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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  

 

HighLow

HighLow Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 4.6

 

Basic Information

 

Min.deposit

Min./Max. bet size

Payout %

Promotion

Trading platform

$50

$10/ $2,000 

Up to 88%*

up to $50 cashback

In-house web-based

 

*Up to 100%, spread included

 

HighLow is an ASIC-regulated binary options broker, that offers industry leading payouts on its unique trading platform. Unlike most binary options brokers, it offers a single trading account type.

 

In terms of assets, however, the broker’s portfolio appears rather limited. It includes less than 20 currency pairs, less than 10 indices CFDs and gold.

 

The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company

Country

Regulation

Highlow Markets Pty. Ltd.

Australia

ASIC

 

HighLow is a brand name Highlow Markets Pty. Ltd., a firm regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

 

ASIC requires licensed companies to meet certain requirements and to comply with various rules. Australian forex brokers must hold at least $ 1 million in order to operate legitimately, to keep  clients’ money segregated trust accounts and to report transactions regularly.

 

Unlike other European brokers, however, Australian ones are not covered by any compensation scheme.

 

Trading Conditions

 

Trading Options: High/Low, High/Low Spread, Turbo, Turbo Spread

Assets:  Currencies, Indices and Commodities

Expiry Times: High/Low, High/Low Spread – from 15 min to 1 day 3

Turbo, Turbo Spread - from 30 seconds to 5 minutes

 

As you can see, popular trading options such as long-term binary options, One Touch, Ladder and Pairs are not available with HighLow. Also, there is no option to follow other traders, such as SpotFollow or iFollow.

 

On the other hand, this broker offers an unusual type of options that show a bid/ask spread, the standard method of price making in the forex markets. These are Turbo Spread and High/Low Spread options.

 

Minimum Initial Deposit

The minimum initial deposit for clients of HighLow is $50, which is a low initial amount. Many binary options brokers require $100 - $200 from traders as a start, and they are not even regulated.

 

Min. bet size

The minimum bet size with this broker is $10, which is average. By comparison, with mobile-only binary options broker NenX one can place a trade with just €1. A bet size as low as this allows lower-risk trades.

 

Payout amount

HighLow's payouts are expresses in their platform as decimal odds. In fact, this broker offers rather high payouts, those for Turbo Spread and High/Low Spreadwhich actually being among the highest in the industry, reaching 100%.  However, with those instruments traders have also pay a spread, as their name suggests.  This is how the broker gets paid for its services and is able to offer 100% returns.

 

On the other hand, the payout amount for HighLow’s non-Spread instruments is 88%, which is also attractive.

 

Trading Platform

 

HighLow uses its in-house web-based platform, which is also available as mobile applications for iPhone/iPad and Android devices. It is quite unique and easy to use at the same time.

 

 

Once an asset is selected, the chart below will update, showing current price levels, trader sentiment, payout and the expiry. The platform’s charts, however, are basic, lacking advanced technical analysis features.

 

Besides, the platform provides a sentiment indicator, Trader’s Choice, that allows users to monitor current trading trends in real time.

 

Promotions

HighLow currently offers up to $50 cashback on initial trades for new clients.  

 

Methods of Payment

 

There are several payment methods available to HighLow’ clients: Credit cards (Visa), bank wire and e-payment service Neteller. Other region-based methods are also available.

 

There is a $20 fee for international transfers to overseas bank accounts.  

 

Conclusion

 

HighLow is an ASIC-regulated binary options broker whose offerings are pretty unique in terms of instruments and platform. It offers 100% payouts but these instruments also include a spread. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and drawbacks in relation to this broker:

 

Pros Cons
ASIC-regulated No long-term options, OneTouch, Ladder
Attractively high payout amounts Rather limited asset offering
Unique and easy to use trading platform  

 

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