Kraken.com review – Scam or Not?
UPDATE: At the moment ( May / June 2017 ) the support of Kraken is totally overloaded, it takes weeks and months to get an answer – sadly also if you wait for the verification of your documents. In case you want to buy your crypto currency fast, its better to choose a different exchange.
Kraken is the largest Bitcoin exchange in euro volume and liquidity. After trying to help MtGox recover from the hacking attack, Jesse Powell decided to offer the world the first professional BTC exchange – that’s how Kraken was born. The company was founded in San Francisco on 28th of July, 2011 and remains based in California.
The platform is an excellent choice for European users, but after a number of acquisitions in the last couple of years, their focus seems to be shifting from Europe to Worldwide market.
The verification process is straightforward, but Kraken can be a bit strict when it comes to the higher tier verifications. There are four tiers. Tier 1 and 2 take only a few minutes, but it can take longer if the application requires manual review. Tier 3 verification usually takes a couple of days to complete.
Kraken doesn’t allow deposits, withdrawals or trading without verification. Here’s how the user’s limits increase with tiers:
Tier 1 – Deposits and withdrawals are available in digital currency only. Trading, on the other hand, can be performed with digital as well as fiat currencies. Tier 1 verification requires:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Country of residence
- Phone number verification
Tier 2 – Deposits, withdrawals, and trading in digital currency are available. Depending on the country of residence, some users can get access to fiat currency deposits and withdrawals. Tier 2 verification requires only the user’s address.
Tier 3 – fiat currency deposits and withdrawals are available, and the funding limits are way higher than Tier 2. Tier 3 verification also allows margin trading. The verification requires:
- Valid government ID
- Recent proof of residence
In order to deposit fiat currency in the US, Canada, Japan, Germany and other countries depending on the type of currency, Tier 3 verification is necessary.
Tier 4 – Tier 3 with higher funding limits. Tier 4 offers both individual and corporate accounts. Verification for an individual account requires the KYC documents and a signed application form. Corporate account verification requires contacting support.
Deposit and withdrawal limits are sorted per tiers:
Tier 1 – Fiat deposits and withdrawals are not possible. Deposits in digital currencies don’t have a limit, while withdrawals are limited to $2,500 per day and $20,000 per month. Verification for Tier 1 requires some basic personal information.
Tier 2 -Deposits and withdrawals in FIAT currency are limited to $2,000 per day and $10,000 per month. Cryptocurrency withdrawals are limited to $5,000 per day and $50,000 per month. Verification requirement for Tier 2 is address verification, which can be confirmed with a utility bill on the user’s name.
Tier 3 – Fiat deposits and withdrawals are limited to $25,000 daily and $200,000 monthly. Withdrawals in digital currencies are limited to $50,000 per day and $200,000 per month. Tier 3 verification requires address verification from Tier 2, National ID card photo, Social Security number for US residents, and ID confirmation photo for German residents.
Kraken accepts the following fiat currencies:
- US dollar
- Canadian dollar
- GB Pound
And users can trade these cryptocurrencies:
- The DAO
Possible trading pairs and fee schedule for each pair can be found here.
Kraken Fees Analysis
When it comes to fees, Kraken has reduced its prices drastically in order to stay ahead of the competition and currently is one of the cheapest trading platforms. The exchange charges the following fiat withdrawal fees:
EUR SEPA Withdrawal – EEA countries only €0.09
GBP PayCash Wire Transfer – 0.19% with £10 minimum fee
USD PayCash SEPA – EAA countries 0.19% with $15 minimum fee
USD SWIFT Withdrawal – all other countries 0.19% with $15 minimum fee
USD SynapsePay – available in 37 US states + DC, $5 flat fee
CAD EFT Withdrawal – Canada only, $10 CAD flat fee
JPY Domestic Withdrawal – Japan Only, ¥300 flat fee
Cryptocurrency withdrawal fees are even lower:
- Bitcoin ฿0.00050
- Ether Ξ0.00500
- Ether Classic ξ0.00500
- Ripple Ʀ0.02000
- Litecoin Ł0.02000
- Dogecoin Ð2.00
- Stellar STR 0.00002
- Iconomi ICN 0.200
- Zcash ⓩ0.00010
- Augur (REP) Ɍ0.01000
When it comes to deposits, Kraken doesn’t charge fees for the majority of transfers, but wire transfers carry the €5 fee for EU countries and 0.19% fee for USD and GBP deposits with the minimum of $20 and £10 respectively. All digital currency deposits are free as well, with the exception of Ripple which carries a fee of 50XRP.
Trading fees are charged for both maker and taker, and they start at 0.16% for the maker and 0.26% for the taker. As the trading volume increases, fees percentage steadily drops all the way to 0.00% for the maker and 0.10% for the taker.
Kraken offers less than ten different cryptocurrencies for trading, but it is possible to make direct trades between all available pairs. Together with five fiat currencies, the exchange gives enough trading options for everyone.
For those who are looking to have maximum control over their trades, Kraken remains the best choice.
The exchange doesn’t support derivates or futures trading, but it has all the functions that can be found in the forex trading markets. Users can use limit orders, advanced orders with predefined triggers, leveraged positions, margin trading as well as short selling.
Margin trading is available on these currency pairs: XBT*/EUR, XBT/USD, ETH/XBT, ETH/USD, ETH/EUR, ETC/XBT, ETC/ETH, ETC/USD, ETC/EUR, REP/XBT, REP/ETH, REP/EUR.
XBT is Kraken’s short for Bitcoin, used instead BTC.
Ease of Use
Kraken software is highly rated for both professional and beginning cryptocurrency trading. The interface offers simple, intermediate and advanced templates, helping beginners to get their bearings and at the same time allowing expert traders to use all the advanced options they need.
Kraken offers 24/7 support, with instant email and chat responses. The support isn’t very highly rated and it can take a couple of days to react, so some people were forced to act like this guy.
Other than that, no serious complaints were posted.
Kraken.com Security Check
Kraken is probably one of the most secure online cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. In the aftermath of the Mt. Gox collapse, Kraken was the first company to create a cryptographically verified proof of reserves which shows that the exchange holds 100% of customer funds, as it should. They hold the majority of funds offline in cold storage. Their servers are held in secure facilities with armed guards, retina scanners, and top-notch video surveillance.
The company has two-factor authentication, PGP encryption for email communication and global setting lock, which prevents any account changes in a particular time period.
So far Kraken hasn’t been hacked, but there were cases where careless users got their accounts hacked due to lack of 2fa security.
But even if their security is top notch, it happened to a lot of traders that kraken has capacity problems when there is a lot of volatility in the market. That is problem when you want to react quickly to a market change or you want to buy/sell but the exchange is not responding.
The Kraken is a real industry leader, and one of the best bitcoin exchanges today.
- Low fees
- Excellent liquidity in EUR markets
- Margin trading supported
- Only exchange platform selected to support investigation into Mt. Gox’s stolen Bitcoins
- Weak support for mobile platforms
- Often has uptime problems when market gets hot
- Volume lags a bit in BTC/USD
If you’re looking for a safe exchange with low fees (especially if you’re in Europe), then Kraken is an obvious choice. Post your experience with Kraken exchange in the comments, we would love to hear from you.