Kraken Crypto Exchange Review 2022: Everything You Need To Know

The ultimate review of Kraken for Australian investors: fees, facts, alternatives and more.

Trying to figure out just where to get started when it comes to crypto investing can be pretty daunting. Crypto newbies often feel overwhelmed by a sea of new and over-complicated information that usually leaves them feeling more confused than before they started out.

That’s why we’re going to start at the very beginning: choosing a trustworthy exchange to buy, sell and hold your crypto assets. Today, we’re going to take an unbiased look at everything that you need to know about the US-owned cryptocurrency exchange: Kraken

What Is Kraken?

Founded all the way back in 2011, Kraken is one of the longest running crypto exchanges in the world. With a focus on user-experience and security, Kraken has maintained its reputation as a market-leading crypto exchange, offering its users the opportunity to buy and sell more than 120+ different digital assets

While this selection isn’t as comprehensive as Binance or CoinSpot, investors are still able to purchase all of the major tokens such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) as well as a healthy selection of smaller altcoins. 

Kraken provides its users with an intuitive, beginner-friendly platform and mobile app as well as offering technical features that more advanced traders would be after. Kraken is definitely one of the top choices for investors at any experience level. 

To get a better understanding of Kraken, let’s use a classic pros & cons list to weigh up the verdict.

Pros & Cons Of Kraken

Pros

  • Beginner Friendly: If you’re new to cryptocurrency, then Kraken is the exchange for you. The Kraken app is one of the most beginner-friendly and simple to use crypto apps available anywhere. If you just want to buy and hold crypto assets, Kraken takes out all the complicated and unnecessary “trading” jargon, charts and info so that users can focus on the simple stuff.   
  • Competitive Fees: Kraken offers extremely low fees, based on a maker-taker model. Fees begin at 0.26% and are reduced as users trade higher volumes of cryptocurrency on the exchange. 
  • Great Platforms for Australians: By default Kraken lists crypto prices on its platform and app in US dollars, however Aussie users can easily switch to view assets in AUD.
  • Healthy Selection of Digital Assets: Perhaps one of the most frustrating experiences is getting completely set up on a new app or platform and then realizing that the random, super niche altcoin your mate mentioned to you isn’t actually available on this random app you’ve just installed. With a selection of over 120+ digital assets, Kraken has a very comprehensive coverage of major cryptocurrency assets.
  • 24/7 Customer Support via Live Chat: Great customer support may not be the first thing investors jump to when it comes to buying cryptocurrency, but it can be a deal breaker when digital assets get transferred to the wrong place and you get stuck with a “help-bot” that is anything but helpful. Kraken is one of the rare large exchanges that now offers a global Live Chat support feature where users can interact with a real human person, which if you find yourself needing assistance with monetary issues can be a life-saver.

Cons 

  • Lack of Crypto Assets: While other exchanges offer selections of over 300+ digital assets, Kraken only offers around 120 which is on the lower side for a major exchange. If you’re a user who is looking to buy mostly well-established crypto assets then this won’t be an issue. 
  • Not the Lowest Fees: Kraken offers very competitive fees, however exchanges like Binance and CoinSpot offer slightly lower fees. 

Kraken Fees Explained

Fees are ultimately how crypto exchanges and platforms make their money, so it’s really important for investors to understand how much they’re paying every time they make a trade. Fee structuring can be pretty tricky, as platforms often like to disguise hidden costs in the form of strange fees.

Kraken has some of the lowest fees in the cryptocurrency industry. 

Kraken Deposit & Withdrawal Fees

For the most part, depositing your fiat currency (Australian Dollars) onto Kaken won’t incur a fee, providing you use the healthy range of deposit methods at your disposal: Apple pay, Google pay, bank transfer, OSKO. 

However, if you choose to buy cryptocurrency directly using a credit or debit card, it will incur a 3.75% fee and you may also be charged an international conversion fee by your bank as Kraken uses USD and EUR natively.  

  • When withdrawing cryptocurrency Kraken will charge a fee that varies with the digital asset being withdrawn. You find the full list of withdrawal fees here
  • Withdrawing fiat currency on Kraken may also incur a fee, based on the currency and the method of withdrawal. You can find the full fee list here.

Kraken Transaction Fees

There are a couple of different transaction fees on Kraken, and they can get a be tricky if you’re not up to speed with what the different terminology for buying and selling is.

Instant Buy: If you’re a new crypto investor this is the feature you’ll probably go to initially as it takes all confusion out of purchasing cryptocurrency. When you buy or sell crypto directly on Kraken using the Instant buy/sell feature, there is a 1.5% fee per transaction. 

Spot Trades: 0.16% to 0.26% fee –  All spot trades will incur a 0.16% fee for makers and 0.26% for takers. As your 30-day trading volume increases, the amount you are charged in fees per trade, is reduced based on a tiered structure.

Margin Trading Fees: Margin fees are applied in addition to the trading fees at the opening and closing of market positions. The opening fees for most margins are 0.02% with a rollover fee of 0.02% per 4 hours. There are a few exceptions where the opening fee is 0.01% and rollover fee of 0.01% per 4 hours.

Futures Trading Fees: Futures fees are 0.02% for makers, and 0.05% for takers, with reduced fees applicable for high-volume traders.

Is Kraken Safe To Use?

No matter your experience level, the security and safety of the platform used to buy and sell digital assets is usually a top concern for crypto investors. Kraken is among the most secure and reliable cryptocurrency exchanges in the Australian market. 

Kraken is easily one of the most security-oriented cryptocurrency exchanges in the industry, and routinely goes above and beyond to make sure that investors’ funds are safe and all necessary regulations are followed.

Kraken stores 95% of its digital assets offline in air-gapped cold storage. Its servers reside in secure silos with 24/7 surveillance as well as armed security at all times. Kraken is further regulated by FinCEN (US-based financial crimes regulator) offering full reserves at all times as well as the highest standards of legal compliance. 

All Kraken login activity is further protected by 2FA (two-factor authentication) that requires investors to enter a code generated on their registered mobile device to sign in to the Kraken platform.

Kraken Alternatives

If Kraken doesn’t have the tokens you’re looking for, or the fees are slightly too high for your looking, the alternatives listed here are ranked in order of similarity and preference for using AUD.

  • CoinSpot: Australia’s largest cryptocurrency platform with more than 350 digital assets available.
  • Cointree: An Australian operated exchange and fully AUSTRAC-regulated. Offers similar features to Kraken but with a smaller selection of tokens and slightly higher fees.
  • Digital Surge: Another Australian exchange with more than 200 cryptocurrencies that operates natively in AUD. Has a quick verification process but higher fees than CoinSpot.
  • Binance: The largest crypto exchange in the world based on daily trading volume. Binance is oriented more strongly towards non-Australian users and is more suitable for advanced traders looking for niche pairs.
  • Coinbase: Possibly the most well-known exchange in the world. Investors can trade a variety of different cryptocurrencies but fees are high and all values are denominated in USD.
  • eToro: Offers commission-free crypto trades with the added bonus of social and copy trading.

Overall Kraken Conclusion

Kraken is a stand out choice for any Australian crypto investor looking for an intuitive user-experience, fantastic customer service and high security standards. Its beginner-friendly interface, selection of 120+ cryptocurrencies as well as 7 fiat currencies and additional features such as staking, margin trading make it a great option for investors of any skill level. 

Furthermore, Kraken stores 95% of all digital assets offline, air-gapped cold storage, in secure locations that are protected by armed security 24/7. It complies with the highest levels of financial regulation and is also registered with FinCEN, a US-based agency that actively prevents financial crimes such as scamming and money laundering.

Finally, Kraken’s low fees and healthy selection of digital assets make it an enticing choice for any investors. On Kraken, investors can purchase all of the major crypto assets, such as BTC, ETH, BNB, XRP, ADA, as well as a wide selection of altcoins.

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