Kraken Review 2021: What Beginners Should Read Before Buying Bitcoin

GOBankingRates Score

Our Take: Kraken boasts a dedication to security, detailed app and browser experience and top-notch listing of available cryptocurrencies. For users looking for a secure, app-based crypto trading and converting experience, checking out Kraken is a smart move. Use the iOS or Android app to make trades on the go.
  • Multi-Layer Security
  • Availibility of Cryptocurrencies
  • Longevity in the Market
  • Options for Advanced Trading
How did we calculate this?


  • Wide range of available cryptocurrencies
  • High focus on security
  • One of the oldest exchanges around


  • No personal digital wallet; funds go to a corporate wallet
  • Less direction for beginners due to a focus on experienced traders

What Is Kraken?

Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange platform based in the United States that allows users to buy, sell, trade and convert cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies directly from its app or in their browser. It hosts one of the widest varieties of cryptocurrencies for US traders, supporting trades in up to 59 various currencies.

Developed in 2011, Kraken has been around since the early days of Bitcoin. Its maturity and tenure in the crypto market lend it a level of confidence that newer exchanges lack.

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Kraken Features

Users appreciate a variety of features that protect their accounts while offering great options for trading.

What Kraken Offers

  • Security-focused with no known breaches
  • Crypto trading pairs facilitate converting one cryptocurrency to another
  • Easy access to support, which is available around the world 24/7
  • Multiple funding options including wire transfer, cryptocurrency, SWIFT and more

Kraken Services

Here’s an overview of the services that the Kraken platform provides.

Basic Trading

Basic trading services built into the Kraken platform allow for buying, selling and converting cryptocurrencies via the app. Deposits and withdrawals are simple to make in the same dashboard.

Trading digital assets is a streamlined process, taking just a few taps or clicks to finalize a sale.

OTC Portal

For those looking for larger trades, the OTC Desk makes it possible. Kraken’s over-the-counter portal facilitates block trading. Get one-on-one service and insights from the pros for completing trades.

Personalized Account Management

Kraken offers the traditional suite of services for buying, selling and trading cryptocurrency. But it elevates the entire process through personalized attention.

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Users looking for a little something extra can take advantage of Kraken’s Account Management Service. Similar to working with an investment advisor, users can harness this personalized support to level up in the crypto trading world.

Users in the account management service program have a personal rep assigned to their account. When they need answers to trading and platform questions, users can reach their reps by email, phone, prioritized help desk tickets or even by simply texting.

Associated Fees

Kraken’s fees are “as low as 0%.” These fees are volume-based, though relatively low. Take a look at this table below to see the different types of fees.

Type Amount
Stablecoins 0.09%
Crypto or other FX pair 1.5% fee
Payment card processing fee 3.75% + the Kraken fee
Online banking processing fee 0.5% + Kraken fee

For Kraken’s Instant Buy, users looking to buy Stablecoin can expect a fee of 0.9% if you purchase with U.S. dollars or with Stablecoin. If you buy Stablecoin with another type of crypto, such as Bitcoin, the fee can go up to 1.5%. Those looking to buy Stablecoin and FX pairs can expect fees of between 0.04% and 0.2%.

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What Kraken Does Best

Plenty of Options

Kraken offers something for everyone. The group that may benefit the most from Kraken’s hands-on offerings are the “advanced traders” — players looking to level up in the crypto trading game.

Traders looking for simple options to trade crypto for crypto will benefit from Kraken’s converting pair options. Kraken provides an expansive array of cryptocurrencies, with 59 currently available in the U.S.

Multi-Layered Security

Kraken’s biggest claim to fame is the security of its platform — touting ten years in business without a single hacking event. Users who are concerned about hacking can feel confident with Kraken thanks to its multi-layered approach applied to security.

Physical Measures

Physical security at Kraken includes both high-tech electronics and the right kind of people to protect them. No less than 95% of Kraken’s coin storage is kept in multiple geographic locations.

This cold storage is offline and air-gapped, meaning access via the internet is impossible. Servers are locked inside cages, surveilled around the clock and guarded by armed security staff.

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Cybersecurity backs up physical security with advanced encryption at each level of the platform. Kraken conducts penetration testing in addition to programming bug bounties to spot vulnerabilities before hackers do.

Security in Your Hands

Security protocols that users control are also an essential part of how Kraken stays on top of threats. That’s why all accounts use two-factor authentication without phone-based account recovery. All communication and browsing are encrypted. Users can customize lockout options for timing out with Kraken open or even when they are away from their devices.

A responsive security help desk is available 24/7 via chat or email. Combined with its monitoring for aberrant activity on users’ accounts, this means that Kraken responds to problems quickly.

What Kraken Could Do Better

There is little hand-holding for beginners learning how to invest in crypto as Kraken caters to more experienced traders. Many of the tools built into Kraken are for advanced trading, such as the complete trading interface with market chart, order submission, balances panel and more — all in one spot.

Kraken freely admits that there is a lot going on in its user interface, offering a handy “Trading Interface Guide” for those new to the platform.

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Kraken vs. Binance.US

Experience gives Kraken a narrow edge in comparison to its competitors. However, given enough time, they could give Kraken a run for its money.

Competitor Best For
Kraken Founded in 2011, Kraken’s longevity is a stand out in the field of newer competitors
Binance.US Only 0.1% to 0.5% fees
Coinbase Pro Beginners appreciate basic tools during use

This Is Who Should Use Kraken

Users in need of a crypto trading platform where they can directly convert crypto-to-crypto will enjoy the setup of Kraken’s website and platform. With reasonable fees and a suite of tools that put users in charge of their trading experience, Kraken offers a streamlined, secure platform.

With its concentration on security and long history, Kraken stands apart as a trustworthy crypto exchange.

Editor’s Favorite

Users who are rather concerned with the security risks in crypto trading will appreciate Kraken’s dedication to physical, cyber and personal security. Those traders who have experienced security threats or hacks on other platforms will feel confident with their newfound security when exchanging crypto on Kraken.

Kraken FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Kraken.
  • Is Kraken a good cryptocurrency exchange?
    • Yes. Kraken is a high-quality cryptocurrency exchange. It has been around since 2011, has no known security breaches and offers one of the widest varieties of cryptocurrencies compared to other US exchanges.
  • What cryptocurrencies can be traded on Kraken?
  • Is Kraken an exchange or wallet?
    • Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange platform. It does not act as a digital cryptocurrency wallet.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the Author

Emily Cahill is a writer with over three years of experience creating digital content. Previous to that, she worked as a freelancer in publishing while attending Trinity College for English/Rhetoric. She specializes in SEO-driven content that highlights the unique properties of a product or service while making them digitally “findable,” particularly for the finance, geek culture, and lifestyle niches.

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