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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  

 

CoinSpot

CoinSpot Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts

Account type Daily Limit Leverage Bitcoin Fee Altcoin fee
Standard $2,000/$10,000 None 2%  3% 

 

CoinSpot is one of the leading Australian cryptocurrency "gateway" companies i.e. a service which allows the purchase of crypto with fiat money. They put a lot of emphasis on domestic clients.

 

The company, security of funds

Company

Country Regulation
Casey Block Services Pty Ltd  Australia N/A

 

CoinSpot was founded in Melbourne in 2013. At the time of writing of this review they are not registered with a relevant Australian body, simply because the legislative process in the country is still in progress. You can read a brief summary of the current situation, as well as find reviews on the other major players in the space in the link below. 

 

>>Australian cryptocurrency exchanges<<

 

That being said, CoinSpot is a member of ADCA - the Australian Digital Commerce Association. This may not be a regulatory body, but it shows a long term commitment to the adoption of blockchain technology and it is viewed as a major player by its peers.

 

The company offers traders multiple wallet support, which is not the case with one of their direct counterparts CointTree. On top of that there is a mobile app which allows you to send crypto-payments on the go.

 

There aren't any reports of a massive hack, like the one experienced at Bitfinex, for CoinSpot. This is no guarantee of future security, but is still a nice sign.

 

The user reviews for CoinSpot are very mixed. Some people enjoy their service, while others are dissatisfied with the verification process, the speed of bank transfers (when selling coins) and the fees. Their service is definitely not cheaper than trading coins on some of the other exchanges, but at least they are very transparent when it comes to fees.

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Over 30 coins are provided by CoinSpot. This is a very wide array, especially for a company which specializes in accepting fiat currencies. As a comparison, Coinbase offers only Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. 

 

Maximum daily volume

The initial maximum daily purchase volume at CoinSpot is $2,000. This can be increased to $10,000 a week after you have hit the first cap. While the company does not exclusively mention it, these levels are probably in Australian dollars.

 

Leverage

Leveraged trading is not supported at CoinSpot, which is quite understandable, given their targeted customers. This is simply a place from which one buys cryptocurrencies with Australian dollars. 

 

>>Forex brokers providing Bitcoin trading<<

 

It is worth mentioning, that if you are only looking to speculatively trade Bitcoin, instead of use it four transfers, another type of service may be better for you. We are talking about forever brokers, who offer cryptocurrency trading, like the industry leaders at IG. We must mention there are a few specifics to this kind of service and you should read our guide.

 

 

Fees

The fee structure at CoinSpot Is very clear, which is not the case with all companies who offer direct purchases of coins with fiat currencies. For instance the similar Dutch company Bitonic provides little information about its markups, which many users dislike.

 

CoinSpot charges between 2% (for Bitcoin) and 3% (for altcoins), when trading against the AUD and 1% for crypto to crypto trading. While the direct trading commission may be considered reasonable, 1% is high for digital asset trading. Other exchanges typically charge 0.20-0.25% for this activity.

 

>>List of all cryptocurrency exchanges we have reviewed<<

 

Additionally, the company charges fees on some AUD deposits. This varies by payment method and we will cover the details below.

 

 

Trading platform

 

CoinSpot does not provide what one would typically call a trading platform. The service has a convenient dashboard, which allows you to monitor your different wallets. It looks like this:

 

 

When buying a cryptocurrency one is greeted by a simple order-entry form, which gives you an estimate of the AUD you would have to pay for the given amount of coins. Here is a preview:

 

 

If you want to convert one coin for another, you would have to go through the sell menu. This felt very counter-intuitive, but then again you can find much better exchanges to do this (check the fees section for more information).

 

Additionally, a very simple form of charting is provided, as seen here:

 

 

The overall summary of this “platform” is that it does the job. Experienced traders will not enjoy this, but newbies will enjoy the simplicity.

 

Methods of payment

 

When depositing fiat currencies to CoinSpot, one can choose between POLi Payments, Bpay and a “cash” option, which features going to a newsagent and using Blueshyft. The fees for making a deposit are as follows:

 

POLi payments – free. 

BPAY payments – 2% fee. 

Cash payments – 3% fee. 

 

If you were to sell coins at CoinSpot, you would be funded via Bank Transfer. The company will not charge you anything for that, but the bank may. The actual cost and speed of the transfer will depend on the bank you use.

 

Conclusion

 

CoinSpot is an Australian cryptocurrency exchange, which allows trading against the AUD. They are a well known company, which is respected in the local Bitcoin community. The entire service is very beginner-friendly, but this comes at a cost. While the fees for fiat to crypto trading are acceptable, trading one coin for another comes at much higher rate than with other exchanges. This feels like a solid Australian entry level company, but active traders will prefer dealing with another exchange. Here is a summary: 

 

Pros   Cons
No major hacks yet Slow bank withdrawal times
Multiple payment methods (for AU clients) High crypto to crypto fees
A lot of altcoins supported Focused on Australia (only a con if you are non-AU)
Easy to use interface  

 

Forex
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