If you want to start investing in crypto, you first need to find a reliable platform.
There are many crypto exchanges to choose from, so it’s sometimes not so easy to pick the right one.
In today’s article, we’re bringing you a Kraken review – a thorough look at one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange platforms and often referred to as the best crypto exchange UK.
We will tell you all about its features and benefits, so you can figure out whether Kraken is the right crypto platform for you.
What is Kraken?
Kraken was launched in 2011 in San Francisco, and it managed to become one of the world’s largest exchanges.
It boasts over 7 million customers from around the world, and it’s available in 176 countries. With over 65 cryptocurrencies, it has a nice selection of crypto too.
How Does Kraken Work?
So, what does Kraken actually do?
As an online trading platform, Kraken is created primarily for buying, selling, and trading crypto. You can access it on your desktop or your mobile phone; it’s available both for Android and iOS devices.
However, available services depend on your verification level. There are currently three levels on Kraken: Starter, Intermediate, and Pro.
Nevertheless, Kraken is connected to Bloomberg Terminal, the computer software system popular among financial specialists. The platform supplies pricing data to the system that monitors and analyses market conditions.
In terms of fees, Kraken has a rather complex structure. Fees vary depending on the type of transaction, your chosen payment method, and trading volume. You can also use the Instant Buy features, but you’ll be charged higher fees.
On the other hand, seasoned traders have many trading options to explore.
Let’s sum up all the important features on Kraken, as well as the platform’s pros and cons.
Kraken’s Main Features
- Three verification levels
- Supports more than 65 cryptocurrencies
- Available on desktop, Android, and iOS
- Live Cryptowatch price data
- Personalised support
- 24/7 customer service
- 95% of assets in cold storage
Kraken Pros & Cons
- Wide range of trading options
- Low transaction fees (for Kraken Pro)
- 24/7 customer service
- Complex fee structure
- Higher fees for Kraken Starter
- The verification system might be confusing
Kraken Verification Levels
As we’ve already mentioned, Kraken offers three verification levels. They are basically different types of user accounts, and each level provides a different extent of access to the platform’s services.
For instance, the Starter account offers basic trading options, whereas Kraken Pro allows users to handle more complex transactions.
The Pro account also has a fee-free model, but we will tell you more about each level in a moment. Each level requires a different setup and it’s suited for a different type of user.
Starter is the most basic Kraken verification level. To set up this account, you have to provide some personal information and contact details. It doesn’t take more than an hour to set up the account and get verified.
The Starter verification level is best suited for beginners who want to buy and sell crypto. It entails very simple processes, without any complex terms or procedures. However, you should bear in mind that this account doesn’t support cash deposits and withdrawals.
The Intermediate verification level covers all the features that Starter has, but it also supports fiat currencies and trade on futures.
As you might assume, this level requires more identification to set up. You’ll need to provide a valid ID, contact details, and proof of residence.
All in all, the Intermediate account is ideal for people with some experience and investors interested in margin and futures trading. The OTC (over-the-counter) trading is not supported though.
If you’re a seasoned trader who wants to opt for Pro Kraken, you can choose from two types of Pro accounts: personal and business.
Of course, this level requires even more identification to set up, but it provides advanced features like OTC trading. It also has a different fee structure, but we will come back to that later.
The Pro account is ideal for professional crypto investors and advanced investors interested in various trading types (OTC, margin, future) and high-volume transactions.
You can find the full list of features that each account offers here.
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at how different Kraken fees work.
Kraken Instant Buy fees
If you have a Starter account, you can opt for the Instant Buy feature. It’s a very simple method of buying and selling on Kraken, and you can easily access it by clicking on the ‘Buy Crypto’ widget.
Furthermore, there are four different fees depending on the type of transaction. You will pay a 0.9% fee for buying or selling stablecoins or a 1.5% fee for any other cryptocurrency.
Additionally, a 0.5% fee for online bank deposits or 3.75% + £0.21 fee for card payments applies.
In other words, Kraken users can pay a fee as high as 5.25% + £0.21, and that’s quite hefty. But high fees are not unusual for Instant Buy purchases.
Platforms like Coinbase and Gemini charge a $2.99 flat fee for purchases between $50 and $200, and that can lead to charges as high as 5.98% of a $50 transaction. So, updating your account to another level would reduce general fees.
Kraken Pro fees
The Kraken Pro account is based on a maker-taker fee model ranging from 0.10% for takers and 0% for makers.
In fact, taker fees begin at 0.26% for trades up to $50,000. That’s lower than Coinbase Pros fees (0.35%). And when it comes to maker fees, they begin at 0.16%, while Coinbase Pro starts at 0.50%.
That being said, Kraken Pros is a cost-effective option for people who want to ‘make’ the market with limited orders.
You can read more about different Kraken fees here.
Stablecoin and crypto-to-crypto trading fees
This might come as surprise for some investors, but Kraken charges a flat fee both for stablecoins and crypto-to-crypto trading.
However, that fee depends on your trading volume – more trades entail lower fees. For example, the approximate fee for a 30-day trading volume of $0-$50,000 is 0.20%. And for a trading volume that exceeds $1,000,000, there is literally no fee.
Kraken margin fees
When it comes to margin trading fees, Kraken takes into account what type of crypto is being purchased. Generally, margin trading involves borrowing money from a broker to buy assets. However, that also entails an interest rate.
Margin trading is only available for Intermediate and Pro level accounts. And an opening fee for the majority of base currencies is 0.02%. That includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Cardano, and so on.
Kraken futures fees
If you have an Intermediate or Pro level account, you can also access futures trading options. Kraken futures fees vary, and they are based on a maker-taker fee model.
For example, for a 30-day trading volume of $0-$100,000, you can expect an approximate maker fee of 0.0200% and a taker fee of 0.0500%.
Selection of Cryptocurrencies
So, what cryptocurrencies can you trade on Kraken? Well, there’s a variety of cryptocurrencies to choose from, including:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Dash (DASH)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Polkadot (DOT)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Zcash (ZEC)
See a full list of cryptocurrencies available on Kraken here.
In terms of security, Kraken has strong safety measures. That includes 2-factor authentication and e-mail confirmations for all withdrawals. Plus, 95% of assets are kept in cold storage, which is always a more secure option.
Furthermore, Kraken’s server is kept in a secure cage under 24/7 surveillance which also minimises the risk of hacking.
And if you have any issues or questions, there’s a high-priority 24/7 live chat and e-mail support service. Their customer service is generally very responsive, so you can easily resolve any problems that might occur.
Kraken Customer Reviews
Kraken has more than 1,600 reviews on Trustpilot, and it has a 2.2 out of 5 rating. Although you can’t always rely on user reviews, it’s interesting to take a look before you make any decisions.
Nevertheless, most good reviews refer to Kraken’s low fees and customer service responsiveness.
Kraken Review UK – Final Thoughts
All things considered, Kraken is a well-established platform that offers a variety of cryptocurrencies. It has competitive fees, but the fees for more advanced trading are notably lower.
However, these advanced transactions come with a rather complicated fee structure.
That being said, Kraken seems to be the best option for more experienced investors. Moreover, the platform doesn’t have a beginner-friendly interface, and it offers a lot of benefits for Kraken Pro users.
Another thing you should bear in mind is that Kraken isn’t FCA-regulated in the UK.
Therefore, it’s not as safe as some other well-regulated platforms like eToro. And that’s another reason why Kraken is best for seasoned traders who know what they’re doing and are aware of all the risks.