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Kraken

Kraken Review
Trader's rating 1.4
Editor's rating 4

Account type

 

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Maker fee Taker fee
Standard Undisclosed 1:5 Max of 0.16% Max of 0.26%

 

Kraken is one of the most popular crypto currency exchanges. It is currently the world’s leader, in terms of Bitcoin to EUR trading volumes. 

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Payward, Inc, USA N/A

 

The Kraken exchange is operated by the San Francisco-based Payward Inc. The company is not under direct regulation by any agency, but this is not unusual in the crypto currency space (at least for now). 

 

The company’s overall reputation is pretty solid. It hasn’t experienced any major hacks yet. Furthermore, it was chosen as the platform, through which payments to creditors of ill-fated Mt.Gox received their claims. If you are not familiar with the case,  Mt.Gox was a huge Bitcoin exchange in Japan, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014, following a shady turn of events, which are another topic altogether. The company was then under special administration, which chose Kraken as a reliable partner, in order to facilitate payments to creditors.

 

Most of the coins on Kraken are kept in cold storage, with the exception of the ones currently used for trading, of course.

 

User reviews on Kraken are fairly mixed. Complaints vary from slow processing of deposits, lack of response by the customer support to stop-loss orders not triggering. While the latter is concerning the former two may be related to lack of staff, similarly to the issues which Poloniex currently has.

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

 

Kraken offers quite a few trading instruments. Although the exchange is most famous for its Bitcoin and Ethereum to cash (EUR and USD) markets, altcoins are also available. Here is a list of all the coins you can trade one way or another: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, EOS, Dash, Ripple, Monero, Iconomi, Zcash, Augur, Gnosis, Stellar Limens, Dogecoin, Melon. Kraken plans to add new coins in the future.

 

It is worth mentioning this is one of the rather few exchanges which provides trading Bitcoin against currencies like the CAD and GBP. Although majors in the forex market, these are not often provided at crypto-exchanges. That being said liquidity may be an issue.

 

Minimum initial deposit

 

No minimum deposit level is specified by Kraken. Although this is not unusual in the cryptoverese, forex brokers (some of which allow Bitcoin trading) specify this on their websites. As an example, the industry leaders at IG proudly claim they do not have a minimum deposit requirement.

 

Leverage

 

Leverage is only offered for some of the instruments at the Kraken Exchange. It varies from 1:2 to 1:5. These levels may seem low, if you are used to forex trading, where a lot of brokers offer 1:500 in leverage. That being said, even they provide lower levels for crypto currency trading. For instance, the FCA-regulated industry veterans at HYCM currently offer 1:10 for Bitcoin trading.

 

Kraken charges a fee for leveraged trading. It varies from 0.01% to 0.02%, based on the instrument and is applied every four hours. This is a hassle you will not have if you chose to trade Bitcoin with a forex broker. Do keep in mind there is a huge difference between the services provided by forex brokers and crypto-exchanges. For a full breakdown, read this article

 

Fees

 

Kraken charges different fees for market “makers” and “takers”. At the time of writing of this review, they are 0.16% for the makers and 0.26% for the takers (for the lowest volumes). 

 

For those of you who are unaware of what these terms mean, trading on an exchange is slightly different than, forex trading. If you want to buy a particular instrument, you can do this directly, by getting it from the lowest available ask price (offer). This is an “aggressive” entry, which takes away market liquidity and is connected to a bigger fee (the taker fee). On the other hand, you can place your own bid in the order book, which then has to be triggered by another trader, who would sell his asset to you. In this case, you are providing liquidity to the market and pay a lower fee (the maker fee).

 

Overall, the fees provided by Kraken are in line with offerings by other exchanges.

 

Trading platform

 

When it comes to the trading platform, Kraken provides their own solution for some of the functionality, while relying on TradingView for the charting, similarly to Bitfinex.

 

There is pretty detailed access to the short term market dynamics. The tape, includes a historical bid/ask chart, which can be useful. Here is a preview:

 

 

The depth of the market is also presented in an easy to understand manner. Here is a preview:

 

You can see the book on the right side, with a graphical depiction on the left. 

 

The charts, provided by TradigView are a good tool for technical analysts. They are available via a click of a button next to the instrument list. The chart pops-up as a small external window, which you can later move, resize and so on. You can create an entire layout (even on a separate monitor) of your PC can handle the hardware requirements of modern browsers. Here is a preview:

 

 

Kraken also offers a mobile app, which is currently only available on iOS. Hopefully an Android implementation will come soon.

 

 

Methods of payment

 

Fiat currency payments at Kraken are only done via Bank Transfer. There is a slight advantage, if you have a bank account within the European Economic Area, since the SEPA payment system is supported. Crypto currency deposits are also available, but instant real money options such as Credit Card, PayPal or Neteller are not.

 

Conclusion

 

Kraken is a US-based crypto currency exchange. That being the case, the company operates a lot with Europan customers, as it is the world’s leader in terms of Bitcoin to EUR trading volumes. Kraken is as reputable, as one can get in the cryptoverse, with no major hacks or scandals so far. The trading environment feels good, providing detailed tape-reading potential. Commissions are in-line with the current industry averages. Here are Kraken’s strong and weak sides:

 

Pros Cons
Reputable company, no hacks yet  Credit cards and Paypal not accepted
High Bitcoin to EUR liquidity  Mobile app available only for iOS
Solid charting, by TradingView  Recent negative user reviews
Commissions in line with the industry  
Bank Transfers available  

 

Binance

Binance Review
Trader's rating 1.8
Editor's rating 4

Trading Accounts

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fee
Standard Undisclosed Not available 0.10%

 

Binance is a crypto currency exchange, focused mainly on the Chinese market. Of course, you could still use it, if you are based elsewhere.

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Binance China N/A

 

Binance is a relatively new Chinese company, created by experienced professionals in the cryptocurrency space. The most recognizable name behind this project is that of Changpeng Zhao, former CTO at OKCoin.

 

Binance was created after attracting funds via an ICO (Initial Coin Offering – creating a new digital asset, backed by the project). The BNB tokens can now be traded on the exchange, or used as a method of paying your trading fees, which will reduce them by 50%. Additionally a small portion of the coin has to be paid to the company to cast your vote in the community poll, which determines which altcoin will be added to the exchange next.

 

That being said, whenever a new coin is added, Binance holds some kind of promotional distribution to existing clients. Usually it involves tracking the biggest holders of the new asset and rewarding them with extra coins. While these can not be taken as a guaranteed means of attaining more altcoins, they do raise attention towards the new tradign product.

 

Given its brief history, it is not surprising that Binance has not yet been hacked. That being said, the most obvious issue with this exchange is the fact it operates in China. Given the recent moves by the local authorities, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them register in a different country.

 

The English user reviews on Binance, while few, are fairly positive. Again, we must reiterate this is still a very new company, at the time of writing of this review.

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Binance offers a substantial number of coins, which are traded mostly against Bitcoin and Ethereum. On the other side the two major coins are also paird with USDT (US Dollar Tether a digital asset, backed by US dollars, which aims to keep a 1:1 price ratio). The list of coins available at Bitnancie includes, but is not limited to (especially since new ones are added frequently): BTC, ETH, LTC, BCC, OMG, IOTA, ICN, MCO, SALT, KNC, CTRm SNLS, FUN, BQX, XVG, ZRX and BQX.

 

Minimum initial deposit

Binance does not provide information on the minimum deposit amount. As we cover mostly forex brokers, we are used to companies stating this information openly. The need for a minimum deposit level is associated with the legal costs of opening an account, which may exceed the potential commissions you will make with a broker, if you are trading too small. That being said several companies don’t have a required minimum, like the FCA-regulated industry leaders at IG

 

Leverage

Margin trading is not available at Binance. For those of you who are not familiar with the trading world – this is a system which allows you to trade with more money than you actually have in your account. Your balance is then used as a guarantee to maintain your position open. As an example, forex brokers require very little in collateral, in order to maintain massive positions. The so called leverage ratios can go as high as 1:500 or more. For instance, XM offers 1:888 in leverage.

 

That being said the cryptocurrency space is a lot more volatile, hence the need for lower ratios. Exchanges and forex brokers alike, rarely offer more than 1:20 in leverage.

 

Fees

The fee structure at Binance is simple to understand, but more importantly very competitive in the current environment. There is a flat 0.10% fee on all trading. Other exchanges often separate clients based on their trading volume and the way they enter/exit a transaction (traders who provide liquidity to the exchange usually get some benefits).

On the other hand forex brokers incorporate the costs of trading in the spread. While comparing them is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, we have made a side-by-side review of both services here.

 

Trading platform

 

Binance’s trading platform is web-based. Furthermore it offers two distinct trading layouts, a more simple one and a “Pro” version. Visually it reminds us a lot of the platform provided by Bitstamp. Here is how the “standard platform” looks:

 

 

The order book is placed on the left and more interestingly is arranged vertically. While being a bit avant-garde, this is by no means unique. The tape is on the bottom right, with a news feed placed directly above it. Overall, the presentation seems enjoyable. The “Pro” version, on the other hand looks like this:

 

 

This reminds us a lot of Bitstamp’s platform. The positioning of the order book and tape is a bit more convenient, with them being grouped up. The charting package also seems a bit more sophisticated, but it’s not even close to the forex industry standard which we have grown accustomed to, MetaTrader4 (MT4)

 

Methods of payment

 

Binance is one of the exchanges which doesn't accepts fiat currency payments and focuses only on the digital side of things. Clients can deposit and withdraw the coins supported at the exchange.

 

Conclusion

 

Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange, created by a former key member of OKCoin. While the company mostly focuses on the Chinese market, everybody is welcome. That being said, they do not accept fiat money deposits. The amount of coins available for trading is relatively high and still growing, but there are other exchanges offering the more exotic ones. The major issue we have with Binance is that the project hasn’t been around long enough to actually prove itself. Here are the pros and cons of this exchange:

 

Pros  Cons
Founded by industry veterans New company
Some altcoins included  Based in China (may have issues with regulators)
More assets being added constantly Does not accept (fiat) money transfers
Competitive commissions  
Relatively nice trading platform  

 

Forex
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