Kraken Review: A Safe Place for Your Crypto Assets?
Cryptocurrency exchanges are arguably the most convenient way to trade and store your digital assets. But with so many platforms to choose from, how do you decide which one is right for you? Global exchanges like Kraken have a lot to offer, including low fees, advanced trading tools, and a large number of available coins.
In this Kraken review, I share its top features and let you know how it compares to the best Canadian crypto exchanges.
Kraken has been around since 2011 as a US-based cryptocurrency exchange. With more than 9 million customers, 190 countries supported, and $200B in trading volume every quarter, it’s also one of the largest crypto exchanges.
- Buy and sell more than 185 crypto
- Platforms for beginners and advanced traders
- Margin and futures trading are available
- Volume-based pricing
- 24/7 Live chat support
- OTC desk to accommodate large volume trades
- Crypto Watch feature lets you set price and volume alerts
- Staking and Unstaking
How Kraken Works
As with any crypto exchange, most users will be able to open their Kraken account quickly and easily as long as they can provide some personal information and proper identification.
Once your account is open and you’ve been verified, you can fund your account with fiat currency or crypto. Unlike Binance, another huge crypto exchange, Kraken accepts Canadian fiat for deposits.
You can fund your account with Canadian dollars via wire transfer or Etana Custody, a custodial service that allows Kraken customers to fund their accounts in several different fiat currencies.
There is no fee for funding your account with CAD fiat.
Trading fees vary and depend partly on your trading volume. The fees are highest on Instant Buy, Kraken’s basic trading platform:
Instant Buy Pricing
0.9% for Stablecoins
1.5% for any other crypto or FX pair
Kraken Pro Pricing
Trading fees for Kraken Pro are substantially lower than what you will pay in Instant Buy. Kraken uses a typical maker-taker fee schedule, as per the screenshot below. As you can see, the fees drop as the trader’s 30-day trading volume rises. Of course, most traders will pay fees of 0.16% or 0.26% based on the lowest volume tier ($0 – $50,000).
|30-Day Volume USD||Maker||Taker|
|$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%|
Advanced traders will want to take advantage of Kraken Pro, which has all the bells and whistles you can expect from a pro-level crypto trading platform. Kraken Pro is available as a mobile app on both iOS and Android devices. Here are some of the key features of Kraken Pro:
- Market, limit, stop-loss, and take-profit order types
- Staking and unstaking
- 5X leverage for margin trading
- The pricing structure is based on trade volume
- Available on iOS and Android
If you need immediate support, Kraken offers 24/7 live chat support. You can also speak with a live representative via telephone during business hours (Monday to Friday, 6 AM – 6 PM EST). Email support is also available, and their website has a library full of support content.
What Coins Does Kraken Support?
According to the Kraken website, you can buy and sell more than 185 cryptocurrencies, including the following popular coins:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Tether USD
Is Kraken Safe?
Anytime you’re trusting an institution with your money, you want to know that your funds are secure. As with most large crypto exchanges, Kraken has implemented several layers of security to protect their assets and yours. For starters, 95% of deposits are kept in online, air-gapped, geographically distributed cold storage.
They also employ two-factor authentication (2FA), SSL encryption, and a self-serve account lock feature, among other things.
Kraken Pros and Cons
There’s a lot to like about Kraken, but it’s not going to be for everyone. Here’s my list of pros and cons to help you decide if Kraken is right for you.
- Separate trading platforms for beginners and pros
- Transparent fee structure
- Over-The-Counter (OTC) desk to accommodate large trades
- You can fund your account with CAD fiat currency
- Low pricing on high volume, pro trades
- Documentation and tax reporting is cumbersome for Canadian users
- Fees are high on the Instant Buy platform (basic trades)
- Canadians cannot fund their account via e-Transfer (other platforms allow this)
There is no shortage of crypto exchanges to choose from, so while Kraken has a lot to offer, there are likely better options for Canadians.
With Kraken, you can fund your account with Canadian currency, but you can’t deposit via e-Transfer, which is a major inconvenience.
Also, because Kraken is a US exchange, users have to deal with the IRS for tax reporting purposes, which can be a highly cumbersome process. With that in mind, here are a couple of Canadian-friendly options.
Bitbuy is our top-rated crypto exchange, that is if you’re Canadian. Bitbuy stands out for its two-tiered trading platform – Express Trade for beginners and Pro Trade for advanced traders. While not industry-leading, trading fees are very competitive.
Express Trade users pay 0.20% for buying or selling crypto, while the Pro Trade platform uses a maker/taker setup, at 0.10% and 0.20% respectively.
With Bitbuy, Canadians can fund their account with Canadian dollars via e-Transfer, which is highly convenient. Check out our Bitbuy review for more information.
- Transparent pricing
- Low trading fees
- Canadian-based cryptocurrency exchange
- Offers beginner and advanced trading platforms
- 2FA security
- Multiple customer support options
- 95% cold storage
- Trade via desktop or mobile app
Like Bitbuy, Coinsmart is a Canadian-based crypto exchange that makes it easy to trade crypto. You can buy and sell up to 16 crypto coins, a decent number but far fewer than Kraken.
Bitbuy and Kraken both offer lower trading fees, although Coinsmart is competitive. Like Bitbuy, Coinsmart has an advanced trading platform with several trading options for pros.
Unfortunately, withdrawals can take up to 5 days to process. Learn more in our full Coinsmart review.
- Eleven available coins
- Customer service smart guarantee
- Transparent, competitive pricing
- Low deposit fees
- Instant ID verification is available for new accounts
- Same-day payment processing
- Cold storage security
Kraken Canada Review: The Bottom Line
Kraken is undoubtedly a top crypto platform – it’s packed with features, including low fees and a full-featured trading platform. The problem with Kraken is that it’s not that great for Canadians. It’s too difficult to fund your account with fiat currency, and you have to deal with the IRS. Canadian competitors like Bitbuy and Coinsmart are more convenient options, providing they support the coins you wish to trade.