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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  

 

easyMarkets

easyMarkets Review
Trader's rating 5
Editor's rating 4.9

Trading Accounts

  

Account type   Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Spreads
Standard $100 0.05 1:400 3 pips*
VIP $5000 0.1 1:400 1 pip

 

*Those Standard account holders who deposit $250 or more, get VIP spreads.

 

easyMarkets offers its clients two trading accounts to choose from, available on two platforms – the good old MetaTrader 4 and the broker’s proprietary web-based platform. Both account types offer commission-free trading, fixed spreads and leverage up to 1:400. Micro lots are available for trade only to Standard account holders.

 

There are a number of features available solely to VIP account holders, such as Personal Market Analyst, Loyalty Rebates, Express Withdrawals, Free trading signals, Free Breaking news, SMS Alerts, etc.

 

If you don’t need such extras or simply don’t want to invest 5 thousand bucks, you can get VIP spreads on your Standard account by depositing $250.

 

Islamic (swap-free) accounts compliant with the Sharia law are also available to clients who don’t want to earn interest for religious reasons.

 

The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company

Country

Regulation

Easy Forex Trading Ltd.

Cyprus

CySEC

EasyMarkets PTY Ltd.

Australia

ASIC

 

easyMarkets (previously Easy-Forex) is the trading name of Easy Forex Trading Ltd. – a Cyprus-based brokerage, established back in 2003. It provides its services in over 160 countries worldwide, offering trading in 175 products ranging from currencies, CFDs on indices commodities, metals and Bitcoin, as well as options and forward contracts. 

 

Easy Forex Trading Ltd, doing business as easyMarkets, is licensed and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC, license No 079/07), and its Australian subsidiary - EasyMarkets PTY Ltd. - is authorized and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).


CySEC applies certain rules to license holders, one of them being the requirement such firms to hold a minimum capital in order to conduct their business operations legitimately. The Commission requires Cyprus-based forex brokers to hold at least €730 000. As regulation of financial services providers usually involves such a requirement, Australian brokers are obliged to hold a minimum of $1,000,000 by ASIC.


Furthermore, the Cypriot financial watchdog applies a compensation scheme as additional guarantee to clients’ funds. All CySEC-regulated companies are members of the Investor Compensation Fund, the compensation fund of last resort for customers of authorized financial services firms. If the Company becomes insolvent or ceases trading, it is able to pay compensation to its covered clients, amounting to a maximum of 20,000 EUR.


Unlike many other EU-based brokers, Australian ones are not covered by any compensation scheme.

 

Focus on client protection 

 

 

 

 

easyMarkets is a broker that places a special focus on client protection. Apart from offering tight fixed spreads, which do not widen during news releases, easyMarkets is one of the few brokers that provide Negative Balance Protection. This means that you can never lose more funds than you have deposited, even though you are trading on margin.

 

Besides, it allows forex traders to cancel losing trades via its state-of-the-art feature dealCancellation, available on its in-house platform.

 

Trading Conditions

  

Minimum initial deposit

In order to open an account with easyMarkets, one has to deposit at least $100, which is a reasonable and competitive minimum initial deposit.

 

Spreads & Commissions

This broker offers fixed spreads, which allows traders to predetermine their costs. What is more, no commission fees are charged, as the broker generates revenues through the bid-ask spread paid by traders on each transaction.

 

Although fixed spreads generally tend to be wider that variable ones, this is not the case with easyMarkets – their spreads amount to 1 pips on EUR/USD and are accessible with a deposit of $250. In comparison, Exness and Plus500 (also regulated by CySEC) offer fixed spreads amounting to 2 pips for this currency pair.

 

Leverage

The maximum leverage level offered by this broker is 1:400, which is considered comparatively high, as CySEC has recently proposed the default leverage provided by brokers to be 1:50. The reason for such leverage limitations is that higher leverage involves higher risk of heavy losses. Nonetheless, many Cyprus-based brokers offer high leverage levels: XM – up to 1:888, FXTM – up to 1:500.

 

Trading Platforms

 

Clients of easyMarkets may choose from the broker’s proprietary web-based platform and the popular Metatrader 4 (MT4).

 

easyMarkets’ in-house platform offers advanced charts, live market news, technical analysis and sentiment all in one screen, one click trading (from the Market Explorer).

 

What is more, platform users get free Guaranteed stop loss and dealCancellation option, which are indeed two great risk management tools.

 

 

easyMarkets’ in-house web platform. Click to enlarge

 

 

In addition, easyMarkets offers the powerful MT4, allowing traders to fully automate their operations by choosing from a wide range of Expert Advisors (EA) and let the program do all the work. This is one of the reasons this platform to be preferred by most traders. Besides, it offers a number of useful technical indicators, extensive back-testing and advanced charting package, which includes the option to trade straight from the chart. Here is a list of more forex brokers offering MT4 platform.

 

Bonuses & Promotions

By the time of writing this review, there are two promotions offered (effective until March 31, 2016)

-        - First deposit bonus on initial deposit ranging from 30% to 50% (up to $2 000);

-         - Refer-a-friend bonus from $25 to $500 for new clients who deposit at least $250. 

 

Methods of Payment

 

easyMarkets offers a variety of payment methods, including credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Visa electron), bank transfer and e-wallet systems, such as, Skrill, Neteller, WebMoney, SoFortüberweisung, American Express, Giropay, Ideal and UnionPay.

 

For withdrawals to credit/debit cards and eWallets there is no minimum withdrawal amount. For withdrawals to bank accounts, a minimum amount of USD 50 is required. All deposits and withdrawals with easyMarkets are commission-free.

 

Conclusion

 

easyMarkets is a well-regulated broker that offers trading in wide range of financial products products worldwide through both its proprietary platforms and the industry’s standard MT4. This is a broker that places a special focus on client protection. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and drawbacks with regards to this broker: 

  

 

Pros

Cons

Well-regulated

No significant disadvantages

Tight fixed spreads, no commission fees

 

Variety of trading platforms offered, MT4 available

 

Negative balance protection, option to cancel losing trades

 

Promotions available

 

 

Headquarters: P.O.Box 53742, Limassol 3317
 

Country: Cyprus

 

Regulated by: CySEC – License Number 079/07

Forex
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