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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  

 

Ethfinex

Ethfinex Review
Trader's rating 4.7
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts & Conditions

 

Account type Leverage Maker Fee* Taker Fee* Deposit Fee Withdrawal Fee**
Standard 1:3.3 0.0% - 0.1% 0.1% - 0.2% 0.1% for Bank Wire only 0.01 ETH

 

* Trading fees depend on users’ trading volume.

**Withdrawals in Status (SNT) & Golem (GNT) are free of charge.

 

As it name suggests, Ethfinex is a cryptocurrency exchange, which is heavily connected to Ethereum. Another thing one could tell by this venue’s name is that it belongs to a group of companies around one of the oldest and most popular exchanges, Bitfinex. Its parent company also runs the Tether.to platform.

 

Trading is live on Ethfinex for all existing Bitfinex users since December 29th. New signups will be available from January 15th. Currently still in beta, Ethfinex platform allows for trading in ERC-20 compatible tokens and Ethereum-based crowd sales with options for margin trading, as well as access to a peer-to-peer funding market. By the time of writing of the present review, the exchange is in the top 15 by trading volume at CoinMarketCap.


In addition, it offers a token of its own, called the Nectar token (or NEC). It is given for free to token market makers in proportion to the volume of trades they participate in on the exchange.

Ethfinex’s security is based on the expertise gained by Bitfinex’s team. The majority of system funds are stored in offline, in ‘cold’ wallets. Only around 0.5% of all crypto assets are accessible in ‘hot’ wallets for day-to-day platform operations. 

 

Ethfinex Advantages

 

Hybrid decentralized exchange, part of a trusted group

Ethfinex is planned as a hybrid decentralized exchange. In the long term, the company plans to move towards a completely trustless exchange, steadily decentralizing ownership of the platform to its community of users. The company’s team has learned the hard way that running an exchange on a centralized server is dangerous. Bitfinex was hacked in 2016, and approximately US$72 million was stolen in the form of Bitcoin. Eventually, the company managed to pay back the money to all its clients.

 

On the other hand, decentralized exchanges do not store coins, funds, private keys or user information on centralized servers, thereby making it very difficult for hackers to compromise sensitive information.

 

Competitive fees

At Ethfinex market makers are charged up to 0.1% per trade, and market takers – up to 0.2%, which is in line with the average pricing in the crypto world these days. Those users who trade in large volume get discounts. By the way, Bitfinex has exactly the same trading fee structure.

 

Deposit and withdrawal fees by Ethfinex are also competitive. Deposits in digital assets are free of charge, while those in USD are charged with 0.1%. Withdrawal fees of this exchange are also in line with the average in the industry.

 

 

Leveraged trading available

Similarly to its older brother Bitfinex, Ethfinex provides margin trading. The maximum leverage level available at both exchanges is 1:3.3. If you want to speculate aggressively with the price of Bitcoin or Ethereum, there are some forex brokers that offer higher leverage ratios.

 

>>Forex brokers offering leveraged Ethereum trading<< 

 

We must mention that trading in volatile assets such as cryptocurrencies involves risk of loss, which are multiplied if you use leverage. So, be careful when trading on margin.

 

Many Ethereum-based coins available

Ethfinex offers trading in decent amount of Ethereum-based tokens, such as Ethereum, OmiseGO, EOS, Aventus, Status, Golem, and more. Although its crypto portfolio cannot be compared to the one offered by EtherDelta, the trading volumes at Ethfinex appear higher on most instruments.

 

Fiat accepted, bank wire transfers supported

This exchange accepts US dollars, one of the most popular “traditional” currencies.   This makes the services offered by Ethfinex more accessible to beginner traders, as it accepts cash payments via bank wire transfer.

 

Community vote for listing tokens

One of the biggest problems with most centralized exchanges is their reluctance to list tokens with a large community backing. That is why we consider Ethfinex’ decision to list new tokens after rounds of voting by the crypto-community as an advantage.

 

Ethfinex Disadvantages

 

No Bitcoin

As this platform is dedicated to Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens, you canot trade in Bitcoin on Ethfinex. However, you can always do that on the group’s Bitfinex platform. 

 

Registered offshore

While Bitfinex is operated by Hong Kong based iFinex Inc., the company operating this exchange, Ethfinex Inc., is registered offshore. According to its Terms of Service, the governing law is the one of the British Virgin Islands. Companies registered offshore generally do not inspire a lot of trust.

 

Dependent on the Ethereum network 

If there is serious backlog on the Ethereum network, the activity at Ethfinex will also become slow, as trading is done mostly against ETH.

 

Conclusion

 

Launched by an established group in the cryptocurrency world, Ethfinex seems like an attractive exchange, especially to fans of Ethereum and Ethereum-based coins. It is planned like a platform based on a hybrid decentralized architecture, that will allow decentralized exchanges to plug into it and trade with Ethfinex customers, as well as each other.

 

Now in beta, Ethfinex is accessible to Bitfinex account holders with competitive trading and transfer fees. There is a decent amount of altcoins available to trade at the exchange, and besides, cash is accepted. Similarly to Bitfinex, Ethfinex provides leverage up to 1:3.3, which is a nice extra feature that most exchanges do not offer.

 

Although little to no regulation is applied to the crypto-exchanges in most jurisdictions, we don’t like the fact that Ethfinex Inc. is registered offshore. As we mentioned above, some forex brokers offer CFDs on digital assets. For those ofyou who prefer to invest in regulated entities, we have prepared a list of well-regulated ones.

 

>> Regulated Bitcoin forex brokers<<

 

Here is our summary of this exchange:

 

 Pros

 Cons

 Hybrid decentralized exchange, part of a trusted group

 No Bitcoin

 Competitive fees

 Dependent on the Ethereum network

 Leveraged trading available

 Still in Beta

 Many Ethereum-based coins available

 Registered offshore

 Fiat accepted, bank wire transfers supported

 

 

 

Forex
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