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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  

 

FXCM

FXCM Review
Trader's rating 3.9
Editor's rating 4.7

Trading Accounts

 

FXCM UK

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Average Spreads  
           
Standard $300 1000 1:30 1.5 pips + commission $4 (£3 in the UK)*   
 AciveTrader  $25 000 0.01 1:30 0.4 pips + commission $1.8 – $4 (£1.8 – £3 in the UK) *  

 

*Commission is calculated per standard lot of 100 000 base units (per side).

 

 

FXCM Australia

Account type Minimum deposit Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Spreads
Standard $50 1000 1:400 1.5 pips + commission $4 (£3 in the UK)*
AciveTrader  $25 000 0.01 1:400 0.4 pips + commission $1.8 – $4 (£1.8 – £3 in the UK) **

*Commission is calculated per standard lot of 100 000 base units (per side). 

 

FXCM offers two account types: Standard and Active Trader. For those unwilling to expose themselves to the greater risk related to trading in large volumes, micro lots are available on all account types.

 

Trading Conditions

 

Minimum initial deposit

In order to open an account with FXCM Australia, one has to invest just $50, which is a low minimum initial deposit. FXCM UK requires minimum deposit of $300, in line with the industry average. 

 

Spreads & Commission

FXCM offers competitive variable spreads, averaged 1.5 pips on EURUSD on commission-free accounts.

Active Trader account holders may benefit from tighter spreads and commission discounts, provided that they satisfy certain trading volume requirements. For further information, you may check out and compare real-time spreads of 10 leading brokers here

 

Maximum leverage

 

FXCM UK offers the highest possible under ESMA regulations spread levels to all of its clients:

30:1 leverage restriction for major currency pairs

20:1 for non-major currency pairs, gold and major indices

10:1 for commodities other than gold and non-major equity indices

5:1 for individual equities and other reference values

 

The maximum leverage offered by ASIC-regulated FXCM Australia is quite higer:

400:1 leverage for Forex trading

200:1 leverage for CFD trading

 

The Company. Security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
FXCM LTD UK FCA
FXCM Australia Pty. Limited Australia ASIC
FXCM South Africa (PTY) Ltd (IB) South Africa FSCA


This broker takes regulation, financial transparency and investor protection very seriously. In order to maintain transparency of operations, the company provides regular press releases where anyone can see the broker's monthly execution data. Besides, the companies within the FXCM group are regulated by some of the most respected regulatory bodies in the world: FCA in UK and ASIC in Australia.

 

Both FCA and ASIC regulated brokers are under strict supervision and are very well controlled. To acquire a license from the UK financial watchdog, financial services providers need to maintain net tangible assests amounting to at least EUR 730 000. Australian brokers, on the other hand, must hold at  least AUD 1 000 000 to prove  their financial stability.


Besides, under the UK regulations, investors’ funds are kept in segregated bank accounts separated from the company’s operating funds and, in case of default, sums of up to GBP 50,000 are protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
 

 

Trading platforms

 

This broker offers a selection of robust trading platforms to its clients, including the most popular MetaTrader 4, its award-winning Trading Station, and NinjaTrader. In addition, Copy trading is available through the advanced web platform ZuluTrade.

 

FXCM’s In-house award-winning platform Trading Station is available as desktop, web, and mobile versions.  Apart from its sleek design and intuitive interface, Trading Station comes equipped with Marketscope – a powerful charting package. Here are some of its key features:

 

-         -  Place and manage trades from the charts;

-          - Pre-loaded Indicators: over 30 popular indicators like MA, MACD, Bollinger Bands and RSI;

-          - Custom Indicators: over 600 custom indicators available;

 

FXCM’s Trading Station. Click to enlarge.

 

As trading robots are extremely popular among forex investors, Trading Station offers automated strategies that take the human element out of trading and what is more, you don’t need to stare at the PC screen all the time. You may easily determine key areas where your trading strategies can be improved, and gain confidence in your robots prior to applying them by using the platform’s strategy optimizer conducts excessive backtesting.

 

There are also some exclusive tools with Trading Station, like the unique order type, Good Till Date, which lets you execute at specific times; and the broker’s exclusive Real Volume indicators, which opens FXCM’s trading book of traders around the world.

 

NinjaTrader is another platform supported by FXCM. It has simplified interface and offers all of the functionalities that you can make use of if you trade on Metatrader 4 or the desktop version of Trading Station, and even more. You can also benefit from fast execution, trading from charts, creating your own trading strategies, superior back-testing options, custom indicators and alerts.

 

Those traders who stick to the good old MetaTrader 4 (MT4) will not be disappointed with FXCM, as the broker fully supports this powerful multiasset software. The platform comes equipped with an outstanding charting package, numerous built-in technical indicators, Fibonacci retracements, trend lines, support and resistance levels, and so on – pretty much everything a trader needs. Those who are handy with code may create their own automated strategies (EAs) and custom indicators in the MQL programming language.

 

Payment methods

 

Clients of FXCM may make deposits and withdrawals from and to their accounts via debit/credit card, bank wire transfer, check, and ACH (Automated Clearing House).

 

Conclusion

 

One of the biggest FX brokerages worldwide, FXCM is an excellent choice: a reliable and well-regulated broker, offering excellent trading conditions on a wide range of trading platforms. Here are, in a nutshell, the advantages and disadvantages with regard to this broker:

 

 

Pros Cons
Group of companies with multiple regulations Stocks, options, and futures are not available for trade
Tight spreads   
Low initial deposit  
A selection of trading platforms offered  
Advanced copy trading options   
Price improvement (e.g. positive slippage) is available  
   

             

 

Website: www.fxcm.com 

Headquarters:

55 Water St. FL 50, New York, NY 10041

Country: United States

Regulated by:
USA: CFTC, NFA # 0308179

US: CFTC and NFA (NFA Member# 0308179) 

UK: FCA (Firm registration #217689)

Australia: ASIC (AFSL #309763)

Hong Kong: SFC (SFC CE #AIM232)

Italy: CONSOB (#76)

Germany: BaFin (#122556)

France: Registered with the ACP, as the branch of Forex Capital Markets Ltd.

Forex
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