2021 Kraken Review

Welcome bonus

9.45
Cryptocurrency exchange
9.5
Reviewed by
Zachary R.

Crypto Analyst

This site contains affiliate links. If you click on one, we may earn a commission.

In this 2021 Kraken review, I will examine what Kraken is, its history, the team, the pros and cons of the platform, and more.

I will explain everything you need to know, from the fee structures and available trading pairs to the reputation and customer service quality at Kraken.

Whether you’re an institutional or retail investor, you don’t want to pay high fees or use a slow trading platform with an inadequate selection of tokens. 

There are plenty of bad exchanges out there, so it is essential to choose a good one. I’m here to find those good ones, so you don’t have to.

Should you consider Kraken as your exchange? 

Let’s find out!
 


2021 Kraken Review: Kraken Home Page


 

1. Key Takeaways 

I understand you may not have enough time to read my full Kraken review, so here is an actionable summary to help you.
 

Pros of Kraken

 

Cons of Kraken

 
 

2. Background

Year founded: 
2011

Headquarters: 
San Francisco, CA

Licences: 
SPDI, MSB

Fiat Currencies: 
USD
EUR
GBP
Canadian dollar
Australian dollar
Japanese yen
Swiss franc

Coins Available: 
Bitcoin
Ethereum
Tether
Polkadot
Chainlink
Cardano
Bitcoin Cash
Litecoin
Uniswap
USD Coin
XRP
Aave
Stellar
Tezos
Curve DAO Token
Algorand
Monero
Synthetix
Dai
Filecoin
Compound
EOS
The Graph
Cosmos
Keep Network
ICON
yearn.finance
TRON
Qtum
Dash
Basic Attention Token
Zcash
Kusama
OMG Network
Waves
Nano
Dogecoin
Enzyme
Decentraland
Kava.io
Ethereum Classic
Orchid
Kyber Network
Storj
Siacoin
Lisk
Aragon
PAX Gold
Gnosis
Balancer
tBTC
Augur

Products and Services: 
Spot Exchange
Futures Exchange
Staking

Markets: 
357

 

 
 

3. Reputation and Security 10.0/10

Kraken has established itself as one of the most secure crypto exchanges in the world. Kraken is the only crypto company that has obtained the Special Purpose Depository Institution (SPDI) license. 

This means at some point in the near future, there will be a Kraken Bank. Banking licenses are notoriously hard to come by, so kudos to Kraken for jumping through all the hoops. 

Kraken’s founder, Jesse Powell, has also attached his name and reputation to the company and is often a guest on American news channels such as CNBC or Fox News to discuss market events. This is further justification for Kraken’s good reputation.
 

Kraken License and Insurances

Is Kraken legit? Yes, very much so. 

As stated above, Kraken has obtained the coveted SPDI license, is a registered money service business (MSB), is registered with FinCen in the US & Canada, and is fully compliant with CFT, AML & KYC regulations.
 

Security Features

Is Kraken safe? Yes, Kraken is safe and very serious about security. 

There are higher levels of verification required to trade leveraged and margined products and increase withdrawal limits. 

Below is a list of the security features Kraken enables.
 


2021 Kraken Review: Kraken Security Features


All in all, Kraken is a VERY secure platform.

Kraken also allows you to configure a master key to ensure your account’s safety even if your 2FA device is compromised. They recommend using the Yubikey or authenticator app methods.
 

Complaints Received

Having gone through various third-party review sites, I noticed a surprising amount of bad reviews of the Kraken exchange. This was interesting to me because all of my experiences with the platform have been great. 

After reading these reviews and seeing the official response to each review from the Kraken customer service team, I have to say my opinion of Kraken is even better than before. 

These reviews are very inflammatory and inaccurate. I am not sure why they are there, but they look like many of the scam bot comments I see all over the crypto world.

The best part is that Kraken’s customer service team has responded to each of these negative reviews with paragraphs and links to articles debunking the claims in the review. 

Although only a handful of these complaints may be legitimate, the genuine engagement by Kraken to resolve these issues emphasizes their devotion to customer service. 
 

Team

The Kraken crypto exchange is led by CEO Jesse Powell, who has been in crypto since the beginning. 

He has done a great job at compiling a team and building a compliant, secure, and sophisticated trading platform for amateurs and veterans alike. 

After browsing the Kraken page on LinkedIn, I found 211 employees with LinkedIn profiles right there on the network. 

That is 211 people who are willingly putting their professional reputation on the line in the name of Kraken. 

This is more proof of Kraken’s trustworthiness and shows me there is no such thing as a Kraken scam. You will not have your funds stolen by Kraken without legal repercussions like you might at an exchange where the team is anonymous.
 

Market Share

At the time of writing, Kraken is the 11th biggest exchange globally with over $1billion in spot volume and roughly $500 million traded in futures contracts over the last 24 hours.
 
 

4. Prohibited Countries 

Before I move forward with the essence of my Kraken review, make sure you don’t use this platform for spot trading if you reside in the following countries. 
 

AF Afghanistan
CG Congo (Brazzaville)
CD Congo (Kinshasa)
CU Cuba
IR Iran
IQ Iraq
LY Libya
KP North Korea
SY Syria
TJ Tajikistan


See All Prohibited Countries

Kraken does offer restricted trading services in several other countries. Futures trading and leverage features have additional country restrictions, so please check Kraken’s website for details first.
 
 

5. Kraken Fees 9.0/10

Kraken has five fee structures, one each for instant transactions, Kraken Pro users, stable coin & FX pairs, margin trading, and futures trading. I’ll detail the instant and the Pro fees as those are the ones most users will encounter. 

While these fees are relatively low compared to their competitors, expect to encounter Kraken trading fees, Kraken margin fees, and Kraken transaction fees.
 

Instant Transaction Fees 

Type Fee
Kraken Instant Transaction Fee (Stablecoins) 0.9%
Kraken Instant Transaction Fee (any other crypto or FX pair) 1.5%
Card Processing Fee 3.75%
Bank Processing Fee 0.5%

 

Kraken Pro Fees

Kraken Pro fees range between 0% to 0.26% depending on where your account’s trading activity is within the past 30 days. Kraken trading fees decline with volume. 

The more you trade, the less it costs!

Below is a table of the Kraken Pro fee structure. 
 

30-Day Volume (USD) Maker Fee Taker Fee
$0-$50,000 0.16% 0.26%
$50,001-$100,000 0.14% 0.24%
$100,001-$250,000 0.12% 0.22%
$250,001-$500,000 0.10% 0.20%
$500,001-$1,000,000 0.08% 0.18%
$1,000,001-$2,500,000 0.06% 0.16%
$2,500,001-$5,000,000 0.04% 0.14%
$5,000,001-$10,000,000 0.02% 0.12%
$10,000,000+ 0.00% 0.10%

One notable aspect of the trading platform is the ability to pay fees in either USD or BTC. That should be music to the ears of BTC whales
 
 

6. Exchange Features 9.0/10

Kraken has a very robust suite of financial products. They have many different trading interfaces, staking abilities, spot markets, futures markets, and soon banking services.

Many of these features are offered in both a simple and an advanced context, which is excellent for people learning their way around the more advanced features. 
 

Exchange Token

Kraken is one of the few old-school exchanges without a token. 

That is a neutral fact about the platform - exchange tokens are common but not a necessity, so this does not affect my opinion of Kraken. 
 

Futures

Kraken offers 33 futures markets to eligible participants.

Unfortunately for the United States, they do not have access to these futures products due to regulatory uncertainty.

It’s the same situation with Binance and Deribit. They are not offering these leveraged products to US clients because they don’t want to start a paper trail that may end with harsh regulatory oversight one day. 

Kraken allows futures traders to use 50x leverage to eligible users - so a 2% initial margin requirement. 

Kraken also offers margin availability of up to 5x everywhere except Japan. As stated, Kraken’s margin fees are between 0.1% and 0.2%  to open a position and 0.02% every four hours to maintain that position. 

These fees are reasonable, as many other exchanges have higher fees.
 

OTC Desk

Kraken has developed a powerful OTC trading platform. This allows users to execute substantial trades with private and personal services. Generally, institutions and high-net-worth individuals are the main clients of an OTC desk. 

There is 24/7 support at Kraken’s OTC desk, and they offer every one of their listed fiat and cryptocurrency pairs.
 

Trading Interfaces

Kraken has been around since 2011. They service everybody from veteran HODLers & institutions, to crypto beginners and the DOGE army. 

Because of this wide array of users, Kraken has created five different trading interfaces that range from as simple as possible to professionally complex. 

I’ve outlined each of the interfaces below with an accompanying screenshot.
 

Beginners

For those who want to buy, sell, or convert cryptocurrencies as market orders, you should use the “Buy Crypto” button on the right side of the top of the home page. Then select your payment method, choose the cryptocurrency you want to buy, decide how much you want, and click Buy.
 


2021 Kraken Review: Buy Crypto Page

Simple

You should use the Trade- Simple interface for those of you who want to buy, sell, or convert cryptocurrencies as limit orders

You simply click the trade button on the top left, and you’ll see an option for the Simple interface. 

This interface lets you input a fixed price into your order, so you don’t pay more or sell for less than you want to.
 


2021 Kraken Review: Trade / Simple Page

Intermediate

The Trade - Intermediate tab is located in the same place as the Trade - Simple and Trade - Advanced tabs. The Trade - Intermediate tab introduces traders to alterations of the trade type and leverage. It also allows traders to add a time frame to their trade. 

The Trade types are the following Market; Limit; Stop Loss; Take Profit; Stop Loss Limit, and Take Profit Limit.

Here, you can choose to utilize up to 5x margin and submit your trade to be “Good-till-custom dates” or to start at a custom time. 

You also have the option of selecting your trading fee currency as being either USD or BTC. 
 


2021 Kraken Review: Trade / Intermediate Page

Advanced

The advanced functionality of the trade tab introduces one more concept - a conditional close. 

Not only can you place your trade with all the bells and whistles of the Trade - Intermediate tab, but you can actually set the price conditions for your trade to close. 
 


2021 Kraken Review: Trade / Advanced Page

Trade Environment

Speaking of bells and whistles, check out all the features Kraken has to offer in their Trade Environment tab. This is what I’m talking about! 

To access the Trade Environment, click on the Trade tab and click the black chart button above the time refresh button.
 


2021 Kraken Review: Trade / Pro Page


Kraken’s Trade interface is built for traders who understand market structure and leverage. 

The left side of the screen is designated for charts and indicators, the middle section is for the order book, and the right side of the screen is meant for order placing and leverage determination. 

The asset’s order book, otherwise known as the depth-of-market, shows you the relative liquidity that has been placed as limit orders above or below the current price. 

I really liked how you can hover your mouse over the order book, and text will pop up on the top left side of the screen that details how much money would be required to move the price of that asset to another price. 
 

Fiat & Cryptocurrencies

There are 224 crypto/fiat pairs, 121 crypto/crypto pairs, and 12 fiat/fiat pairs available to trade 24/7. 

Kraken offers 357 markets with deep liquidity. That is impressive for a centralized exchange.

Naturally, each of these markets will vary in liquidity, but in my experience on the platform, the order book for everything I looked at was full, and the spreads were tight. 

The Kraken minimum deposit is zero dollars. This is the industry standard. 

It means you can start to hone your trading skills with as much or as little risk capital as you feel comfortable with, and you won’t have to worry about any extraneous fees.
 

Pairs Available

Of the 357 pairs available for trading, over half of them are crypto/USD, crypto/EUR, or crypto/BTC. 

Currently, Kraken offers 78 spot cryptocurrency markets against the world’s major currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, JPY, AUD) and 33 cryptocurrency futures markets.

Many exchanges do not offer crypto/BTC trading, so again, kudos to Kraken. 

Those of you who enjoy keeping your money in crypto are in luck. Along with trading crypto/BTC, Kraken allows you to trade 31 crypto/ETH pairs, 13 crypto/USDT pairs, and a variety of other crypto/crypto pairs. 
 
 

7. User Experience

Platform Functionality

The features are very user-friendly, and I never came across any functionality issues. Not only is the interface visually delightful, but the exchange itself has deep liquidity and high transaction volumes. 
 

Design and Appearance

The design, appearance, and user interface of Kraken is excellent. Their five different trading interfaces ensure that traders of all levels of sophistication will be able to find what they’re looking for. 

I had no issues moving from one page to another or scrolling around the website’s documentation pages. 
 

Registration Process

The registration process was straightforward. I had to set up an account and follow the KYC rules just as I would at any other exchange. I was approved within one day. 

To have access to margin, the OTC desk, and futures, you would need to finish the second level of verification, which requires additional documents to be submitted. 
 
 

8. Payments 9.0/10

Fees

There are various Kraken deposit fees and Kraken withdrawal fees that are associated with different cryptocurrencies. For a full list of the minimums and fee structures regarding deposits and withdrawals, I recommend checking out the Cryptocurrency Funding section located in the Kraken Help Center.

The Kraken withdrawal process for cryptocurrency does require you to pay a fee depending on which cryptocurrency you’re withdrawing. The Kraken minimum withdrawal size also varies depending on which cryptocurrency you are using.
 

Kraken Deposits

Kraken enables users to deposit and withdraw both Fiat and cryptocurrency. You can fund your account by depositing any of the six fiat currencies available (USD, CAD, JPY, GBP, CHF, AUD) or any cryptocurrency available for trading on Kraken. 

Below are the methods for domestic and international deposit methods for fiat. 
 

USD


2021 Kraken Review: USD Deposit Methods

EUR


2021 Kraken Review: EUR Deposit Methods

CAD


2021 Kraken Review: CAD Deposit Methods

JPY


2021 Kraken Review: JPY Deposit Methods

GBP


2021 Kraken Review: GBP Deposit Methods

CHF


2021 Kraken Review: CHF Deposit Methods

AUD


2021 Kraken Review: AUD Deposit Methods

Withdrawal

Your Kraken account can withdraw any of the cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies available. 

To withdraw cryptocurrencies, you will need to input the wallet address you would like to send to. For Kraken fiat withdrawals, you will need to connect a bank to your account that accepts whatever fiat you are attempting to withdraw. 
 

Limits

The limits on what you can withdraw are presented below. Exchanges are required to do this to ensure they can maintain adequate levels of liquidity at all times. 

As you can see, there are four tiers of limits dependent upon verification level, your residency, and the asset you are trying to withdraw. 
 

Cash Limits


2021 Kraken Review: Cash Limits

Cryptocurrency Limits


2021 Kraken Review: Cryptocurrency Limits


 

9. Customer Service 10.0/10

The customer service of Kraken is top-notch. Their contact page is evident on their website, and there is a 24/7 live chat option. My chat took minutes to answer, and I talked to a human. 

They also have a massive support center, pictured below, with information on all their features.
 


2021 Kraken Review: Help Page


The customer service representative told me they use a translator service, so ANY language is available in their customer service department. 
 
 

10. Noteworthy Features 9.0/10

Banking

No Kraken crypto review would be complete without a mention of their banking plans. As stated, Kraken is the only crypto company in the world that has obtained the SPDI banking license. 

Is Kraken trustworthy? Given everything I know about the platform and its banking plans, my answer is a resounding yes. 

Kraken’s bank is slated to begin operations in late 2021 and early 2022. 

Below is an image of their banking page. I am subscribed to their email update list as I am excited to see what comes of this.
 


2021 Kraken Crypto Review: Kraken Bank

Staking

Kraken allows you to stake certain tokens and currencies to earn yields. This means you can earn a new share of blockchain or DeFi rewards by lending your tokens out. 

Below are the current staking rates.
 

DOT 12%
KSM 12%
ADA 4-6%
ETH 5-7%
SOL 6.5%
ATOM 7%
XTZ 5.5%
KAVA 20%
EUR 1.5%
USD 2%
BTC 0.25%
FLOW 4-6%

The ways exchanges like Kraken earn money from these products can vary, but you can imagine them borrowing your money for 5% and lending it to someone else for 10%.

It’s all good as long as you earn more than you would in a traditional American savings account that typically offers between 0.01 and 0.03%.
 

Kraken Mobile

Kraken has developed an impressive set of trading apps for mobile devices. There is the Kraken app, which is built for all the trading interfaces aside from Pro.
 


2021 Kraken Review: Kraken Mobile App


The Pro version also has many more integrated features of the exchange, such as access to order books, advanced orders, and more in-depth charting software. 
 

2021 Kraken Review: KrakenPro Mobile App

Education

Because crypto is relatively new and there is a large amount of misinformation, many exchanges have begun releasing research reports and free training academies. 

Kraken does not release public research reports, but they do have extensive educational materials in their documentation. 

You can find video tutorials on how to use their platform and informative articles about crypto technologies and features such as staking and Proof of Work (PoW).
 
 

Kraken Review: Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this Kraken exchange review. I sure did!

Kraken has built a world-class exchange and has been around for quite some time. Given their active users, the large number of cryptocurrencies they offer, and their good reputation, you can expect a very high-quality experience with the platform. 

About CryptoManiaks
Face 1
Face 2
Face 3
Face 4
Face 5
Face 6

We are CryptoManiaks.  Collectively, we have over 25 years of experience in the crypto world and are all passionate about guiding people through the complex world of crypto investing.

They Already Trust Us
 
 

Written by

Zachary R.

Classical musician turned crypto analyst & entrepreneur. Working hard on building web 3.0 and sharing what I can with the community. Technology will increasingly become blockchain based and I’ll be right there with it.

They Already Trust Us
 
 
Have some crypto questions?
Find the answers