Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency, while also offering staking, which is the lending of crypto in return for a reward. Kraken offers 110 cryptocurrencies, and more are added regularly.
Kraken was founded by Jesse Powell after the Mt. Gox hack, in which users lost 800,000 Bitcoin. Powell hoped to capture the customers leaving Mt. Gox. Kraken gained traction quickly and became one of the top exchanges by 2013.
Kraken operates in over 200 countries, and 48 states in the US, being absent from New York and Washington.
Kraken offers the ability to switch between “simple” and “advanced” trading interfaces but is best known for its advanced interfaced. Kraken offers advanced charting, multiple order types, margin and futures trading, and overall lower trading fees than other crypto exchanges.
Some of the cryptocurrencies offered by Kraken include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA), Ripple (XRP), Chainlink (LINK), and Polygon (MATIC). Smaller cryptocurrencies are also added regularly. Yet still, there are some cryptocurrencies missing from the selection.
Kraken has a simplified purchase program for new investors, named “Buy Crypto”. This allows users to make instant purchases using a credit or debit card. However, there are extra fees for this service – The exchange charges a 0.9% fee for stable coin purchases and a 1.5% fee for other crypto purchases.
To save on fees, users can deposit funds directly to Kraken, rather than making instant purchases. These fees are based on a maker-taker model.
Fees on Kraken get even lower for Pro users that go through a strict Know Your Customer (KYC) verification process. This includes submitting personal identification that is manually reviewed. Pricing is based on a sliding scale, with discounts available as users execute more transactions.
Security has been at the forefront of the mindset behind Kraken, and it offers a number of notable security features, including:
- Global Settings Lock – This will freeze an account for 29 days on request for times a user is away from their computer
- Whitelisting Addresses – This restricts IP addresses and is required in the verification process
- Cold Storage – Kraken keeps nearly 100% of its crypto in cold storage which is not connected to the internet
- U2F security via hardware key – The cryptocurrency exchange allows users to secure their counts with a Universal 2nd Factor hardware key
Kraken has three different levels of account types, with verifying levels of verification and features:
- Starter – This is limited to depositing, exchanging, and withdrawing cryptocurrency. Starter users cannot deposit or withdraw fiat without more verification
- Intermediate – This requires more verification such as SSN, proof of residence, photo ID etc. This allows users to work with fiat, and trade futures.
- Pro – Requires more KYC steps, but allows users to access lower fees, margin trading, and anonymous trading by allowing access to dark pools.
Kraken is known for its customer service, which is offered by way of 24/7 live chat support on the website and mobile app. There is also phone support, though this operates during regular business hours.
Though the cryptocurrency exchange is primarily web-based, there are Android and iOS apps offered for mobile use.
In conclusion, Kraken is a great option for active and advanced traders that want access to specific features and low fees. For cautious investors, Kraken offers extra security, letting users trade with peace of mind.
- Large selection of digital assets.
- Low fees for advanced traders.
- Limited options for funding accounts.
- Not available in all U.S. states.
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