Although we are mentioning this late in the list, Kraken is among the oldest cryptocurrency exchange platforms that is still working to this day.
Kraken has a reputation of being a safe option for traders and institutions dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and so on. Kraken is popular among users around the world and allows you to trade cryptocurrencies in a large number of fiat currencies. It has one of the largest trading volumes when it comes to Bitcoin to Euro.
Kraken has Accolades Aplenty
Since it has been around for a long time, it has achieved significant feats. In 2014, it became the number one exchange in terms of Euro trading volume. It also played a leading role in the building of a proof of reserves audit system for cryptocurrency. It was the first verifiable audit system ever built. Due to its brilliant work and reputation, it got listed on the Bloomberg terminal in 2014.
In case you are wondering, Kraken supports the following fiat currencies:
- euros (EUR)
- US dollars (USD)
- Canadian dollars (CAD)
- British pounds (GBP)
- Japanese yen (JPY)
Although, for crypto gaming, the most important currency is Ether (ETH), there are 18 different cryptocurrencies that Kraken supports:
- Bitcoin (XBT)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Dash (DASH)
- EOS (EOS)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Gnosis (GNO)
- Iconomi (ICN)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Melon (MLN)
- Augur (REP)
- Tether (USDT)
- Dogecoin (XDG)
- Stellar Lumens (XLM)
- Monero (XMR)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Zcash (ZEC)
By allowing transactions in such large number of currencies, Kraken has built an edge over the others. Kraken is available in countries around the world.
But you cannot access it in local languages. There are only two languages it is available in – English and Japanese. When Mt. Gox exchange was hit by a catastrophic security breach, its creditors turned to Kraken to get their claims. They applied for bankruptcy protection and saw Kraken as a reliable platform to get their funds. There is also a trade platform known as Dark Pool, built by Kraken. Don’t worry, it is not something like the Illuminati. It is just a platform for high profile traders and financial institutions to trade anonymously.
There is a detailed guide to trading fee structure. The fee structure is a bit complicated, but if you are dealing in under 50,000 of your currency, the maker fee is 0.16 percent and the taker fee is 0.26 percent.
If the trading volume is more than 50,000, the fees lowers down to 0.14 percent and 0.24 percent. The more the volume, the lower the fees. For trade volume above 10 million, the maker fees is 0 percent and the taker fees is 0.10 percent. These trading volumes are calculation over the period of 30 days.
Like many other services, the trading limits depend on the verification level you have cleared. There are five tiers at which verification is done and trading limit is set:
Tier 0 – In Tier 0, you need to give your email address and this allows you to browse the website. However, you cannot make any purchases, trade, deposit or withdraw funds at this tier.
Tier 1 – In Tier 1, you need to give your email address, full name, date of birth, country and phone number. You can trade currency in both digital and fiat (USD, Euro etc.). But you can only deposit and withdraw in digital currency. There is no upper limit on deposit, but withdrawals are capped at 2,500 USD per day and 20,000 USD per month.
Tier 2 – To access this tier, you need to give your physical address on Kraken website. Trading, deposits and withdrawals are done in digital currency. But depending on your country, you can also use fiat currency for deposits and withdrawals. In some regions, bank deposits and withdrawals are also accessible. Limits for deposits and withdrawals in fiat currency are 2000 USD per day and 10,000 USD per month. Withdrawal of Ether (and other cryptocurrency) is limited at 5,000 USD per day and 50,000 USD per month.
Tier 3 – You need to give two documents at this tier: proof of identity and proof of address. You get full access to fiat funding in this tier and the trading limits are a lot higher than in the previous tier. Fiat deposits and withdrawals limits are 25,000 USD per day and 200,000 USD per month. Limits on withdrawals in digital currencies are 50,000 USD per day and 200,000 USD per month.
Tier 4 – You need to fill an application form, sign it and submit KYC documents at this tier. It has, obviously, even higher funding and trading limits. This tier is only available to “high-volume” individual (if you are going to buy large volumes) or corporate traders. To know more about Tier 4 funding limits, it is best to contact Kraken’s support team.
Verification time depends on which tier you are applying for. Tier 1 and 2 verification is automated and takes 1 to 60 minutes. Tier 3 and 4 verification takes anywhere from 1 to 5 days. The time is longer because verification at tier 3 and 4 is done manually. For more details on verification times, visit Kraken’s website page on verification.
The good thing is that there are multiple withdrawal and funding methods available on Kraken.
The fees at present are as following:
- EUR SEPA: No fees on deposit and €0.09 on withdrawal. This applies to European countries only
- For USD Bank Wire Deposit and withdrawal, the fees is 5 USD. This applies to only U.S.
- For EUR Bank Wire Deposit the fees is €10. This applies to outside US only
- For USD Bank Wire Deposit, the fees is 10 USD) and for Withdrawal, the fees is 60 USD. This applies to outside US only
- For JPY Bank deposit, there is no fees but a minimum amount of ¥5,000 is required. For withdrawal, the fees is ¥20. This applies to Japan only
- For CAD Wire Deposit, there is no fees. For EFT Withdrawal, the fees is 10 CAD, but you can withdraw a maximum of 25,000 CAD daily
You can have low fees, good customer support and all the props in an exchange platform, but if you cannot keep your website up, everything goes to waste. Kraken has been growing over the years and like other exchange platforms, it has had some struggle to keep up with the increasing number of customers. There have been many times of outage when the website stopped working and users had to wait a number of hours before it got up and running again.
New Trade Engine
Kraken acknowledged this problem and worked on it. It came up with an action plan – going offline and installing a new trade engine to solve this lingering problem.
Although this install was supposed to take a couple hours, it actually took two days and instilled fear and paranoia in the minds of its users. Some even started making speculations that the company was shutting down or seeking an exit strategy in the name of installing the trade engine.
But Kraken was not oblivious to this fear among its users, so they kept in touch with them on social media. The service was up and running again after two days. There were some initial roadblocks even then, but after sometime the service improved a lot over how it was performing earlier.
The good part is that Kraken built trust with its community even in this time of crisis. When the new trade engine started working, they announced free trading for the rest of the month (January, 2018) while apologizing for their mistakes. It has been almost five months since the new trade engine was installed and the service has been working fine.