Summary review of Kraken, an alternative US exchange

  • By Tom Cleveland

  • January 25, 2019
  • 3:06 am BST

Kraken is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange operating in Canada, the EU, Japan, and the US, and “the world’s largest bitcoin exchange in euro volume and liquidity”. Founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell to be an alternative to Mt. Gox, Kraken launched in September 2013 with live trading after two years of development and beta testing. In April 2018, Kraken announced to shut its services in Japan due to the rising costs.

Review Summarization – Items selected from various Internet reviews:

Other Distinguishing Factors: Kraken has chosen to distinguish itself from local competitors by being a leader in bitcoin/euro liquidity and also offers trading in a number of other fiat currencies, including the USD, euro, pound, yen and the Canadian dollar. It also allows trading in 17 coins and allows for margin trading and short selling.

What cryptocurrencies can be bought: Cryptocurrencies supported: BTC, BCH, ETH, ADA, QTUM, ETC, XMR, DASH, LTC, XRP, XLM, REP, MLN, ZEC, USDT, GNO, and EOS. Fiat currencies supported: USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, and CAD.

Exchange Fees: Kraken has a maker and taker fee of around 0% to 0.36%. Fees may vary based on level and size of transaction volume. Deposits can only be made by wire transfer, with banking fees deducted. Credit cards, Debit cards, and PayPal are not accepted.

Security Precautions: Kraken is considered one of the safest bitcoin exchanges. The platform provides cryptography-verified proof of reserve audits. These audits verify the total amount of cryptocurrency held by Kraken. The company appears to be well capitalized and very safe to use. In fact, Kraken’s security features are made public on its website. All new deposits go directly to cold wallets, where the vast majority of coins are stored. All wallets are encrypted. Users also enjoy 2-factor authentication and vast protection against malicious attempts to retrieve personal login information.

KYC and AML Information: Kraken, as a U.S. domestic enterprise, takes every necessary measure to comply with local KYC and AML statutes.

Customer Service: Kraken is one of the world’s most popular Bitcoin exchanges, which means its customer support may sometimes be overwhelmed. For this reason, the platform offers a Support Center, Help Center and detailed FAQ section, which can help you troubleshoot any problems. You can also submit a request if none of the available resources helps resolve your issue.


  • Highly respected exchange
  • Low transaction fees
  • Professional trading platform with all the bells and whistles
  • Margin trading and short selling


  • Limited payment methods
  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Customer support can be overwhelmed at times, leading to slower service

Concluding Remarks

Kraken is a leading digital currency exchange for “serious and professional traders”. The platform is designed with the sophisticated trader in mind, and provides access to many sought-after features such as fast execution speed, margin trading, and deep liquidity. The platform has gone under fire recently when its CEO Jesse Powell wouldn’t comply with the New York Attorney General’s inquiry into their operations. Still, the company insists it is working on becoming a regulated entity, in full compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.