Unfortunately, Kraken is not active in United Kingdom
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Kraken Review 2020

Kraken Review 2020

We’re coming into this Kraken review with high expectations considering the bold claims they make. First and foremost is the claim that they’re the most trusted cryptocurrency exchange on the internet, as well as being the safest and most accessible place to buy.

The question, really, isn’t whether Kraken is good: we’d be very surprised to learn of any Kraken scams or serious allegations of whether Kraken is safe, for instance. The real question is whether they’re as good as they claim in an ever-expanding and ultra-competitive Kraken market. Well, there’s only one way of finding out and that’s by breaking everything down in our Kraken exchange review, piece by piece.

Kraken: Pros & Cons
  • World class support
  • 24/7 live chat
  • Amazing array of trading options
  • Beautifully designed site
  • As easy to use as could be possible considering complexity
  • May not be suitable for beginners

Usability, Look & Feel

First things first in this part of our Kraken exchange review, there’s no doubt that this exchange is aimed at serious traders. Due to that, there’s an inevitable complexity to what they do. This means that no one in their position could create a service that maintains the necessary levels of complexity without making it beyond the understanding of some people.

With that said, within those limitations, Kraken does everything they can to make their site as easy as it could possibly be. It is beautifully designed, structured, and it responds well on a technical level. Once again, this is never going to be the kind of site that a technologically illiterate person would be able to pick up and understand at a moment, but for what they set out to do, we can’t imagine them doing much better in terms of useability.

When it comes to security, it’s clear that Kraken has learned a lot from the mistakes of others. They have made security an absolute prime priority, with the slogan “security above everything”. We’ll go into the specifics a little later, but believe us when we say that it is more than just a catchphrase.

Payments

We’ve already discussed the cryptocurrencies available, but also important is the use of fiat currencies. These include the US Dollar, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollar, British Pound and Euros. Obviously, the right choice from here depends on geography more than anything else. Everybody’s needs are different but this mix of traditional and cryptocurrencies is so vital for an exchange aimed at an advanced audience.

We’ve discussed fees earlier in this Kraken exchange review, so we won’t repeat ourselves here, but we haven’t yet addressed Kraken deposit costs. Many of the cryptocurrency options are free but there are exceptions. For example, Algorang costs 0.01 ALGO. For a full list, check out their support section.

There are also various deposit fees for fiat currencies depending on multiple factors such as currency and deposit method/partner. There’s certainly no lack of options here. In terms of a recommendation, if it’s a lack of deposit costs you’re after, then cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are an excellent choice.

Customer Service

Throughout our Kraken exchange review, we;ve consistently praised their utterly brilliant customer Help and Advice section and we’ll start our look at customer service by reiterating that here.

In terms of contact methods, you can head onto chat. You’ll be initially greeted with a bot that will try and answer your questions, and then if they can’t, you’ll get put through to an agent. This is a pretty simple process: with some competitors, you have to go through an absolute quest to finally talk to someone, but this was fairly swift.

They also get extra credit in our Kraken review for being available in many different languages, with dedicated versions of the site for Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, Italian, Turkish, Russian, Chinese and Japanese speakers, with a Korean option coming soon.

Considering this is available 24/7 and the help we got was also of a very high quality, you have one of the finest customer service experiences of any exchange. Other than being unable to locate a hotline, this part of our Kraken review comes away with a perfect score.

License & Security

That brilliant Help section comes in handy once more in our Kraken review. They state that they comply with all legal and regulatory requirements everywhere they operate, and that’s an awful lot of places. Kraken futures is also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, also known as the FC, which is the UK’s premier financial regulatory body. They’re also registered as a Money Service Business in the USA and Canada. In short, are they legitimate? Absolutely.

Moving onto security, they offer two factor authentication – this also helps keep minors from using the site – alongside a global team of security experts, offline cold storage, servers that are literally watched by armed guards with strictly controlled physical access, penetration testing, world class encryption, configurable account timeouts and more. The lengths they’ve gone to are astonishing and the results speak for themselves.

Kraken Crypto

Trade Offer

We’re happy to be able to start our Kraken review with a very large positive and that is the amount of cryptocurrencies that are available. We counted 34 at the time of writing and, of course, in the world of cryptocurrencies, if things change, then in all likelihood will be an expansion.

On top of that, they support dozens and dozens of trading and margin pairs. These are currencies that can be traded for each other and on margin. The big names are all here, from Ethereum to bitcoin, with the latter being the best choice in terms of its mainstream appeal.

Obviously, there’s a great deal of complexity regarding these options that we cannot go into in our Kraken review. However, we will say that Kraken does a great job of laying out all of the information you need in terms of things like deposit method/partner and availability, to give but a couple of examples. It’s an astonishing amount of options so they have had a mammoth job in achieving clarity, but we think they have largely pulled it off.

Trading Costs

Once again, we absolutely love the clarity here: it makes our ability to assess what’s available in this Kraken review so much easier. Let’s start with Kraken trading. For a 30-day volume, your maker fees decrease with how much is spent, beginning with 0.16% for $0-$50,000. This gradually drops down until at $10,000,000 plus, you have no fees whatsoever. These tiers reward you the more you trade: it’s a simple, elegant system, and it works.

You’ll see something similar with Stablecoin and FX Pairs, which at the same volumes, begins at 0.2%, which then goes down to 0% at $1,000,000 plus. Margin fees are then applied in addition to Kraken trading fees at the opening and closing of their positions.

For more information, check out their excellent support section. Kraken is one of the best possible options available, both for value and simplicity of their fee arrangement.

Trading Conditions

We have to say that one of the joys of this Kraken exchange review has been how easy it is to find what we need. They clearly state that Kraken is not available to residents in the following countries: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Guinea-Bissau and Tajikistan. They’re also unable to serve Washington state or New York. They even provide an explanation for this, essentially stating that this is due to very high regulatory compliance costs.

The fact they’ve gone out of their way to give such clear answers really is one of the most refreshing parts of this Kraken review. There are also some restricted services for residents of New Hampshire and Texas, as they cannot deposit, hold or use Euros.  Also, fiat deposits and Kraken withdrawals are not available at a starter verification level. Bank transfers are available to most users but they must be at an intermediate or pro verification level. There’ll be more on that later in our Kraken review.

All exchanges have some restrictions – these all seem very reasonable – and we really appreciate how clearly they are laid out.

Product Conclusion

The information in this part of our Kraken review will act as a sort of Kraken how to trade guide, and it all comes from their Getting Started section – which we really recommend you check out because it goes into an incredible amount of depth. In terms of the basics of how this actually all works though, it of course begins with creating an account.

1. Register and activate an account

You start by hitting the ‘Create an account’ button at the top right-hand corner of the screen, entering your email address, username and password. Your username cannot be changed, so pick a good one.

Next, you’ll want to read the terms of service and privacy policy and confirm your agreement, then click ‘Sign up’. Now you will get an activation key via email. Enter that key on the account activation form, confirm your password and then hit ‘Activate account’. You now have a Kraken account!

2. Verify your account

You actually have three options for your account and you can get more funding options and higher limits depending on what you choose, with intermediate and pro requiring more verification. The basic requirements include your name, email, address and phone number; intermediate requires a government issued ID, proof of residence, ID confirmation photo and your occupation, and to get the Pro benefits, they will require AML verification and financial statements.

3. Fund your account

Now it’s time to fund your account. Head onto the Funding tab and choose your preferred option, and how much you would like to deposit. Keep in mind you will need to generate an address for cryptocurrencies.

Buying and selling cryptocurrencies is as simple as selecting your currency pair and telling it how much you want to buy or sell through an order form. Here you can choose a market or limit order, with the former being for immediate execution, and the latter being executed when the market reaches your limit price.

Do note that there is also a referral scheme, which does not appear to use a Kraken referral code.

And that’s the basics. There is a lot more to it than that because this is an advanced platform, but we hope that our Kraken exchange review is clear in how well we feel they’ve done in keeping all this as straightforward as possible.

Overall Conclusion

One of Kraken’s boldest claims – as mentioned earlier in this Kraken exchange review – is that they’re consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange. We’re not 100% on that. We don’t really know how you could conclusively calculate such a thing, but we will say that their reputation and customer feedback is good enough for that not to seem like a ridiculous statement.

They have the kind of customer satisfaction that most of their competitors could only dream of and that rests on years of world class service. Their reputation is well deserved, even if they might be being a touch hyperbolic.

It’s important to note, as we come to the end of our Kraken exchange review, that this level of quality did not come overnight. This is an exchange that has consistently improved in pretty much every way since its inception, and continues to do so today. That means if you choose Kraken, you’re not just getting a great cryptocurrency exchange, but you’re getting one which is determined to continue getting better and better.

However, it is not ideal for newcomers, despite every effort to make it as user-friendly as possible. The fact is this is packed with advanced trading options that few beginners will consider suitable. For the right type of exchange user though, you could argue that there is no better. Our Kraken exchange review conclusion has to be that for their target audience, they are as close to perfect as we’ve seen.

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