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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  

 

KorBit

KorBit Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Leverage Maker Fee Taker fee Deposit Fee
Standard N/A Max 0.08% Max 0.20% Free

 

KorBit was the first Korean cryptocurrency exchange to offer BTC/KRW trading. They are an entry-level service (i.e. accept fiat currencies) but also offer a decent trading platform. The company is still one of the top-rated exchanges in the country, which drives relatively high trading volumes.

 

KorBit Advantages

 

Competitive fees –   The trading fees at KorBit are divided into the “maker” and “taker” category. Market makers are the traders who place a new entry in the order book, while takers are those who enter at the best available price. The fees at KorBit start from 0.08% and 0.20%, respectively. They can go even lower if you trade with bigger volumes. 

 

Cold storage – KorBit claims a majority of the coins they keep are kept in cold storage. This is a measure, applied by a lot of companies and drastically increases the security of wallets.

 

Several altcoins featured  – There are some alternative coins available at KorBit, but this is by no means the main benefit of the exchange (as is the case with Poloniex or Bittrex). The full list currently includes: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Calassic, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash, Zcash, Monero, Augur and Steem. They are all traded against KWR.

 

KRW bank transfers accepted – Bank transfers from Korean banks are accepted at KorBit. More importantly, the company does not charge fees on any incoming transactions (although the banks involved in the process will). 

 

>> Purchase Bitcoin with a credit card<<

 

Credit cards are a much more preferable option for some users, although the commissions involved in the process can be pretty harsh. As an example Bitsatmp charges 8% on such transactions. 

 

 

Positive user feedback – While the non-Korean reviews of this exchange are relatively few in number, they are all positive. The company seems to operating legitimately, and with the competitive fee structure, most customers should be happy.

 

Nice trading platform – The web-based platform delivered by KorBit looks solid. Charting is provided by TradingView, which is always nice. Additionally the order book and tape (trading history), which are located below the chart also seem well-designed. Her is how they look: 

 

BTC/KRW chart. While the default template is simplistic it can easily be changed via the TradingView package.

 

The easy to read order book and tape.

 

KorBit Disadvantages

 

 

Focus on Korea – The issue, which a lot of locally focused exchanges have is also present at KorBit. They accept only Korean bank transfers and likely require such an account for the verification of your main trading account. The presentation in English, while not terrible is also not ideal.

 

 

Trading against KWR –  All of the trading activity at KorBit is done against the Korean Won (KWR). This may seem nice for local clients, but limits their ability for currency diversification and the option of quickly converting one coin into another.

 

Withdrawal fees – KorBit applies fees on withdrawals. They may not seem significant, but especially the ones imposed on blockchain transfers are annoying. Here is the list which also states all deposits are free of charge:

 

 

No leverage provided  – Margin trading isn’t supported by KorBit, which isn’t that big of a flaw. Cryptocurrencies are so volatile, that most traders don’t have the need to further increase the risks they are exposed to. For those of you who are willing to take even more aggressive steps, we must will recommend trading with as forex broker.

 

>>Leveraged Bitcoin trading brokers<< 

 

That being said, we must also underline the fact this style of trading is not suitable for long term investing. Trading with such brokers is done via the so called CFDs and is very different from going through a crypto-exchange. Read all of the important points here.

 

Conclusion

 

KorBit is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in Korea. The company has earned a solid reputation and is still very popular. That being said, their main flaw (from our perspective) is the domestic focus of this exchange. While they are not unique in that regard, as other Korean companies, like Coinone and Bithumb also operate in the same manner. 

 

The trading conditions at this exchange are solid – the instrument list features some altcoins, the platform is nice and the fees are up to date with the offers from other exchanges.

 

That being said, when dealing with cryptocurrencies, you must always consider the fact, there will be a certain level of uncertainty. Most veterans in the field would advice you to transfer any larger amounts of coins to a private wallet, whose private keys you control (or even a hardware wallet, like the Trezor or Ledger Nano). With that in mind, the forex brokers, which we mentioned earlier are often much safer alternatives. Click the link below for more details.

 

>>Tightly regulated Bitcoin forex brokers<<

 

And here is the final summary of this exchange (keep in mind, we are viewing it form an outside perspective, as we are not based in Korea):

 

Pros Cons
Competitive Fees Focus on Korea
Cold Storage Trading against KWR
Several altcoins featured Withdrawal fees
KRW bank transfers accepted No leverage provided
No deposit fees  
Positive user feedback  
Nice trading platform   

 

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