The whole cryptocurrency market is worth over 2 trillion USD and it’s constantly growing, changing, and evolving, with new crypto projects appearing on a daily basis. This is a drastically different situation compared to the early days of cryptocurrency back in 2009 and 2010, when there was only Bitcoin (BTC) and the market wasn’t even a fraction of its current size.
In those days, there weren’t any cryptocurrency exchange platforms around. You had to “manually” find someone on the internet who is willing to buy BTC from you or sell you their coins. Various social media groups or crypto forums were virtual locations where people looked for interested parties that wanted to do a crypto-related business deal. Naturally, this was quite complicated and risky, because you never knew who you’re dealing with and if the other side will really fulfill their end of the deal or try to cheat you.
Luckily, in 2010, the first cryptocurrency exchange platform was launched as a means for drastically simplifying the whole process of buying, selling, and exchanging cryptos with the help of a trustworthy intermediary.
Kraken.com is among the oldest crypto exchanges that provide all-around services. This guide will show you all the advantages of this exchange platform, but also provide you with a guide on how to transfer your assets out of a Kraken account.
History of the Kraken Crypto Exchange
Cryptocurrency exchange platforms are generally divided into two main types. There are decentralized exchanges like PancakeSwap, Uniswap, and Sushiswap, and there are centralized platforms such as Binance, Gemini, Coinbase, and Kraken.
The Kraken crypto exchange is one of the largest and most popular exchange platforms on the market. It was launched back in 2013 in San Francisco, which makes it a veteran exchange platform in the crypto world. The founder of Kraken, Jesse Powell, was inspired to launch his exchange platform after the famous cyberattack and crash of the New York-based Mt. Gox exchange when millions of USD worth of user funds were compromised and stolen. Witnessing this huge breach of cyber security inspired Powell to launch Kraken as a platform that puts the security and the safety of its users as a top business priority.
Kraken provides services to 6 million people worldwide and probably the most attractive thing about the platform is the fact that it boasts a very broad portfolio of services that can satisfy even the most demanding crypto traders. Apart from the basic Kraken trading platform, the company has a platform suitable for more advanced users and portfolio management such as Kraken Pro and Cryptowatch. For Android and iOS mobile devices, the platform provides the basic Kraken App, Kraken Pro, and Kraken Futures, which are intended for large-scale investors.
An important characteristic of Kraken is that it operates in full compliance with all legal regulations in the countries where it provides its services, which means that you don’t have to worry whether your crypto investment and trading business is legal or not. If Kraken is available in your country, then it complies with your local laws. The operational regions of Kraken include the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, and the UK.
The Kraken Fee System
One of the most important aspects when deciding whether a crypto exchange is suitable for you is its fee system. Exchange platforms generate revenue mainly from the transaction fees they charge users when conducting purchases, sales, and exchanges. Kraken is no different in this aspect and like many popular exchanges, it uses a maker and taker fee model.
Maker and Taker Fee Model
This fee model is relatively simple. If you’re a market maker, who puts in the purchase or sell orders for a certain cryptocurrency at a price that’s different from the current market price, you’re influencing the market price by creating demand for certain crypto at a specific cost. This way, you’re providing liquidity for the crypto exchange platform. Platforms that use a maker and taker fee model appreciate the role of market makers and they provide lower fees for them.
Market takers, on the other hand. are individuals that just buy or sell a cryptocurrency at the current market price, providing no liquidity for the exchange. Takers are charged standard fees that are higher than those charged to market makers.
Kraken doesn’t charge users for putting in a purchase or sell order. You’re only charged once a transaction is initiated. Large-scale market makers with a monthly trading volume of more than 5 million US dollars are charged the lowest possible fee of 0.02%. The highest fees market takers can incur are 0.26% if they have a monthly trading volume lower than 50,000 US dollars. This fee model makes Kraken fees quite low, especially if you take into account the high quality of the platform’s services and the security it offers, not to mention how low these fees are compared to wire transfers and bank account transfers.
Be careful though – if you use the Instant Buy option to buy cryptos, you will be charged 1.5% per transfer, with an additional 3.75% fee if you’re buying with a debit card or credit card.
Customer support is very important for crypto exchanges since they are dealing with financial assets. Users often have questions about different aspects of platform services and Kraken support is always available for answering those questions as soon as possible.
Users can either talk with the 24/7 available chat bot or they can contact the Kraken support team with a detailed email in case the chat bot can’t help them. Support team members are very responsive and you don’t have to wait a long time for your email to get answered.
Also, you can browse the support center of the Kraken website, where you’ll find a bunch of useful articles that can help you solve the most common user issues.
The choice of supported crypto coins and tokens is a key factor when deciding whether to open an account on a certain crypto exchange. Kraken enables users to buy, sell, and exchange 56 cryptocurrencies which is quite a large number compared to other platforms that offer just a couple of the most popular digital currencies.
Available cryptocurrencies include BTC, Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Cardano (ADA), Dogecoin (DOGE), Monero (XMR), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Zcash (ZEC), Tron (TRX), Tether (USDT), Tezos (XTZ), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Solana (SOL), Ethereum Classic (ETC), USD Coin (USDC), Dai (DAI), Eos (EOS) and other altcoins.
Apart from being one of the richest selections of cryptocurrencies among exchange platforms, Kraken also supports 7 fiat currencies: USD, AUD, CAD, JPY, CHF, GBP, and EUR.
Compared to exchanges that only deal with a limited selection of cryptos, Kraken literally offers all of the top digital assets and the platform is always looking to include new currencies with high market demand.
Just like fiat money and banks are targets for bank robbers, cryptocurrencies and exchange platforms are attractive for hackers and cyber criminals. Cryptocurrency exchange platforms, especially the more popular ones, deal with huge amounts of assets that are worth a lot of money. These exchanges owe their users all of the liquidity and trading volumes on their platforms and this is why user security is an issue of key importance. While many exchanges have solid security measures, Kraken stands out as the most secure exchange platform on the market.
Cer.live, which actively reviews the security measures of the most popular cryptocurrency exchange platforms, puts Kraken in the first place regarding security, out of the top 100 exchanges. Kraken is famous among crypto users for never being hacked since it was launched.
Most of the assets traded on Kraken aren’t stored online. Just 5% of all funds are stored on the platform, while 95% is stored in Kraken’s cold storage devices, safely, offline. Kraken server computers are physically secured and under 24-hour video surveillance so it isn’t possible to even physically breach Kraken security. That 5% of assets that are kept online are insured in case of any security breach, but such a breach is very unlikely.
As far as user account security, all your personal information and data is stored safely on Kraken servers and it’s never used for any other purpose except user verification. You can set up 2FA (two-factor authentication) when logging into your Kraken account, and your account is also protected by advanced SSL encryption. Also, when withdrawing funds, you need to verify each withdrawal request through a confirmation email, just to make sure it’s really you and not someone who has somehow obtained your login credentials.
Kraken has four types of user accounts available and they all come with different trading features. They are the Starter, Intermediate, Express, and Pro Kraken accounts.
A Starter account has all the basic Kraken exchange services and it’s great for crypto beginners. It’s also a good choice for experienced users that don’t need some more advanced trading functions. An Intermediate account is meant for the more experienced traders that would like to have some additional trading insights and analysis available, while the Pro account provides professional-grade trading services.
The Express account is made specifically for users that want to conduct some fast crypto deals, without too much hassle, but they have a lifetime cash deposit limit of 9,000 USD, compared to other account types which don’t have such a limit.
The Kraken Pro account is mostly used by crypto brokers that deal with digital currencies professionally, on a daily basis, investing, selling, and exchanging high volumes of assets. One of the main reasons why pro brokers use this account type is the fact that it has the highest withdrawal limits, which is a characteristic that institutional investors look for.
Because Kraken complies with all legal regulations in operational regions, it has a thorough account verification process for users. Kraken uses the KYC (know your customer) protocol for all types of users. This means that users need to provide a photo of their government-issued ID, passport, or driver’s license and information about their personal address and other details. The verification process usually takes just a few minutes, but the Kraken Pro verification can sometimes take longer and it requires extensive professional documentation.
All of this information is stored securely by Kraken and it isn’t shared with third parties except with authorities if there’s any suspicion of illegal activities involving your account.
Staking of Assets
Apart from buying, selling, and exchanging cryptocurrencies, Kraken also allows users to stake their assets and earn interest by doing so. You can stake various types of cryptos and even fiat currency.
You don’t have to manually search the web for reliable staking pools, because Kraken is already connected with staking options that provide high annual interest rates. Also, don’t worry about security, because the staking pools are verified by the Kraken platform as safe for investors. As much as 12% of the yearly interest can be earned by staking selected assets on Kraken.
The Kraken Terminal Platform
The basic Kraken online trading platform with all the key trading features is called the Kraken Terminal. Even if you only use this basic platform, you’ll literally have everything you need to invest in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available on Kraken – selling assets as you wish or exchanging them freely.
The Kraken Terminal has a detailed trading chart screen that shows price fluctuations and market conditions, depending on the selected asset. The depth chart accurately depicts market sentiment for the viewed asset and you also have a useful option in the menu bar to view the market history of an asset. This means that you can quickly see the recent and past price changes, along with chart patterns that can help you understand market sentiments.
When trading cryptos, brokers usually want to monitor the market status of numerous assets and trading pairs. That’s why the Kraken Terminal enables users to easily switch between monitored markets in the toolbar and you can even create a watchlist where all of your monitored assets are listed and available for viewing in just a click.
If you’re a beginner, the Terminal interface might seem complicated, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it because all the necessary tools and options are right there on a single screen. It’s good to take your time if you’re new to Kraken and explore the terminal interface. Once you get the hang of it, the Kraken trading terminal becomes very easy to use.
The Kraken Cryptowatch Platform
At a glance, the Kraken Cryptowatch platform looks pretty much the same as the trading terminal, but it’s actually much more complex and offers a lot of advanced features that are mostly geared towards professional crypto brokers.
Cryptowatch is free to use, but it also contains a bunch of paid, premium options that can be unlocked using Cryptowatch credits. You can buy these credits with fiat currency or you can earn them through active trading as platform rewards that can be spent to unlock premium options.
Among various premium options, one of the most popular ones is the text message and email alert when a sudden price change for a certain asset happens or when episodes of high market volatility occur. It’s a very useful option for large-scale brokers that are used to making money from crypto arbitrage trades where they need to react quickly in order to profit from a sudden price change.
The Cryptofinance.ai plugin is another great premium option on the platforms. It gathers data from various crypto markets in which you’ve invested and pools the info together on a regular basis in Excel sheets.
When it comes to the free features, Cryptowatch takes things to a next level compared to the Kraken Terminal. The charts have far more details and provide professional-grade market insights that can help traders make the right decisions.
Cryptowatch users have real-time crypto market data streams available from 4,000 markets and 25 of the largest crypto exchange platforms. You can also purchase, sell, and exchange assets on various other exchange platforms while using the Cryptowatch platform to manage your whole portfolio, without leaving the platform.
Kraken Mobile Features
The Kraken platform also has Android and iOS compatible mobile apps that are easy to use and provide users with all of the trading and investment features they can access through the web platform. Given the fact that crypto traders want to have a quick and convenient method for accessing and managing their assets with mobile devices, offering them a high-quality mobile app is a must for all popular exchanges.
Kraken has three types of apps for its users.
The basic Kraken App has a user-friendly interface and it’s a good choice for crypto beginners who are new to trading digital currencies. All the options you need to buy, sell, or exchange currencies are right there in front of you and you also have portfolio tracking options.
The Kraken web platform doesn’t support credit card and debit card payments, while the Kraken app does support these payment methods, which makes things a lot faster compared to a bank transfer payment. In case you want to withdraw funds, you can easily initiate a withdrawal either to your crypto wallet or cash out to your bank account.
Kraken Pro App
The Kraken Pro app is the more advanced version of the basic app, with all of the professional-grade features of the Cryptowatch platform. Users get access to advanced market charts with candlestick signs just like professional brokers use to understand the market.
Kraken Pro users have the option of five times leverage for margin trading and they also have the opportunity to read detailed market analyses for the assets they are trading.
As far as funding your app account, you can’t do it directly through the app. The only way to fund your Kraken Pro account is through the web platform, but this isn’t much of a hassle since it can be done in just a few minutes.
Kraken Futures App
Kraken Futures is the most advanced Kraken mobile trading app and it’s mainly used by large-scale investors and traders that deal with huge daily trading volumes. When trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, and some other popular assets, you have the option of 50 times leverage.
All of the advanced options from Kraken Pro are at your disposal and you also have the opportunity to set automated entry limits. A huge advantage of the Futures app is its educational section with loads of useful content about trading strategies and tactics, which is very useful even for experienced traders.
Guide to Withdrawing Assets From Kraken
One of the most frequent daily operations for active crypto traders is withdrawing assets from a crypto exchange. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to withdraw digital currencies from your Kraken account.
How to Add a Withdrawal Address
- Go to the Funding menu in your Kraken account.
- Choose Withdraw and find the digital currency you wish to send to your crypto wallet.
- Enter the destination address to which you want to withdraw your funds. Double check the address in order to be sure you’ve entered it right. You won’t be able to recover your assets if you send them to a wrong address, so the safest way is to just copy the address.
- Confirm the withdrawal address by clicking on the Add Address button.
- Give the address a simple name tag for future use, such as My Bitcoin Stash.
- Before you can use the new withdrawal address, you need to verify it through a confirmation email by clicking on the received link.
How to Withdraw Assets
- Now that you’ve added a withdrawal address to your Kraken account, you can go to the Funding section and choose the cryptocurrency you wish to transfer from the platform.
- Go to your address menu and select the desired withdrawal address for the transaction.
- Enter the amount of the selected cryptocurrency that you wish to withdraw.
- Check your withdrawal address once more just to be sure everything is in order and choose Withdraw to start the transaction through the blockchain.
- The withdrawal is initiated and you’ll see a confirmation window with your withdrawal details.
A Few Ending Words…
If you’re looking for a crypto exchange platform that provides the best security features on the market along with a wide range of trading services for both beginners and experienced traders, then Kraken is a great choice for you. Many exchange platforms offer a nice variety of services but don’t really excel at security measures. With Kraken, no matter how many assets you’re trading, you don’t have to worry about them getting compromised by a cyber attack or security failure.