Kraken Bitcoin Exchange Review

Kraken is a popular US-based Bitcoin exchange founded on July 28th, 2011 by Jesse Powell. The company (Payward, Inc) is based in San Francisco, California and is still headquartered there today. Jesse Powell is credited with assisting MtGox bounce back from the hacking attack. After achieving this feat, he decided to start the first official BTC exchange – Kraken.

Kraken is considered an excellent option for traders who want to buy a large volume of Bitcoins because it offers good liquidity with average daily volume on the exchange ranging around 10 to 12 million euros. The company charges high fees for small deposits, however. People buying below $50,000 of BTC every month have to pay from 0.16% to 0.26% fees for each buy.

Start Trading at Kraken

Some benefits of trading with Kraken are that it charges low transaction fees for large volume traders and is a highly respected exchange. The downside is that Kraken might not the best option for beginners, since they charge higher fees on small quantities of money, and offer limited payment methods. They also have somewhat weak support for mobile and their volume is a bit low in BTC/USD.

Kraken Company Overview

To begin trading at Kraken, the first step one should take is to fill out the order form. You can choose leveraged margin trading or any of the other order types that they offer. Additionally, the trading platform enables customers to view recent positions, trades, and orders. These are found at the bottom right corner of the dashboard. You can also choose currency pairs by looking at the upper left corner of the trader’s dashboard.

Kraken has a simple and easy to understand verification process, but the company is a bit strict in the verification of higher tiers. all in all, they have a total of four tiers. The verification of tier 1 and 2 is fast, as it can take just minutes but the process can be longer if the manual review is required.

Tier 3 can take two days for verification to be completed. Traders are not allowed to deposit, withdraw or trade before verification is done. Tier 3 also offers margin trading. Tier 1 verification requires your full name, date of birth, country of residence and phone number; Tier 2 requires proof or residence while Tier 3 requires country of residence and valid government ID.

Overall, Kraken has greatly reduced its fees in the recent years to beat the competition and has become a major trading platforms with some of the lowest fees. For example, USD SWIFT Withdrawal fees are 0.19% for all other countries with a minimum fee of $15, Japan is charged a flat fee of 300 yen for JPY domestic withdrawal, and Canada is charged a flat fee of $10 CAD for CAD EFT Withdrawal.

On the other hand, Kraken does not charge any fees for most transfers when it comes to deposits. However, some EU countries are charged 5 Euros for wire transfer, and GBP and USD deposits are charged 0.19% and a minimum of 10 Pounds and $20 respectively.

Supported Currency Pairs

The following currency pairs have margin trading; ETC/EUR, ETC/USD, REP/XBT, XBT/USD, ETH/USD, REP/EUR, ETH/EUR, REP/ETH and XBT/EUR. Note that Kraken uses XBT to represent Bitcoin. Leveraged trading allows up to 5x shorting. Customers also enjoy advanced order types where they can use stop-loss orders to automate their strategy. Thus, it prevents them from incurring excessive losses. The fees charged on this platform vary depending on the type of pairs and volume traded.

Kraken Software, Apps and Support

Trading at Kraken means that you’ll enjoy the ease of use of the company’s software. Its interface has both simple and advanced templates that enable beginners to navigate the platform with ease. It also gives expert traders a chance to use a wide range of different advanced options.

Kraken has an iOS application and an Android app, while also offering round-the-clock support to customers through live chat and instant email. Their customer support complies with the law and is arguably reliable. However, in the recent past, clients have complained about the company’s poor customer service characterized by unresponsive support and delayed feedback. Another major complaint that customers have about the company is about the slow loading times of the website especially when the market is hot. This is mainly due to the heavy traffic and numerous transactions that take place on the platform.

Supported CryptoCurrencies

Kraken supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies. These include the following;

  • ICN
  • ETH
  • The DAO
  • BTC
  • DOGE
  • XRP
  • ZEC
  • XLM
  • LTC
  • REP
  • DASH
  • ETC

Countries Supported

Kraken is an international Bitcoin exchange and supports various countries throughout the world. This includes Japan, Europe, Canada and the United States.

Fiat Currencies Supported

The following is a list of the fiat currencies that fiat accepts.

  • GBP
  • CAD
  • USD
  • Yen
  • EUR

Trading Limits

The Kraken trading platform utilizes a tier system to determine trading limits and account privileges. Tier 1, which is the lowest level account, does not allow fiat currency deposits; traders must deposit and withdraw digital currencies only. Fiat currency deposits and withdrawals are only available at Tier 2 or Tier 3 depending on which country a person resides. Deposit and withdrawal limits also vary according to the Tiers.

Tier 1 Account

In Tier 1, there is no limit for deposits in digital currencies while withdrawals have limitations of $2,500 per day. The maximum withdrawal in a month is $50,000.

Tier 2 Account

In Tier 2, the limit for depositing and withdrawing in Fiat currency stands at $2000 daily and $10,000 every month. On the other hand, traders are allowed to withdraw up to $5,000 cryptocurrency per day and $50,000 per month.

Tier 3 Account

At Tier 3, fiat currency deposits and withdrawals are a maximum $25,000 per daily and $200,000 per month.

Kraken.com Website Security

Kraken is considered to be one of the safest online cryptocurrency exchanges. It pioneered cryptographic verification of proof of reserves. This indicates that all customer funds are held by the exchange. Most of the funds are help in cold storage offline.

Kraken’s servers are stored in safe facilities that are guarded by armed guards and use the best video surveillance and retina scanners. The company uses PGP encryption for global setting lock and email communication as well as two-stage authentication which blocks changes in given period. Customers can even create a master key for recovery.

Kraken has never been hacked, but there were incidences where some users’ individual accounts were hacked because they had not activated their 2FA security. Despite their security being above board, most traders have faced similar challenges which have made Kraken have capacity problems during volatile moments in the market. Customers experience problems when they want to react to a change in the market only to find that the exchange platform is not responding.

In conclusion, Kraken can be a good platform for Bitcoin trading, especially if you are in Europe and want an exchange with low fees and good security. It also has great liquidity in EUR markets, it is margin trading supported, and it was the only exchange that was picked to help in the Mt. Gox’s stolen Bitcoins investigations.

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