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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  

 

HF Markets (Hot Forex)

HF Markets (Hot Forex) Review
Trader's rating 4
Editor's rating 4.2

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size Maximum leverage  Average Spreads 
Micro  $50 0.01 1:1000  1.2 pip on EUR/USD
Premium $500 0.01 1:400 1.2 on EUR/USD
Fixed $500 0.01 1:400 1.8 pip on EUR/USD
Zero $100  0.01 1:200  0.1 pips on EUR/USD + commission $4 per lot traded (per side)
Currenex $500 0.01 1:400 0.2 pips on EUR/USD + commission $5.00 per lot traded (per side)
VIP $20,000  0.01 1:300 0.2 pips on EUR/USD + commission $6.00 per lot traded round turn

 

In order to suit the needs of traders of all preferences and levels of experience, HotForex offers its clients a variety of account types to choose from. You may choose from fixed and floating spreads, commission-free trading (in Micro, Premium and Fixed accounts) or tighter spreads, involving commission fees. Beginners can sign up for Micro accounts with as little as $5, and micro lots are available for trade on all accounts.


Apart from the above mentioned account types, HotForex offers 2 more copy trading ones: an Auto Account, enabling traders to subscribe to free and paid Trading Signals from the MQL5 Community, (built-in to the MT4 trading terminal); and HF Social, which provides trading powered by FxStat.


What is more, swap-free (Islamic) accounts are available with minimum initial deposit $150, designated for clients who are not willing to earn interest for religious reasons.


The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company Country Regulation
HF Markets (Europe) Ltd Cyprus CySEC
HF Markets (UK) Ltd UK FCA
HF Markets SA (DIFC) Ltd UAE DFSA

 

HotForex is a retail forex broker, offering attractive conditions for trading in a wide range of instruments, including Forex, Spot Metals and CFDs on commodities, indices and popular shares such as Google, Apple and Facebook.

 

HotForex is a brand name of a group of companies, operating in different jurisdictions. The most reliable is HF Markets (Europe) Ltd., a Cypriot Investment Firm (CIF), registered in the European Union and licensed by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).

 

The broker also holds licenses from UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the South African regulator, as well as from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). The HF Markets group also includes operates two offshore units (HF Markets Ltd., registered in Mauritius, and HF Markets (SV) Ltd., incorporated in St. Vincent & the Grenadines). 


Cyprus is currently one of the most attractive forex broker destinations and probably the main reason for this is its well-balanced regulation. Tough regulation with high entry capital requirements and low maximum leverage has reduced competition in the United States and Japan, while light touch regulation affects credibility and safety.


CySEC applies certain rules and requirements to Cyprus Investment Firms, which are not as stringent as those in the US, for instance, however they provide a certain level of credibility. Cypriot Investment Firms must hold at least €1,000,000 in order to prove their good financial standing. Besides, they are required to keep customer funds in segregated accounts, separated from the company’s operating funds.


As a further guarantee to clients’ funds, all CySEC-regulated companies are members of the Investor Compensation Fund, which is able to pay compensation up to 20,000 EUR, If the company is in default.


Additionally, every CySEC- regulated investment company is also MiFID compliant and therefore entitled to offer cross-border services within the EU under the MiFID Passporting Regime. This also means that they have to meet all requirements for financial servoces provider set on a EU level, such as to provide negative balance protection to their clients, not to offer trading incentives which expose their clients to additional risk, and more.


Trading Conditions


Minimum Initial Deposit

In order to open an account with HotForex, traders have to invest a minimum of $5. Such minimum initial amount is comparatively low, however, many Cyprus-based brokers require even less. For instance, FXTM and XM demand just $5 from their clients as a start.


Spreads & Commissions
This broker offers both floating and fixed spreads. Fixed ones are comparatively low, amounting to 1.8 pips on EUR/USD. In comparison, Easy-forex offers fixed spreads amounting to 1.8 pips on VIP accounts only.


As regards floating spreads with HotForex, typical ones on commission-free accounts amount to 1.2 pips on EUR/USD, which is average. According to us, the conditions on the Zero account are the most attractive ones: spreads averaged 0.1 pips on EUR/USD and commission $4 per 1.00 lot traded (per side), so basically trading costs amount to around 0.9 pips, commission included. And you can open a Zero account with just $100.


For purposes of comparison, average variable spreads on Exness’ commission-free accounts amount to 0.9 pips on EUR/USD, while ECN account holders are offered average spreads of 0.4 pips on EUR/USD with $5 commission per standard lot.


Leverage
The maximum leverage with HotForex is high, reaching 1:1000. Some jurisdictions cap leverage ratios at considerably lower levels (1:50 in the USA, 1:100 in Poland).


The reason for such leverage limitations is that the higher leverage, the higher the risk of losses, which may even exceed initial investments. However, many Cyprus-based brokers offer leverage levels, similar to the ones provided by HotForex (XM – up to 1:888), or even higher – Exness offers leverage up to 1:2000. More FX brokers offering leverage equal to or exceeding 1:500 may be vewed here.


Trading Platforms


This broker supports both MetaQuotes' plaforms: the standard  MetaTrader4 (MT4) and the latest MetaTrader 5.

 

MT4 is an internationally acclaimed trading terminal, offering a full spectrum of trading tools and resources: built-in technical indicators, advanced charting package, a wide range of Expert Advisors (EAs) and extensive back-testing options for them. Traders can download ready-made or create their own EAs and let the program do all the work, no human emotions involved.


MetaTrader 4 is available to clients of HotForex as desktop, web and mobile versions. More brokers using the MT4 can be viewed here


What is more, HotForex provides MT4 MultiTerminal, which offers a practical and convenient way to manage multiple accounts simultaneously from a single interface.

 

The MT5, on the other hand, was intended as a multi-asset trading platform. In addition to forex, it facilitates trading in exchange-traded stocks. The platform is generally an enhanced version of the MT4, keeping most of the functionalities of its predecessor - the great charting, Expert Advisors, and more.


Besides, free VPS hosting is offered to both new and existing customers who deposit a minimum of $5,000 and maintain this amount for the subsequent months. VPS hosting allows the execution of orders 24 hours, 5 days a week.

 

In addition, HotForex has developed a copy trading service of its own. It is called HFCopy and enables the broker's clients to follow other traders and copy their deals.


Promotions
By the time of writing this review, HotForex runs the following promotions:


- 100% SuperCharged Bonus – applies to each deposit of $250 by FIX, Premium, Currenex and Islamic account holders up to $50,000;
- 30% Rescue Bonus - to a maximum of $7,000 which cannot be withdrawn under any circumstances;
- 100% Credit Bonus - applies on new deposits or internal transfers to trading accounts of at least $100 (available on Micro, Premium, Islamic, FIX and Currenex account types), which can be withdrawn as soon as trading volume requirements are met.
- Performance based competitions: demo contest with $3500 pool prize;
- Other ongoing promotions: HTA award and a $1000 cash prize as a showcase to the superb skills that lead to an excellent performance.


Methods of Payment


HotForex supports a wide range of payment methods: credit/debit cards (Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express), bank wire transfer and e-wallet payment systems Skrill, Neteller, WebMoney, TrustPay, iDeal, Sofort, Western Union, Przelewy24.


Conclusion


HotForex is a EU award-winning broker that offers wide range of trading products and account types under competitive conditions. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and drawbacks with regards to this broker:

 

Pros  Cons
Solid regulation (FCA, CySEC, DFSA)  No choice of trading platforms
Low competitive spreads  
MT4 available, HFCopy  
Attractive Bonuses & Promotions  

 

Headquarters:
HF Markets Europe Ltd

Spirou Kyprianou 50, Irida 3 Tower, 10th Floor, Larnaca 6057
 
 
Country: Cyprus
 
Regulated by: CySec
 
Promotions:
100% SuperCharged Bonus  
100% Credit Bonus
30%   Rescue Bonus  
 

Dealing:
Straight Through Processing (STP

Spread:
Variable, from 1 pip  (no commision)
Variable, from 0.02 pips  ($6 or $10 commision)

Deposit/Withdraw
Bank Wire, Credit card,  Skrill (MoneyBookers), WebMoney, Neteller, Perfect Money, CashU

Platform:
Metatrader, Currenex, Web Trader, iPhone Trader, druidTrader, PAMM, FIX/API

Extra Services:
Technical anaysis from TradingCentral.com
MYFX platform for deposits over $2000

Forex
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