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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  

 

XM

XM Review
Trader's rating 3.4
Editor's rating 4.7

Trading Accounts

 

Account type  Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size  Maximum leverage  Average Spreads
Micro  $5  0.01 1:500 1.7 pip on EUR/USD
Standard  $5 0.01 1:500 1.7 pip on EUR/USD
Zero  $100 0.01 1:500 0.1 pips on EUR/USD + $7 / lot (round trip) 

 

XM offers its clients three types to choose from: Micro, Standard and Zero. You may choose from commission-free trading (in Micro and Standard accounts) or tighter spreads, involving commission fees and higher initial deposit (Zero account). The broker offers high leverage levels and floating spreads. Beginners can sign up for Micro accounts with as little as $5, and micro lots are available for trade on all accounts.


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


The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd. Cyprus  CySEC
Trading Point of Financial Instruments PTY Ltd. Australia ASIC
     

Based on the sunny island of Cyprus, XM offers great trading conditions for trading in a wide range of instruments, including currency trading, CFDs on commodities, indices, precious metals, energies and stocks on two trading platforms (MT4 and MT5). What is more, XM provides ultra-fast execution (99.35% of all trades executed in less than 1 second), as well as awesome bonuses & promotions.

 

XM is a brand name of Trading Point Holdings Ltd, which wholly owns Trading Point of Financial Instruments Pty Ltd (XM Australia) and Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd (XM Cyprus).

  

CySEC and ASIC apply certain rules and requirements to regulated firms, which are not as stringent as those in the US, for instance, however they provide a good level of credibility. Besides, licensed brokers are required to keep customer funds in segregated accounts, separated from the company’s operating funds.

 

As a further guarantee to clients’ funds, all companies regulated in Cyprus are covered by compensation schemes as additional guarantee to clients funds. All deposits with a Cyprus regulated forex broker up to EUR 20,000 per client are guaranteed by the  Investor Compensation Fund.

 

Currently, however, Australian forex brokers are not covered by any compensation scheme.

 

The XM group also includes Belize-registered XM Global, as well as Trading Point of Financial Instruments UK Ltd (XM UK), a company authorized by the Financial Conduct Austhority in the UK. It currently operates Trading.com brand. The latter is also expected to launch in the US, as XM has also applied for authorization with the National Futures Association (NFA). 

 

 

Trading Conditions


Minimum Initial Deposit

In order to open an account with XM, traders have to invest just $5. Such low minimum initial amount is rather attractive, as typically brokers require $100 - $300 as a start.


Spreads & Commissions

This broker offers variable spreads. The typical ones on commission-free accounts amount to 1.7 pips on EUR/USD. According to us, the conditions on the Zero account are better: spreads averaged 0.1 pips on EUR/USD and commission $3.5 per standard lot traded (per side). So, basically trading costs on the Zero account amount to around 0.8 pips, commission included, which is a great offer. What is more, you can open a Zero account with just $100.


Leverage
XM offers flexible leverage between 1:1 to 1:500. Using leverage means that you can trade positions larger than the amount of money in your trading account. Leverage amount is expressed as a ratio, for instance 50:1, 100:1, or 500:1. Assuming that you have $1,000 in your trading account and you trade ticket sizes of 500,000 USD/JPY, your leverage will equate 500:1.


Trading Platforms

 

When trading with this broker, you will be offered both MetaQuuotes;s platforms - the Metatrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5).

 

MT4 is an internationally acclaimed trading software, offering a full array of trading tools and features: more than 50 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. The MT4 with XM is availavle in all forms and shapes: desktop, web, and mobile.

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

 

Recently MetaQuotes has been putting a stronger emphasis on the MT5: the hedging function was finally added to it and all versions of the platform have been ehanced. As a result, the number of brokers that support the platform has been on the increase. XM also followed suit and added it to its offerings. 


Besides, free Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is offered to both new and existing customers of XM who deposit a minimum of $5,000 and trade at least 5 round turn lots per month. VPS hosting allows the execution of orders 24 hours, 5 days a week.


Promotions

 - Free VPS for clients who maintain a balance (Equity-Credit) USD 5,000 or currency equivalent. No end date for this promotion;

 - $30 Non-Deposit Trading Bonus for new clients only. No end date for this promotion;

 - The two-tier deposit bonus offers 50% deposit bonus up to $500 and 20% deposit bonus up to $5,000. No end date for this promotion;

 - The XM Loyalty Program offers the clients XM Points (XMP) per lot traded. These XMP can be redeemed at any time for credit bonus which can be used for trading purposes only. No end date for this promotion.

 

*Clients registered under Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd are not eligible for bonuses. 

 


Deposit/Withdraw Methods


XM accepts the most commonly used Local Payment methods today including Credit/Debit Card, Neteller, Skrill, Bank Wire Transfer, etc. Their coverage is quite extensive and adds more flexibility on adding funds into the account


XM covers all deposit and withdrawal transfer fees for payments made via Neteller, Moneybookers and all major credit cards (including VISA, VISA Electron, MasterCard, Maestro and China UnionPay). Additionally, all deposits and withdrawals above 200 USD processed by wire transfer are also included in our zero fees policy.


Conclusion


XM is a EU award-winning broker that offers wide range of trading products and account types on two great platforms under competitive conditions. What is more, it provides Negative Balance Protection, as well as lucrative bonuses to its clients. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and drawbacks with regards to this broker:

 

Pros  Cons
Well-regulated (ASIC and CySEC licenses) No significant disadvantages
Negative Balance Protection  
Low trading costs on the Zero account  
MT4 and MT5 available  
Attractive Promotions  
Fast execution speed  

 

Why XM?

- Licensed in UK and Australia
- Tight Spreads from 1 Pip
- Leverage up to 888:1
- Deposit bonus up to 5000 USD
- 24 Hour Support
- No Requotes
- Personal Account Managers
- Automated Trading
- Loyalty Program
- Phone Trading
- Hedging Allowed
- Islamic Account

Registered with

- FSA, UK 
- BaFin, Germany 
- CNMV, Spain
- AFM, Netherlands
- FI, Sweden
- FIN, Finland
- PSZÁF, Hungary
- CONSOB, Italy
- ACP, France
- KNF, Poland

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