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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  

 

Forex.com

Forex.com Review
Trader's rating 2.9
Editor's rating 4

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size  Maximum leverage* Average Spreads
Standard $50  0.01 1:200  1.8 pips 
AciveTrader/Premium  $20 000/$10 000   0.01 1:200 1.3 pips **/1.5 pips
*Leverage in the US is limited to 1:50.
** Spreads can be as low as 0.7, based on the clients’ trading
volume.

 

FOREX.COM currently offers two account types: Standard, and Active Trader.  The ActiveTrader account was launched in November, 2016 in Canada and US and soon it will also be rolled out to the rest of the markets where the broker operates. 

 

An alternative to the ActiveTrader, Premium account (currently available in UK, Australia, etc.) is available with $10 000 and offers spreads averaged 1.5 pips. It also offers 2% interest on your account balance, up to $50,000.

 

The Active Trader account is accessible only via the broker’s proprietary FOREXTrader platform and will not be offered to traders using the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or any Managed Accounts and accounts referred by an introducing broker (IB).

 

In addition, FOREX.COM offers swap-free accounts to investors of Islamic belief.

 

Trading Conditions

 

Minimum initial deposit

In order to open an account with FOREX.COM, one has to invest just $50, which is a low minimum initial deposit. In comparison, FXCM also demands $50 from its clients as a start.

 

Spreads & Commission

One of the main advantages of major broker FOREX.COM is that it offers commission-free trading. Of course, this means that the company gets remuneration for its services by a mark-up. That is why FOREX.COM’ variable spreads are not among the tightest in the industry – average ones amount to 1.8 pips on EUR/USD pair. Nonetheless, you get access to a selection of trading platforms with fast execution (average execution speed is 0.05 seconds), and most importantly, your funds are safe.

 

In addition, ActiveTrader account holders may benefit from an average 15% reduction on our standard spreads. Spreads on this account type can be as low as 0.7 pips on EUR/USD, plus, their holders get personalized support, priority service and no account fees on the FOREXTrader Platform.

 

In comparison, FXCM offers variable spreads, averaged 1.5 pips on commission-free accounts. For further information, you may check out and compare real-time spreads of 15 leading brokers here

 

Maximum leverage

The maximum leverage levels offered by FOREX.COM is up to 1:200, which is considered average. Of course, the maximum leverage provided to US clients is 1:50.

 

If you need higher leverage ratios, many FX brokers provide such. FXCM offers leverage up to 1:400 and you may also check out a list of brokerages providing leverage up to 1:500 or higher here. You should keep in mind, however, that higher leverage involves greater risk of losses.

 

The Company. Security of funds

 

Set up in 1999, Gain Capital now has a global reach. Being one of the largest brokers in the US, it is therefore in direct competition with FXCM for the domination of the US market. It is It offers trading in currency pairs, index & commodities CFDs, precious metals, as well as exchange-traded futures and options (US clients).

 

First of all, GAIN Capital Group, LLC is a registered futures commission merchant and retail foreign exchange dealer with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and is also a member of the National Futures Association (NFA).

 

Brokers that are registered with the NFA are obliged to comply with a stringent set of rules. US regulation is one of the strictest, which is a good thing in terms of investor protection, however some of the rules imposed are considered too restrictive.

 

For instance, NFA-registered brokers are required to maintain a net capital of at least $20 million to guarantee customers’ positions, which is the highest minimum capital requirement worldwide.

 

Besides, hedging is not allowed and leverage is limited to 1:50, while European brokers are free to provide leverages up to 1:1000 or even higher than that.

 

The parent company, GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:GCAP), is a New Jersey-based forex and CFD broker. As a global publicly traded company, regulated in 7 jurisdictions, Gain Capital meets high standards of corporate governance, financial reporting and disclosure. Generally speaking, if you choose to invest in forex.com, you may trade without worries about your funds’ safety.

 

Company

Country

Regulation

GAIN Capital Group, LLC

US

NFA, CFTC

Forex.com UK Limited

UK

FCA

GAIN Capital FOREX.com Australia Pty Limited 

Australia

ASIC

Forex.com Canada Limited

Canada

ILLROC

GAIN Capital Group (Hong Kong) Limited 

Hong Kong

SFC

GAIN Capital Japan Ltd. 

Japan

FFAJ

 

Trading platforms

 

Forex.com offers its clients two basic trading platforms: its in-house FOREXTrader & and the popular MetaTrader 4. In addition, the brokerage also supports Tradable and its special ECN platform, GTX.

 

The fully-customizable FOREXTrader is equipped with advanced trading features, professional charting tools and integrated research and analysis. It comes in as web, PC varsions and full array of mobile apps (including iOS and Android devices). FOREXTrader PRO’s professional-grade trading tools include real-time charting, pattern recognition software by Autochartist, and custom-built automated trading software, called Strategy Center.

 

Among the FOREXTrader’s features is the Strategy Center with automated buy and sell signals, which allows traders to access 15 user customizable pre-defined trading strategies as well as build their own via the Strategy Wizard. The Strategy Center includes the ability to back test strategies against historical data and then activate them to generate buy and sell signals in real time.

 

Forex.com's inhouse FOREXTrader platform. Click to enlarge.

 

The comprehensive research and analysis includes round-the-clock updates from our expert in-house research team, real-time concise headlines from Reuters News, and professional technical analysis from industry-leading Trading Central.

 

With this platform, users are able to choose between instant and market execution (through the Execution Mode drop-down). Unfortunately, FOREXTrader does not allow hedging, as open positions are closed in compliance with the (First in First Out) FIFO accounting rule, applicable in the US.

 

Some of the new functionalities of the platform after a recent update include powerful charts with integrated one-click trading, smart trade ticket with advanced risk management option, pre-defined and customizable layouts, and more.

 

The most common forex trading platform - MetaTrader4 - is also supported by Forex.com. It offers competitive pricing on over 45 currencies, superior market execution and EA optimized environment. Furthermore, Forex.com’s MT4 is equipped with some unique trader tools & resources, such as live commentary from the company’s Global Research Team, real time technical analysis from Trading Central and actionable ideas from Autochartist. According to us, MT4, offered by forex.com has one significant disadvantage - it does Not offer a 3rd party bridge.

 

GAIN Capital’s GTX is an independent and innovative ECN designed for institutions and professional traders. It offers robust algorithmic trading capabilities that enable clients to develop and implement a wide range of trading strategies using GTX’s Java or FIX-based APIs.

 

Payment methods

 

Clients of Forex.com may use bank wire transfer, as well as debit/credit cards as payment methods.

US clients may also make deposits and withdrawals via Check and eCheck (U.S. bank accounts only), while EU clients can use Sofortbanking (online funds transfer available in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Belgium only).

 

Conclusion

 

Although its spreads are not among the tightest on the forex market, we highly recommend Forex.com, for it has earned its reputation of a reliable broker with strong regulation and transparent policy. It offers reasonable conditions for trading in forex, CFDs and stocks on a wide range of platforms. Here are, in a nutshell, the advantages and disadvantages with regards to Forex.com, the retail forex brand of Gain Capital:

 

Pros       Cons
Well-regulated & reputable broker Mediocre spreads
Commission-free trading  
Choice of trading platforms, MT4 available  
Fast execution speed  

                                                                                  

Company Name: FOREX.com

Website Address: www.forex.com

Headquarters: Bedminster One, 135 US Highway 202/206, Suite 11, Bedminster, NJ 07921.

Country: United States

Regulated by: NFA (USA), CFTC (USA), FCA (UK), FSA (Japan), ASIC (Australia), IIROC (Canada)

 

Languages: English, Chinese Traditional and Simplified, Arabic, Russian, German, and Japanese 

Phone: +1 908-731-0750

Fax: +1-908-731-0701

E-mail: [email protected]

Free Phone: Toll Free: 877-367-3946 (US & Canada)

Year of company's foundation: 1999 

Year of company's forex division foundation: 1999

Client base: Individuals (IBs, Money Managers, White Label partners, please visit www.gaincapital.com).

Services: Forex and Metals (UK and AU only). Trading 24 hours a day from Sunday 5pm ET – Friday 5:00pm ET. Commission Free trading (bid/ask spreads apply). Web-based trading platform requires no download or installation. No debit balance guarantee. Free access to charting, news and research. 24 hour customer support via phone, email and chat during trading hours. Mobile trading available. 24 Hour trading.

Languages: English, Chinese simplified and traditional, Arabic, Russian, Japanese

Forex
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