Kraken is one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the market. This article is a Kraken review and the beginner’s guide. We’ll go through all the key features of Kraken starting from the registration. You’ll also find our Kraken experiences and useful tips.
Kraken review – an overview of the exchange
There is no doubt that Kraken is one of the best-known crypto exchanges. It is based in the United States and founded already in 2011. The founder of Kraken is a well-known Bitcoin enthusiast, Jesse Powell. He has been involved with Bitcoin for over ten years. The Kraken exchange opened its doors in 2013.
Kraken headquarters are in San Francisco. This city is also home to another well-known American exchange, Coinbase. Both Kraken and Coinbase have been popular choices for U.S. traders for years. Kraken is the smaller one of the two, but they also have 7+ million customers worldwide.
Kraken is registered as a Money Services Business (MSB) with FinCEN in the USA and FINTRAC in Canada. They are also regulated by the FCA in the United Kingdom. Kraken even has a license to operate in Australia and Japan.
The exchange has improved its infrastructure a lot in recent years. One can say with confidence, that Kraken is an exceptionally reliable operator in the market. It is trusted by individuals and institutions alike.
Let’s start this Kraken review and beginner’s guide by completing the registration process. This is a simple procedure, which can be started by clicking the link below.
Once you land on the front page, click the Create Account button in the top corner. Next, you’ll see a registration form.
Input an e-mail address, username, and password. Choose the country of residence and accept Kraken’s T & C. Once you’ve done all this, click the Create account button.
Next, you’re asked to input an activation code. This is sent to your inbox. If you don’t see one inside one minute, check the spam folder. Input the activation code and you are good to go!
Note: This guide describes the standard desktop version. If you are using a mobile device or mobile app, some functions might work differently.
KYC process of Kraken
Once your Kraken account is opened, it’s time to go through the KYC process. This is a standard procedure in every exchange if you want to deposit and withdraw from your bank account.
Click your own name from the top right corner (see the image below). A dropdown list opens. Choose the Get Verified option.
There are three different verification levels at Kraken: Starter, Intermediate, and Pro.
You can deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies on the Starter level. If you want to make bank transfers, you must upload your ID and complete the Intermediate level KYC.
Click the Verify button of the Intermediate level and follow the instructions. The KYC process shouldn’t take longer than five minutes.
Kraken deposit (bank transfer)
Once you have an Intermediate level account, it’s possible to make a fiat deposit from your bank account. Now this Kraken review gets interesting!
Click Funding from the main menu to see the balances of fiat and cryptocurrencies. The Account balances list should have EUR, USD, and few other fiat currencies visible by default. If not, use the Search function.
You can also click the star icon and make some currencies as favorites. This way you can filter only the currencies you need.
Next, click the Deposit link to proceed. After that, you are given choices of different deposit methods.
You can use Clear Junction, as an example. If your bank supports instant transfers, you’ll get the deposit without any delay. In the worst case, it’s a standard SEPA transfer taking. These are usually done in a couple of hours or, at the latest, on the next business day.
Once you have chosen a deposit method, you’ll get an IBAN account number and reference code. Input your unique reference code to the message field of your wire transfer.
Have you used some of these deposit methods? Write a comment below, so we can improve this Kraken review further!
Kraken Beginner’s Guide – How to Buy Bitcoin?
Kraken offers a couple of different ways to buy Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies). If you are a beginner, just click the Buy Crypto link from the main menu. You’ll see this simple form for purchasing cryptocurrency.
Just choose the cryptocurrency you wish to purchase, type in the amount in and Pay with your fiat balance. Note, that this option is more expensive than the more advanced ones. If you don’t mind paying extra fees and just want a simple solution, then this page is for you.
For more experienced users, click the spyglass you see on the left side of the black banner.
This should open a popup window, which lists all fiat and crypto pairs Kraken has to offer. Select the desired fiat currency and then search for the cryptocurrency you want to purchase.
In this example, we want to buy bitcoins with euro. Note, that Kraken is using the old XBT ticker for Bitcoin. This might be confusing for newbies. Once you have found the correct coin, click the Trade button.
Now you’ll see a more advanced form for purchasing crypto. This will also open when clicking Trade from the main menu.
We are now purchasing bitcoins with a Limit order. This means there is a fixed price being set. If the market moves and the asking price isn’t met, the order will stay open. To avoid this, you can choose the Market option. This way your order goes through with the current market price.
See the links titled Simple – Intermediate – Advanced. These will give you further options for the purchase.
You also find Orders, Positions, and Trades from this page if you want to view open and closed positions.
Kraken Beginner’s Guide – How to Sell Bitcoin?
Selling cryptocurrency is as easy as buying. First, you have the “newbie option”. Click Buy Crypto from the main menu. The following form opens with Buy, Sell, and Convert options. Choose Sell.
Choose the desired cryptocurrency and type in the amount you want to sell. Next, choose the fiat currency you want to convert into (USD, EUR, GBP, etc.).
There is a difference between selling and converting. When using the Sell option, you can only sell your coins to a fiat currency. The Convert option allows you to sell for example Litecoins for Bitcoins or Bitcoins to USDT stablecoins. You’ll have all the currency pairs available, not just fiat & crypto.
More advanced users can search the desired currency pair and click Trade, just like you did when buying.
This time, click Sell and the buttons turn red. You can sell using the Limit option (fixed price) or just dump your coins to the market with the current market price.
Kraken review – the Pro Trader option
There is also a third way to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Many traders want to have a classic exchange view with price feeds and order book depth etc. Kraken has also this option. It’s called Kraken Pro.
You’ll find the link in the top right corner of the black banner (see the image below).
Click this icon and a new window opens with the Kraken Pro terminal in it. This has pretty much the same options you also have in the Trade form, which we went through earlier.
Kraken Pro is the view most active traders want to use. It has everything you want for buying and selling, including leverage and different limit trading options. It’d be more than enough for the most advanced users.
Kraken deposits and withdrawals (cryptocurrency)
Kraken naturally supports deposits and withdrawals of cryptocurrencies too. There are over 50 different cryptocurrencies you can buy, deposit, and withdraw at Kraken.
If you wish to make a deposit, click Funding from the main menu. Search the desired coin and click Deposit. The following view opens.
The deposit page shows you the terms and possible fees for the deposit. The most popular coins are free to deposit, but Kraken takes a small fee when depositing more unknown coins. You’ll also see the minimum deposit amount and required blockchain confirmations.
Click the GENERATE NEW ADDRESS button to generate a deposit address. Once you have done this, go to your external wallet and make a transaction to the given address. Always use copy-paste with crypto addresses – never try to input them letter-by-letter.
Withdrawals are also easy to perform at Kraken. Go to the Funding page again, search the coin you wish to withdraw, and select Withdraw. This is how the withdrawal page looks like.
When withdrawing a coin for the first time, Kraken requires you to create & save an address. Click the +Add address button. Type in the title and the address and save it. Next, you’ll get an e-mail with a confirmation link in it.
Once your new address is confirmed, go back to the Funding page, and proceed with the withdrawal. Kraken handles withdrawals quickly.
Kraken review – the fees
Kraken is a professional-grade exchange. This also means that fees are low enough for pro traders. The starting fees on Kraken Pro are 0.16% (Maker) and 0.26% (Taker). On high volumes, these fees will drop all the way to 0.00% (Maker) and 0.10% (Taker).
When talking about pro exchanges like this, fees are usually in the ballpark of 0.1% to 0.2%. We can safely say in this Kraken review, that this exchange has competitive fees.
As mentioned earlier, there are no fees when depositing most popular cryptocurrencies. There might be a small fee collected if you deposit one of the smaller coins. Any possible fees are listed on the deposit page of each coin.
Withdrawals always include a fee. This is the case with every single wallet and exchange. Fees are paid to blockchain miners/validators to process your transaction. Fees vary depending on the cryptocurrency.
Deposits made on fiat currencies are free in most cases. Withdrawals cost about one dollar.
Kraken is best-known for its safety. It is trusted by high-volume traders all over the world. There is a good reason for Kraken’s reputation – the exchange offers you multiple levels of security. Click your name on the main menu and select Security.
Security Overview gives you the opportunity to view active sessions and past logins. Check the list so it doesn’t have any suspicious attempts. You can also change the password from this page.
The 2FA Settings is especially important page. Kraken also requires you to use 2FA when signing in.
You can use the popular Google Authenticator App or a Yubikey app. If you want more security, use 2FA to also confirm transactions and trades!
There is also a security option called Global Security Lock. This means you can freeze all your account options for a period. Should anyone gain access to your account, they couldn’t add a new withdrawal address and empty it.
Staking has become exceedingly popular in 2020 and 2021. It is a way to earn passive income for your cryptocurrency. Rates start from a couple of percent and go all the way to 20% or even higher (APY). Staking is like those high-interest bank accounts we used to have a couple of decades ago.
If you are a tech geek and want to install your private wallets, there is no need to stake via Kraken. The exchange staking fits people who want to store their crypto in an exchange. If you do that, why not put your coins to work?
Click Staking from the main menu.
It is possible to stake eight different cryptocurrencies and two fiat currencies (USD & EUR). The interest paid depends on the coin and it might change over time. Usually, we are talking about 5 to 15% APY.
Get familiar with terms & conditions before staking. The idea is to lock your coins for a certain period. There might be some limitations regarding how fast you can get your coins back if you need them again for trading.
Kraken review – final thoughts
We have nothing but positive Kraken experiences. It is a safe and reliable exchange, which offers high liquidity with low costs. The security options are great, while deposits and withdrawals are always handled fast.
If you want to find something negative to say, it’d be the interface. Kraken looks a bit outdated on the desktop version and it is not the most easy-to-use exchange. This is all subjective, though! You’d definitely check the mobile version too, which is available on iOS and Android.