Kraken vs Coinbase

Two of the biggest crypto platforms go head to head in our exchange showdown.

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Kraken is the smaller of the 2 exchanges, with 9 million users compared to Coinbase’s 98 million. Where Coinbase is known for its beginner-friendly approach, Kraken is more focused on advanced traders. With a number of Kraken’s services not available in the UK, does it have enough on offer to compete with Coinbase?

Round 1: Vital statistics

Kraken Cryptocurrency ExchangeCoinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Overall rating★★★★★★★★★★
Costs rating★★★★★★★★★★
FCA-registered
Exchange locationUK/USUS
Offers a debit card
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More Info
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Kraken is one of the crypto exchanges registered (as Payward Ltd) with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). While crypto isn’t regulated in the UK, it does mean that Kraken has passed checks for anti-money laundering and terrorism financing. Only crypto companies operating in the UK need to register. The FCA has banned crypto platforms from selling crypto derivatives to UK users. As a lot of Kraken’s advanced trading services are focused on margin trading and futures, there is quite a lot of it that you won’t be able to use as a UK resident.

Winner: Tie

Round 2: Supported coins

Kraken Cryptocurrency ExchangeCoinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Number of tradeable crypto assets229256
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Kraken and Coinbase are pretty evenly matched when it comes to coins. There is support for the major coins on both exchanges, but also a large number of niche coins. You are most likely to find what you need with either platform.

Winner: Tie

Round 3: Supported fiat currencies

Kraken Cryptocurrency ExchangeCoinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Number of supported fiat currencies723
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Coinbase’s size and global reach mean that it wins when it comes to the number of fiat currencies supported. Kraken does cover the popular ones – most importantly GBP – but Coinbase has more variety in the mix.

Winner: Coinbase

Round 4: Fees

Kraken Cryptocurrency ExchangeCoinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Minimum deposits£1£50
Deposit FeesCash: £0–£21 depending on method of deposit
Cryptocurrency: Mostly free but requires a minimum balance to deposit
ACH: Free
Wire transfer: $10
SEPA: €0.15
SWIFT: Free
Trading Fee1.5% plus spreadMaker fee: 0.00-0.4%
Taker fee: 0.05-0.6%
Withdrawal FeesCash: £1.95 - £35 depending on method of withdrawal (min. withdrawal £5)
Cryptocurrency: Minimum withdrawal requirement and flat-rate withdrawal fee that varies for each cryptocurrency
ACH: Free
Wire transfer: $25
SEPA: €0.15
SWIFT: £1
Deposit methodsBank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, SWIFTBank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Debit card, PayPal
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Coinbase can be a bit confusing when it comes to fees. It’s not particularly transparent, which makes it hard to know how much you’ll pay for each transaction. Overall, its deposit fees are higher than Kraken’s but its trading fees are lower. Kraken is quite pricey – charging a trading fee as well as a spread, which can add up quickly. However, both platforms have Pro versions which offer discounted fees for frequent traders.

Winner: Coinbase

Round 5: Wallets

Kraken doesn’t provide a personal wallet service. Instead, it allows you to deposit funds into its corporate wallet while the funds are being exchanged or used for staking. In stark contrast, Coinbase has a self-custody wallet so you can remain in complete control of your cryptoassets. It’s separate from the Coinbase exchange, although it is compatible to use with your Coinbase account.

Winner: Coinbase

Round 6: Ease of Use

Kraken is a solid choice for users who want to expand their knowledge of cryptocurrency. However, its UI is geared more towards advanced trading and can be overwhelming for a new trader who is unfamiliar with charting or some of the terminology. Coinbase is well-known for having a beginner-friendly interface and the volume on the exchange makes it easy to quickly buy or sell at any time.

Winner: Coinbase

Round 7: Security

The size and scale of both platforms mean that they’re considered some of the most secure. Coinbase did experience a hack in October 2021, but all affected customers were reimbursed. Both have insurance in place and conduct regular security audits. Kraken slightly edges it, since it has never experienced a hack and the fact it is on the FCA’s cryptoasset firm register.

Winner: Kraken

Verdict: Is Coinbase better than Kraken?

Coinbase wins overall but they’re both strong contenders. They have a wealth of educational resources and a good amount of supported coins, and are established enough to make buying and selling crypto easy. Coinbase just edges out Kraken, though, for its ease of use and more competitive fees. Kraken is more set up for advanced traders, so if you’re a beginner this may be overwhelming. Added to this, UK users aren’t eligible for some of its services, so you may find more value using Coinbase.

*Cryptocurrencies aren't regulated in the UK and there's no protection from the Financial Ombudsman or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Your capital is at risk. Capital gains tax on profits may apply.

Cryptocurrencies are speculative and investing in them involves significant risks - they're highly volatile, vulnerable to hacking and sensitive to secondary activity. The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This content shouldn't be interpreted as a recommendation to invest. Before you invest, you should get advice and decide whether the potential return outweighs the risks. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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