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Kraken is a globally operating US-based crypto exchange founded in 2011 and the world's largest bitcoin exchange in euro volume and liquidity.
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What is Kraken?
Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange platform that offers a wide range of investment options to both individuals and institutions in over 200 countries across the world. Kraken also supports almost 100 different cryptocurrencies including the most popular ones like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Cardano, among others.
History of Kraken
Kraken was established in 2011 by Jesse Powell, its current CEO, but did not formally launch its operations until 2013. Powell recognized the importance of Bitcoin as well as the potential lucrativeness of crypto exchanges as an integral part of the crypto ecosystem.
Powell’s intention was to create value through a platform where people could promptly and securely invest in the cryptocurrency world.
Since its inception, Kraken has grown tremendously, having hired hundreds of employees around the globe while also allowing people from all walks of life to invest in cryptocurrency independently and worry-free.
How to Buy Crypto on Kraken
Create an account
To create an account at Kraken, go to their website click on “Create Account" in the right-top corner.
Next, you need to enter your email address, us_ername_, and a s_trong password_. Once you have provided this information, simply press the “Sign Up” button. You will immediately receive an email to complete the activation of your account.
Verify your identity
Next, you need to verify your identity. This is necessary because of anti-money-laundering laws.
Kraken offers different verification levels: Starter, Express, Intermediate and Pro. Depending on your verification level, you will be able to use different features of the Kraken platform. For instance, with the Starter level, you can deposit cryptocurrencies and exchange unlimited amounts of crypto. If you would like to deposit fiat money, however, you need the Express (up to $9.000) or Intermediate (unlimited deposits) level.
You can learn more about the requirements and allowances of the different verifcation levels on Kraken's helpdesk.
To fund your account and start trading, navigate to the “Funding” tab highlighted on the screenshot below. Next, click on the “Deposit” button and look for the currency you would like to deposit and click on it.
Now, key in the amount you wish to deposit and choose a Funding Provider from the drop-down menu. If the drop-down menu only displays a single option, you can simply skip this step and move on to completion.
Instant Buy / Mobile App
The easiest way to buy crypto on Kraken is using its Instant Buy feature, which is also used by the Kraken mobile app. Simply click on the "Buy Crypto" button in the navigation bar, click on "Buy", select the crypto of your choice, and select the amount of crypto you'd like to buy.
Kraken is also a very popular platform among professional traders. For more experienced users, there are two different ways to buy crypto: either through the "Trade" section in the navigation bar, or the professional trading interface which can be accessed by clicking the chart icon in the submenu of the "Trade" webpage.
To login to Kraken's mobile app, simply scan the QR Code that is generated automatically at the Kraken profile settings webpage.
The Kraken app allows you to monitor your portfolio and trade on the go. However, it does not support advanced order types like limit orders and trading via the app will incur an additional fee. The app does not allow for the withdrawal or depositing of funds yet but the company has stated that it will work on incorporating the feature soon.
Features of Kraken
Available Payment Methods
Currently, Kraken only accepts deposits in:
- US Dollar
- Canadian Dollar
- Pound Sterling
- Japanese Yen
- Swiss Franc
Canadian clients are able to fund their accounts through their debit and credit cards. Users from other parts of the world can only fund their accounts through wire transfers where a small fee is charged to their accounts. For European Union clients, however, SEPA wire transfers are absolutely free. Kraken also offers SEPA Instant Payments, so you don't have to wait for days for your transfer to arrive.
Limits and Fees
Most cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken included, apply a maker/taker fee model, which essentially means that the fee charged will be lower depending on whether or not you are adding liquidity in the market or taking liquidity away from it.
Maker fees refer to the fee applied whenever a client places a trade that isn’t automatically matched to an already existing order in the books. The reason this called a ‘maker’ is because it makes/increases the demand for cryptocurrency in the market.
Taker fees, on the other hand, refer to the fee applied when a client places an order that is automatically matched with an order that is already existent in the books. This reduces liquidity because it takes an existent coin off the market, which is why it is called a ‘taker’.
As you can tell, Kraken does not charge any fees until you have executed an order; that is, until your order is matched with another client’s order. As mentioned, this fee will also be dependent on whether you are a maker or a taker, which you cannot predict until you have executed your order. This fee can range anywhere between 0% to 0.3%
The fee will also be influenced by your maker/taker status as well as the currency pair that you will be trading (for example USD to Bitcoin) as well as your 30-day trading volume in dollars. The more trading you have done in the past 30 days, the lower your fee will be.
There are other options that may appeal to beginners more than the maker/taker model. For example, the ‘Instant Buy’ option which, as the name suggests, allows you to purchase crypocurrency quite easily. This comes at a higher cost than if you used the maker/trader model.
Note that with the Instant Buy option, you would have to pay a 1.5% flat rate for converting, buying, or selling. Further, you will also have to incur an additional 4% fee for each transaction if you are using a credit/debit card.
Is Kraken trustworthy?
Cryptocurrency exchanges have proven to be particularly vulnerable when it comes to hacking, which has resulted to millions in losses over the years. Although most of these platforms have reimbursed their clients for the losses incurred, you certainly don’t want to choose a trading platform with weak security because you will suffer undue inconvenience.
Kraken has on numerous occasions declared its commitment to cyber security, even ranking first on security review sites on crypto exchange platforms such as CER. Most importantly, Kraken has never, in its 10-year history, experienced any major hacking event and never has there been an incident where the platform has lost client funds.
Additionally, Kraken offers its clients safe coin storage, with about 95% of all deposits being held offline in cold storages spread out all across the globe. Onsite protection of all of Kraken’s servers is also guaranteed, with these servers being kept under 24-hour surveillance by armed guards at various locations all over the world.
Apart from the physical measures Kraken takes, the company has also encrypted all sensitive user information at the data and system level and regularly conducts vulnerability tests to ascertain the safety of its own systems.
As a personal measure, ensure that you activate the 2FA authentication setting to ensure that even the people you personally interact with cannot access your account.
Kraken is a great cryptocurrency exchange platform with good services. Although, the platform is more oriented towards experienced traders, it also offers beginner-friendly tools like the Instant Buy feature and its mobile app, for a small additional fee. Kraken also makes it extraordinarily easy to earn interest on your investments through onchain and offchain staking. In all, Kraken is rightly one of the most reputable crypto exchanges.
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