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Kraken’s cryptocurrency exchange has something to offer both new and experienced traders. Its trading fees are among the lowest in the industry and they decline at higher levels of trading activity. You’ll also get 24/7 customer support, which is rare in the crypto world, along with a wide offering of educational resources that can help those new to crypto get up to speed. There are also topics for more experienced traders such as security or different trading strategies.
In November 2023, the SEC charged Kraken with illegally operating an unregistered securities exchange, broker, dealer and clearing agency. The SEC alleges that Kraken’s business practices, including commingling customers’ money with its own, presents a significant risk to customers. Kraken disputes the allegations and is fighting the charges in court.
If you want to trade more than just crypto, you’ll need to consider broader investment apps such as Robinhood or Webull. Those brokers only offer the most popular cryptocurrencies, but you’ll be able to trade other assets as well.
Kraken at a glance
|None, but there’s a $10 deposit minimum and trade minimums vary by cryptocurrency
|More than 200 cryptocurrencies
|Cost per trade:
|24/7 live chat, email, phone support
|The Kraken mobile app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store
Pros: Where Kraken stands out
Low trading fees
Kraken’s trading fees come in near the low end of the industry, with some fees starting at just 0.26 percent. Costs for active traders decline from there and can even be eliminated entirely if you’re trading really large amounts based on your average 30-day trading volume.
Like other cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken uses a maker-taker model which rewards those who add liquidity to the market (makers) and charges slightly more to those who remove liquidity (takers). Here’s how the fees break down based on monthly trading volume.
|30-day volume (USD)
|$0 – $50,000
|$50,001 – $100,000
|$100,001 – $250,000
|$250,001 – $500,000
|$500,001 – $1 million
|$1,000,001 – $2.5 million
|$2,500,001 – $5 million
|$5,000,001 – $10 million
|$10 million and up
Trades placed through Kraken’s instant buy feature come with additional processing fees and do not count toward your 30-day trading volume.
Kraken sets itself apart from other exchanges by offering one of the best customer service experiences in the industry. You’ll be able to reach one of the hundreds of trained specialists Kraken employs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its live chat feature. You’ll even be able to get questions answered on major holidays.
Kraken also recently expanded phone support to be available 24/7, so you won’t have to worry about only being able to reach someone during the work week or during normal business hours. Phone support is extremely rare in the crypto world, so the fact that Kraken offers it is a major bonus. Some questions just can’t be answered easily through chat or email and having the ability to talk with a specialist is important, especially for an area as new as cryptocurrency.
You’ll also have access to Kraken’s support library which can help with more basic questions like account setup and how to get started trading.
Kraken offers enough cryptocurrencies to satisfy even the most demanding traders. With more than 200 cryptocurrencies available, it is among the industry leaders, though it falls short of Crypto.com’s offering of more than 300 coins. Kraken will get you all the most popular coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano and Solana, as well as more obscure ones.
Kraken far outpaces the number of cryptocurrencies available through more popular financial apps like Robinhood and Webull, though those do offer trading in additional securities like stocks and ETFs. Kraken should meet the needs of most crypto traders, whether they’re new or more experienced.
Kraken is also one of the few crypto exchanges that make an attempt to educate traders on what it is they’re trading. Through its crypto guides, Kraken provides information on how to buy and sell many different cryptocurrencies and also explains the theory and origin of different coins. Not sure what Dogecoin is? Kraken has a guide for you.
While the guides are fairly basic, they’re better than nothing, which is what most of the other exchanges offer. Considering how most traders are new to cryptocurrency and the significant risks involved with trading them, it’s good that this exchange is educating users about what they’re getting involved with.
Kraken also offers videos on topics related to crypto such as security issues and futures trading. You’ll also get access to webinars with crypto experts to help you better understand the industry and where it’s headed next.
Cons: Where Kraken could improve
Instant buy fees
If you’re looking to use Kraken’s instant buy feature, you should prepare yourself to pay considerably higher prices. Kraken no longer shows its exact fees for these transactions, but says they consist of a displayed fee and a spread. Previously, it listed instant buy fees starting at 0.9 percent for stablecoins and jumping to 1.5 percent for any other crypto. On top of that fee, another 3.75 percent is charged if the purchase is made using a debit or credit card, or 0.5 percent if it’s made through an ACH transfer.
You’re better off transferring cash into your account and waiting a few days for it to clear. Fees are a killer when it comes to investment returns.
Restrictions in some states
Kraken does not currently offer services to residents of New York or Washington state. The company says it wants to provide services to all U.S. residents, but the costs to maintain regulatory compliance are too high in some areas. Other exchanges, including Binance.US and Crypto.com, also have restrictions in some jurisdictions, so it may be difficult to find one that operates in all U.S. states.
Trading platform and mobile app
Kraken’s trading platform and mobile app handle the basics just fine, but you might be disappointed if you’re looking for more advanced features. You’ll be able to check prices on dozens of cryptocurrencies, create watchlists and set up alerts. More experienced traders may appreciate additional charting tools or research.
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