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Kraken vs Coinbase

We break down and compare the key differences between two of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges currently on offer.

Kraken and Coinbase have grown into two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Both allow budding investors a place to purchase cryptocurrencies, but achieve this with very different user packages.

Based primarily in the US since its establishment in 2012, Coinbase is designed around a user-friendly instant purchase process that is often the go-to for those first venturing into the cryptocurrency space. The spot exchange is efficient and simple.

Founded in 2011, instant purchases are still an option at Kraken, but that is not where the focus lies. Kraken offers a much broader range of features including a dedicated cryptocurrency exchange, margin trading and futures.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

At a glance: Kraken vs Coinbase

Kraken

Picture not described

Coinbase

LocationUnited StatesUnited States
Supports fiat currencies?USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUDUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN & 10+ more
Range of supported cryptocurrencies?81 cryptocurrencies75 cryptocurrencies
Features
  • Instant cryptocurrency purchases
  • Multiple order types
  • Advanced charting software
  • API Keys
  • Margin trading
  • Cryptocurrency futures
  • OTC desk
  • Dark pools
  • Instant buy
  • Recurring buy
  • Staking
  • Coinbase Earn
  • Coinbase Wallet
FeesMaker fees range between 0.00-0.16%

Taker fees range between 0.10-0.26%

3.75% + €0.25 for instant buy purchases with cards

1.7% + $0.10 for instant buy with online banking

Deposit fees vary

Withdrawal fees vary

Approx 0.5% per trade plus Coinbase Fee, which is the greater of a dollar or percentage fee depending on location, payment method and product feature used
Customer supportDedicated client engagement team to answer questions 24/7, 365 days of the year

Account management services for advanced traders

Online help centre, email and social media
User interfaceIntermediate
  • Designed for a more active and advanced cryptocurrency user
  • Offers advanced trading systems such as options trading, futures trading and margin trading
  • Bold, educational webpages but less user-friendly exchange platform
  • Three Kraken mobile apps: Kraken, Kraken Pro and Kraken Futures
Beginner
  • Several deposit methods available
  • Beginner-friendly interface
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Access to advance platform Coinbase Pro available with the same account
  • Set up recurring buy for regular purchases
Set-up for new usersNew users must provide the following:
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Physical address

Further information is required for tiered features

New users must provide the following:
  • Email address
  • Proof of ID
  • Photo of self with present date for verification
Supported countriesGlobal (restrictions for US users)Global
Learn more

Features

Kraken

  • Instant buy: Buy cryptocurrency instantly with a card
  • Multiple order types: Market orders include limit, market, stop limit and trailing stop
  • Advanced charting software: Perform technical analysis
  • API Keys: Integrate Kraken with third-party apps and software
  • Margin trading: For advanced traders, Kraken offers increased leverage Crypto futures exchange
  • OTC desk: For high net worth individuals looking to invest in cryptocurrency
  • Dark pools: A way of obscuring large market orders

Coinbase

  • Instant buy: Buy cryptocurrency instantly with a card
  • Recurring buy: Automate regular cryptocurrency purchases
  • Staking: Earn interest on your funds
  • Coinbase Earn: Get paid for learning about cryptocurrency
  • Coinbase Wallet: Transfer funds to your own cryptocurrency wallet for spending

Supported cryptocurrencies and fiat

Kraken

  • Supported fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUD
  • Supported cryptocurrencies: Approximately 81 cryptocurrencies

Coinbase

  • Supported fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN & 10+ more
  • Supported cryptocurrencies: Approximately 75 cryptocurrencies

*Availability varies by location

Trading Fees

Kraken

  • Spot trading fees work on a maker/taker system. Market makers receive a slight discount for providing market liquidity. A trade receives the maker discount if the trade is not matched to an order already in the order book.
  • Trading fees start at 0.26% for market takers and reduce as trading volume increases, down to a possible 0.00%.
  • Fees vary for stablecoin exchanges, dark pool trades and margin trades.

Coinbase

  • Fees vary and depend on the order type.
  • The average fee for buy/sell transactions is 0.5%, but this can increase depending on your payment method and where you are located.
  • Purchases of between $1 and $200 are also charged a flat fee between US$0.99 and US$2.99.
  • Be prepared to pay up to 4% for purchases with a debit or credit card.
  • Crypto-to-crypto transactions are charged at 2%.

Payment methods

Kraken

  • Bank transfer
  • Cryptocurrency
  • SWIFT
  • Wire transfer
  • Osko
  • SEPA

*Available methods depend on the fiat currency and/or country

Coinbase

  • Bank transfer (ACH)
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • PayPal
  • Bank transfer (SEPA)

*Available methods depend on the fiat currency and/or country

Volume

According to CoinGecko, Kraken is the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, just behind Coinbase which takes the second spot.

At the time of writing, the 24-hour trading volume on Kraken was $2.5 billion, whilst Coinbase’s 24-hour trading volume was $4 billion.

Volumes suggest that liquidity on both exchanges should be good and orders filled with little slippage in prices.

Security

Coinbase and Kraken both offer two-factor authentication via the Google Authenticator app, which aims to prevent unauthorised access to user accounts. Two-factor authentication is an industry-wide practise that requires a code to be entered within a set time period before access to your account is granted. Kraken offers users further account protection via the option to use a U2F hardware key for account access.

Coinbase keeps 98% of all cryptocurrencies within cold (offline) storage. This means that the assets are not connected to the Internet, and are not at risk of a hack. The remaining 2% are insured. In case the exchange was hacked and funds drained this should mean users are reimbursed the full amount. Coinbase also insures users’ individual USD holdings up to a maximum of $250,000. Kraken follows a similar storage procedure keeping 95% of cryptocurrencies in cold storage and was the first exchange to offer cryptographic proof of company reserves, which can be checked via your Kraken account.

For online storage, Coinbase provides users with the Coinbase wallet. This is a digital wallet secured by a password and biometric controls. Similar to other wallets, it provides a 12-word recovery seed phrase. Kraken does not provide an independent wallet service due to a focus on exchange services, but every withdrawal address provided to Kraken undergoes a rigorous verification process. Kraken recommends user funds should be stored in a hardware wallet when not frequently used.

Regulation

Coinbase is based and registered in the US, which means that it must comply with and follow financial services and consumer protection laws. The exchange is also authorised by the FCA in the UK.

Headquartered in San Francisco, US, like Coinbase, Kraken complies with US financial services and consumer protection laws. Kraken is also registered in multiple countries globally and complies with all of the associated laws. The parent company, Payward Inc, holds the registered money services business in the US.

Verdict

Coinbase

Coinbase offers an efficient service for those first entering the cryptocurrency space. It is one of the most convenient for US investors but is still a useful exchange for those situated globally. The set of products offered by Coinbase is certainly directed towards those seeking simplicity and a user-friendly experience, albeit for a slightly higher transaction cost.

With the second-largest daily trading volume and a tried and tested exchange system, Coinbase is a solid choice for first-time and experienced investors.

Kraken

Third in terms of daily trading volume, Kraken offers a feature-packed exchange for the beginner to intermediate cryptocurrency user.

Hosting spot, futures and options trading capabilities, Kraken’s features outweigh those offered by many competitors. The lower fee structure makes Kraken a versatile option for those seeking to exchange cryptocurrencies frequently.

Compare Kraken and Coinbase

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Coinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH), Credit card, Debit card, PayPal, Bank transfer (SEPA)
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN & 10+ more

75
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell major cryptocurrencies on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
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Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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