Kraken Exchange Review & Guide 2018

In our Kraken exchange review, we will cover everything you need to know about the exchange. Not only will we answer the common questions such as: Is the Kraken exchange safe? Why choose to use the Kraken exchange? We will also show you how to create an account and how to buy cryptocurrency on the Kraken exchange in a simple walkthrough.

Who Are Kraken?

San Francisco based Kraken was founded in 2011 and is one of the most well established and popular cryptocurrency exchanges. The Kraken Bitcoin exchange is actually the largest exchange when it comes to trading Bitcoin in Euros, US Dollars, Canadian dollars, Japanese Yen and GBP. This makes it an ideal choice for anyone wanting to invest in Bitcoin.

Right now, Kraken is the 15th largest exchange by trading volume. However, even to this day it has the biggest Bitcoin to Euro market in the world and enjoys an exceptionally loyal customer base.

TOp markets on the Kraken exchange

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The Kraken exchange has also been a pioneer when it comes to security. Kraken was the first exchange to pass a cryptographically verifiable proof-of-reserves audit. The exchange has also been shown to be forward thinking and quickly partnered with the first ever cryptocurrency bank. When it comes to security, not only is Kraken trusted by hundreds of thousands of customers, it has also been appointed as the Tokyo governments trustee and works closely with the fully regulated German bank, Fidor Bank. The exchange has also proven to be resistant to major hacks over the years. Taking all this into consideration, there is strong evidence that the Kraken exchange is safe.

Kraken’s professionalism was also quickly identified by the media. This resulted in the exchange becoming the first Bitcoin exchange to have Bitcoin price stats displayed on a Bloomberg terminal.

Key Facts About The Kraken Exchange

We understand that it can be tricky to choose the right cryptocurrency exchange for you. That’s why we have gone through all the boring stuff so you don’t have to, and have made a short summary of the important points:

  • Accepted Countries: ?? ?? ?? ??
  • Accepted Conventional Currencies: USD, CAD, Yen, Euro, and GBP.
  • Margin Trading: Kraken offer margin trading for those that want to leverage their position. Short positions can also be taken and the maximum leverage is x5.
  • Mobile support: Kraken does not have an official an official app for Android or iOS. However, you can trade in a browser on your mobile.
  • Support: The easiest way to get your support queries answered is by using live chat. Please note that Kraken does not have phone support.
  • Active Markets: Kraken has active markets in 17 different cryptocurrencies. These include Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, EOS, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, Stellar, Tether, Monero, Zcash, Dash and more.
  • Where Is The Kraken Exchange Located? San Francisco, USA.
  • Deposit Methods: Bank wire or cryptocurrency.
  • Can I Deposit Using A Credit Card? No, we are sorry to say that the Kraken exchange doesn’t allow credit card deposits.

Kraken Exchange Fees

When choosing a cryptocurrency exchange, fees matter. We’ll just jump into the fees that you can expect to pay using Kraken:

  • Trading Fees: There are some small differences between different markets. However, the default fee is 0.16% maker and 0.26% taker fees.
  • Cryptocurrency Deposit Fees: All cryptocurrency deposits are free.
  • Cryptocurrency Withdrawal Fees: There are fees to withdraw every cryptocurrency off the exchange. These vary depending on the digital asset you want to withdraw. To give you an idea of fee levels, Bitcoin attracts a fee of 0.001, Ethereum 0.005 and Litecoin 0.02.
  • Conventional Currency Deposit & Withdrawal Fees: In short, the fee depends on the country your bank is located and the currency you are depositing:
    • EUR SEPA Transfers For European Countries: Deposit (FREE) + Withdrawal (€0.09).
    • USD Bank Wire From Within The US: Deposit ($5) + Withdrawal ($5).
    • EUR Bank Wire From Outside The US: Deposit (€10).
    • USD Bank Wire Deposit From Outside The US: Deposit ($10) + Withdrawal ($60).
    • Yen Bank Deposit From With Japan: Deposit (Free – min deposit is 5,000 Yen) + Withdrawal ( 20 Yen).
    • CAD Bank Wire: Deposit (FREE) + Withdrawal ($10 and a 25k CAD daily max withdrawal).

Why Open A Kraken Exchange Account?

Sign up to Kraken Exchange image

The main difficulty with investing in cryptocurrencies is actually converting conventional money into cryptocurrency. Kraken makes this process as simple as possible and actually gives users access to more cryptocurrencies than Coinbase.

The Kraken bitcoin exchange is also ideal for those looking to deposit Euros to buy Bitcoin. After all, EUR deposit and withdrawal fees are practically free and the exchange has the biggest Bitcoin to EUR market in the world. Many investors prefer to buy and sell cryptocurrency in their native currency and Kraken simply offers more currency pairs than many other exchanges. If you are from Japan, Canada or the UK, then you should certainly consider saving yourself some FX fees and use the Kraken exchange.

The exchange is user-friendly and does offer excellent 24/7 live chat support. When it comes to customer support, we have little hesitation in saying that it’s better than competitors like Coinbase.

In terms of additional features, Kraken does offer margin trading up to x5 leverage and allow you to long or short the markets. Many traders will love this feature and it’s not offered by some other major exchanges like Coinbase and Binance.

The Kraken exchange is simply one of the most well-established cryptocurrency exchanges in the market and has survived the test of time. We love their dedication to security, which has led Kraken to be constantly rated as the most secure Bitcoin exchange by the media.

We recently wrote a detailed comparison on kraken vs. coinbase which highlights the key differences between both major exchanges.

How To Open A Kraken Account?

Kraken Exchange Clear Logo

  • Fiat Deposits: USD, CAD, Yen, Euro, and GBP can all be deposited through bank wires.
  • Get Access To 17 Different Cryptocurrencies.
  • Founded In 2011: The Kraken exchange has stood the test of time.
  • Security: The exchange is widely praised in the media for its excellent security.
  • European? Kraken is home to the largest Bitcoin to EUR market in the world.
  • Special Features: The exchange offers margin trading at x5 leverage. Customers have the ability to both long and short markets.

Why Not Create An Account At Europe’s Largest Bitcoin Exchange?

How To Sign Up?

The first thing to do when you land on the Kraken exchange site is to ensure that you see the padlock icon and the words ‘SECURE’ in the URL bar. This quick check will tell you if you are on the official site and not a fake one. Once you have checked this, you are good to go ahead and sign up.

How to check if on official Kraken Exchange website

Sign Up Steps

  1. Fill in the necessary particulars to create an account.
    How to create a Kraken Exchange account
  2. You will then be emailed an account activation key. Check your emails and enter this key and your password to activate your account.
    Kraken Exchange Account Activation
  3. You will then get an email confirming that your account has been activated and then be logged into your Kraken account.

Why Bother To Get Verified On Kraken?

On the Kraken exchange, there are 5 different tiers of verification. Essentially the more verified your account is, the higher the deposit and withdrawal limit you can enjoy. To start off, you won’t be able to deposit or withdraw, which makes verification essential if you want to use the exchange.

  • Tier 0: Deposits and withdrawals are not allowed.
    • Requirements: Sign up.
  • Tier 1: Enables crypto deposits (no limits) and crypto withdrawals ($2.5k daily & $20k monthly).
    • Requirements: Full name, DOB, Country of residence & phone number.
  • Tier 2: Enables conventional currency deposits ($2k daily & $10k monthly) and withdrawals ($2k daily & $10k monthly). Tier 2 also raises your monthly crypto withdrawal limit from $20k to $50k and your daily limit to $5k.
    • Requirements: All of the above plus: address verification.
    • Unlocked Features: Trading on margin is enabled.
  • Tier 3: Raises fiat deposit limits ($25k daily & $200k monthly) and withdrawals ($25k daily & $200k monthly). Tier 3 also raises your crypto daily withdrawal limit to $50k and the monthly limit to $200k.
    • Requirements: All of the above plus: ID, proof of address, social security number (US only) & ID confirmation photo.
  • Tier 4: Is for high net-worth individuals or corporate accounts. To get one of these high-level accounts you must contact Kraken support.

How To Verify Your Account?

When you log in to your Kraken exchange account you will see the account dashboard. Click the ‘Get Verified’ tab to navigate to the verification section of the site.

How to verify Kraken Exchange account

Scroll to the bottom of the ‘Get verified’ page to find the forms to fill in and increase your verification tier.

Kraken Exchange Tier 1 Verification Form

The thing to know is that you cannot skip forward to a higher tier and must go through the different steps in order.

How To Secure Your Kraken Account?

As it stands, your account is only secured with a login name and a password. The next step to increase your security is enabling two-factor authentication on your account. To do this, just click the ‘Security’ tab in your account dashboard and this will take you to the security section of the site.

How to find the security section on the Kraken Exchange

Flick the two-factor authentication slider from ‘off’ to ‘on’. You will then be shown three different options to choose from. We recommend using the Google Authenticator app. This option doesn’t require you to buy a hardware device and is more secure than a static password.
How to setup google authenticator on Kraken Exchange

Once you have selected the Google Authenticator App, you will then be given the option to adjust the settings. At TotalCrypto we like to use the default settings and would just click ‘Next’.

Google Authenticator App settings on Kraken Exchange

The next step is to download the Google Authenticator App on your phone.

Then you just need to scan the QR code that is showing on your screen and enter the 6 digit code generated into Kraken.

Setting up Google Authenticator on Kraken Exchange

Once done, your account will be protected by two-factor authentication. This means you will need to use your authenticator app when logging into your account. You can make your account even more secure by turning on 2FA for deposits/withdrawals and trading.

How to switch on 2FA on Kraken Exchange

How To Trade On The Kraken Exchange?

Once you have verified and funded your account, head over to your account dashboard and select the ‘Trade’ tab. This will then bring up the Kraken exchange trade screen.

How to buy bitcoin on Kraken Exchange

The first thing to do is to select ‘Buy or Sell’. On Kraken, XBT means Bitcoin. This is selected as the default trade. You can change this to other cryptocurrencies by clicking ‘XBT’ and the little down arrow, which will populate a drop-down showing all the tradable crypto assets.

The second step is to key in how much of your selected cryptocurrency you want to buy. You will also see two buttons ‘Market’ and ‘Limit’. Market means that you buy at the current market price and is the option we always use. Once you are happy with your buy order, just click the green buy button and your cryptocurrency will be credited to your account.

Selling on Kraken works in a very similar way to buying. If you were holding Bitcoin Cash in your account and wanted to use this to buy more Bitcoin (XBT), you can do this by firing in a sell order into the BCH/XBT market. This will convert your selected amount of Bitcoin Cash into Bitcoin.

How to sell cryptocurrency on Kraken Exchange

Just enter the details you want in the order form and click the ‘Sell BCH For XBT’ button to finish processing the transaction.


It’s on you to decide if Kraken is the right exchange for you. However, we will leave you with our thoughts to help you make your decision:


  • The exchange allows bank deposits and gives you exposure to 17 different cryptocurrencies. This is a significantly wider choice than offered by competitors such as Coinbase.
  • Live chat customer support is fast and easy. We love this type of support channel and wish more cryptocurrency exchanges supported this feature.
  • Offers margin trading with up to x5 leverage and the option to take long or short positions.
  • Fees at Kraken are competitive and are lower than those charged by Coinbase.
  • The exchange is home to the biggest EUR to Bitcoin market in the world. This makes the exchange particular attractive for European investors.
  • Kraken accepts a wide range of fiat currencies: USD, CAD, Yen, Euro, and GBP.


  • It can take a while for your account verification to be processed.
  • Kraken simply doesn’t offer many cryptocurrencies. It’s ideal for those just wanting exposure to the biggest coins.
  • There is no official mobile app for iOS or Android.
  • The user interface looks dated compared to newer competitors like Binance.

In short, Kraken is a solid exchange and has a lot of support amongst early cryptocurrency adopters. The Kraken exchange has one of the best reputations out there, the fees are competitive and it’s pretty easy to use. However, we do think the exchange is showing its age and could do with a revamp. Also, verification speeds could also be quicker and we can see how this could annoy some customers.

The limited number of cryptocurrencies available means that most investors are going to have to open a second account up at Binance. However, the same issue is true of Coinbase as well. Overall, we think that Kraken is a solid fiat on-ramp into the cryptocurrency markets. Just be aware that the verification process can take a while and there are no official mobile apps.

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DISCLAIMER: Be aware that the activity of cryptoassets mentioned in this article is unregulated. This article must not be construed as investment advice. Always do your own research.

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