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Kraken vs. Coinbase [Exchange Comparison Review For 2021]

Kraken vs Coinbase

Kraken and Coinbase are two of the most high-profile cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the crypto world. These two cryptocurrency exchanges offer investors access to trading with the major cryptocurrencies on the market, as well as different alternative crypto coins. Both allow cryptocurrency investors to trade with fiat currency; offer mobile apps and 24/7 customer service. Both of these popular exchanges allow staking, i.e. earning interest rewards for holding cryptocurrencies over a set period of time.

In this article, we’ll reveal the pros and cons of Kraken and Coinbase, explore their unique features, and present a Kraken vs Coinbase comparison. The key differences and advantages of these crypto exchanges will help you choose the one that appeals to you.

Kraken is a  United States-based cryptocurrency exchange that supports crypto-to-crypto and fiat-to-crypto trades. Kraken is owned by Payward Inc. and is headed by CEO and co-founder Jesse Powell.  Founded in 2011, it operates worldwide with most of its activity in Europe.

Coinbase is a US company founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. It has become the most popular fully regulated and licensed centralized cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., supporting the top cryptocurrencies on the market.

Each of these exchanges offers investors access to the major cryptocurrencies, as well as various alternative coins. Both platforms adhere to strict Know Your Customer (KYC) standards and assist their customers in securely accessing, buying, and trading their cryptocurrency.

The key difference between these two lies in trading fees and trading features.

Coinbase is famous for the best user experience in the crypto space. Coinbase offers an easy-to-use interface, educational tools, and strong security measures, but it also has restrictions based on your location. Also, some coins can only be traded for certain fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar or converted to/from other cryptocurrencies.

Kraken offers a variety of account types, an advanced order system, and a plethora of trading tools, i.e. stop-loss and profit-taking order types; leverage and margin trading; automated strategy and futures trading; and limit orders. It is however not available in New York and Washington state and has a challenging user interface.

Quick Overview

Let’s take a quick overview of Coinbase Kraken pros and cons, before diving into their distinct features, trading fees, security features, and key differences.

Kraken

Pros

  • Secure and reliable
  • High trading volume
  • Proof of reserves audit
  • Six different supported fiat currencies
  • More than 50 cryptocurrencies
  • Margin,  Indices,  Dark Pool,  Cryptowatch, and futures trading available
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) trading and account management support
  • Staking rewards
  • Low instant trading fees: Reasonable deposit fees and withdrawal fees

Cons

  • Slow verification process
  • No tax support
  • No credit/debit card deposits in most fiat currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CHF, JPY), PayPal, or similar services.
  • Does not operate in some states and countries
  • Many options not available to U.S. users
  • Challenging user interface
  • Doesn’t provide personal wallet services

Coinbase

Pros

  • Extends access to more than 50+ cryptocurrencies
  • High liquidity
  • Cryptocurrency is insured in the event of website hacking
  • Excellent user experience; fast KYC,  simple user interface
  • Digital wallet storage, educational tools/library, mobile access
  • Easy funding options; credit/debit card accepted
  • Fiat currencies accepted
  • Available in 100 countries
  • Low account minimums
  • Staking rewards for holding certain assets

Cons

  • High fees when not using Coinbase Pro
  • Coinbase users are not in control of wallet keys
  • Does not have a wide variety of trading options: no futures or margin trading
  • Pay more for lower balances
  • Not available in all countries
  • Some altcoins aren’t accepted
  • Privacy issues: Overly intrusive KYC; owns and utilizes a chainalysis company linked to spyware rackets; tries to sell its analytics to the IRS and the DEA

Kraken vs. Coinbase: Main Differences

While both Kraken and Coinbase stand out as two of the most high-profile and trusted crypto trading platforms on the market, they also have their own distinct features. Let’s discuss the key differences you should consider before deciding which crypto exchange fits your needs best.

User Interface: Kraken vs Coinbase

Kraken’s interface has many features an advanced trader might need. However, its interface is often called “old-school”, i.e. it doesn’t have the sleek look of Coinbase Pro.

To be able to trade cryptocurrency, Kraken users need to create a free account using their email address, password and then log in through the official website. The left side of the screen offers several graphs analyzing the trading history, while the right side has your trading portfolio. The symbols and abbreviations might be complex and challenging for beginners.

Kraken has also a mobile app available for iOs and Android users allowing you to trade on the go. The Kraken Pro mobile app is highly reviewed by Kraken users due to its security features with API/QR log-in.

Coinbase has the simplest and most intuitive user interface on both mobile and desktop similar to those used for an online bank account. It allows users to easily send each other cryptocurrencies with just their user ID. Receiving addresses get generated automatically for each transaction, making them secure and safe.

Coinbase Pro has impressive market indicators and tools. On the right side, there are real-time trade sizes; in the middle – a price graph and an order book for buys and sells; and on the left, there are three types of placing orders. The bottom of the screen shows the open orders.

However, if you move your cryptocurrencies away from Coinbase wallet, you will pay high fees by default (your transactions will always be considered a high priority).  The wallet doesn’t allow you to set custom fees according to your own mempool estimation.

Another cons is the lack of coin control or UTXO management, i.e. the transaction receivers can use a blockchain explorer to see how many coins the senders own.

Features: Kraken vs Coinbase

Now, let’s reveal the unique features of Kraken Coinbase.

Kraken Features

Kraken offers a wide variety of trade options and types:

  • Limit order
  • Market order
  • Indices
  • OTC
  • Account Management
  • Cryptowatch
  • Settle position order
  • Stop limit order
  • Stop market order
  • Trailing stop order
  • Time in Force Limit orders
  • Margin trading
  • Futures trading

Kraken offers two-factor authentication and cold storage security feature. However, it had security issues when in May 2017, Kraken was hit with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, leading to huge losses for market participants.

Kraken’s  “Advanced Markets View”  feature enables you to view real-time order book transactions and charts with multiple indicator overlays. It also allows you to build a watchlist.

Kraken allows users to access their API keys for integrating other apps with the Kraken app. 

Kraken also assigns an adviser to novices wanting to make big investments in cryptocurrency.

Coinbase Features

  • Limit order. Advanced limit order
  • Market order
  • Stop order
  • OTC
  • Coinbase Index Fund
  • Account Management
  • Cryptowatch
  • Cold storage and advanced security features

Coinbase describes itself as “the easiest place to buy and sell cryptocurrency”. Setting up, verifying, and adding funds to your Coinbase account is much easier for U.S.-based traders versus Kraken’s more restrictive measures.

Coinbase Pro offers an overall lower fee structure and more complex and advanced features designed for experienced and active traders. It also allows you to make stop and limit orders in addition to the basic market orders.

Coinbase was the first major U.S. exchange that made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. The company went public via an Initial Public Offering (IPO), allowing Americans to purchase shares of the company itself

Coinbase has formed its own venture capital fund, Coinbase Ventures, which invests in cryptocurrency-related startups. Coinbase introduced margin trading in 2020. It offers traders up to 3x leverage and is still only available to Coinbase users in 23 US states, limiting its availability.

Coinbase uses cold storage to store 98% of customer funds offline. The Coinbase system defaults to 2FA for SMS verification during login.  Along with 2FA, Coinbase offers highly secure apps like Google Authenticator for logging in.

Wallets and private keys, which are like a password for your crypto funds, are also protected by AES-256 encryption. It also offers the Coinbase wallet for storing your cryptocurrency. The wallet is protected with a password and biometric access controls. It also has an encrypted 12-word recovery phrase protecting your assets.

Coinbase provides extra security measures: Cryptocurrency funds held online are insured by a syndicate of Lloyd’s of London and Coinbase also offers FDIC insurance on USD balances.

Purchasing cryptocurrency with wire transfer (ACH) and debit cards is allowed.

Coinbase offers a wide range of education options. The Coinbase Earn feature allows you to earn free crypto assets by learning about different cryptocurrency topics and taking a quiz.

News: Kraken vs Coinbase

The Coinbase website and mobile app have in-built up-to-date news articles from various resources. You can also get updated on a specific currency.

Alerts

With Coinbase, you can create a  watchlist to track the current price fluctuations, popularity, typical hold time, and trading activity of digital assets.

Kraken also allows you to set alerts for price, volume levels, or special technical analysis through its Cryptowatch and the Kraken Terminal.

Currencies

Kraken and Coinbase both support  50+ cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin cash, Ethereum, Uniswap, Cardano, Chainlink, Compound, and more. As both platforms constantly add more currencies to their lists, you should check respective lists of all supported currencies for Kraken vs Coinbase on their websites. 

Both platforms allow you to purchase cryptocurrency and fractions of coins in USD.  The minimum amount order for Coinbase is $2. Kraken measures its minimum purchase amount in the native token.

Maximum trading amounts per day are $25,000 on Coinbase and $100,000 on Kraken.

Coinbase vs. Kraken Fees

The transaction fee structure is one of the key differences between Kraken and Coinbase. Coinbase has a very high baseline transaction fee of 4%. Kraken offers free fiat deposits for a bank transfer or a wire transfer and flat fees on crypto purchases. Kraken charges transaction fees according to the volume you trade in a 30-day rolling period.

Kraken fees:

  • Transactions $0 to $50,000 pay a 0.16% maker fee or a 0.26% taker fee
  • Transactions $50,001 to $100,00 pay a 0.14% maker fee or a 0.24% taker fee 
  • Transactions $100,001 to $250,000 pay a 0.12% maker fee or a 0.22% taker fee 
  • Transactions $250,001 to $500,000 pay a 0.10% maker fee or a 0.20% taker fee 
  • Transactions $500,001 to $1,000,000 pay a 0.08% maker fee or a 0.18% taker fee 
  • Transactions $1,000,001 to $2,500,000 pay a 0.06% maker fee or a 0.16% taker fee 
  • Transactions $2,500,001 to $5,000,000 pay a 0.04% maker fee or a 0.14% taker fee 
  • Transactions over $5,000,001 to $10,000,000 pay a 0.02% maker fee and a 0.12% taker fee
  • Transactions over $10,000,000 pay a 0% maker fee and a 0.10% taker fee

Coinbase fees:

  • 0.50% per trade
  • Additional 1.49% for bank account or Coinbase Wallet purchases
  • Additional 3.99% for debit or credit card purchases
  • $10 deposit
  • $25 withdrawal fee for wire transfers

As we can see, Kraken has lower fees.

Transfer Coinbase To Kraken

Transferring funds from the Coinbase Pro wallet to your Kraken account is simple. Just follow these steps:

  • Log in and click  “Accounts”.
  • Select the cryptocurrency you want to send from your wallet.
  • Input the address of your Kraken Account.
  • Provide your Kraken Deposit Address.

Fill in the required tabs to complete the process.

Which One To Choose

So, now you have all the information about Kraken and Coinbase to be able to choose the platform best suited to your priorities and preferences!

Do you prioritize margin trading and lower fees offered by Kraken?  Or, are security, a digital wallet, and a great user interface, offered by Coinbase your preferences?

To sum up, it’s worth noting that you don’t have to limit yourself by a difficult choice and can instead opt for opening accounts on both exchanges to receive multi-dimensional benefits.