million settlement with the SEC over allegations surrounding its staking program. As a part of the settlement, Kraken discontinued the program for U.S. customers.
Mobile app: 4 out of 5 stars
Kraken offers multiple apps for Android and iOS. Both its basic app and the KrakenPro app — still free, but with more advanced features — have average customer ratings just over 4 stars.
Customer support options: 5 out of 5 stars
Kraken offers 24/7 live, multi-lingual phone support. It also has a 24-hour web chat option. People who “consistently trade” on Kraken get a personal account representative who “handles your questions and requests, ensuring you can focus on trading, not dealing with headaches.” The company says people who are interested in such services should contact [email protected]
Other features you should know
Kraken offers more complex trading for advanced users. This includes low-fee margin trading on crypto, which is a riskier form of investment that can potentially bring higher returns. It also offers futures trading on certain cryptocurrencies. Margin fees vary by cryptocurrency, but top out at 0.02% to open a position, with a rollover fee of 0.02% charged every four hours the position remains open.
Is Kraken right for you?
While Kraken has tools, products and informational resources for beginning crypto investors, many of its offerings are targeted toward more seasoned investors.
If you’re comfortable with a more advanced interface and are looking for access to a broad range of investment options, Kraken offers a reasonably priced experience.
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