Kraken vs Coinbase Comparison | Which Cryptocurrency Exchange Is Better?

Kraken and Coinbase are some of the largest and most reputable online currency exchanges. However, it’s also important to understand their differences.
If you are buying cryptocurrencies for the first time, Coinbase makes it easy to exchange U.S. dollars for Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum.

But if you have been around the block when it comes to cryptocurrency trading, Kraken may be a better fit because of its lower fees, higher limits and broader range of trading pairs.

Kraken was founded in July of 2011 by the current CEO, Jesse Powell, in San Francisco USA.

However, it was not until September of 2013 that the exchange officially opened their order books to the public. In the early days of Bitcoin trading it managed to pick up a number of accolades.

For example, in 2014, it became the top exchange in Euro volume for Bitcoin. Such was the trust in the Kraken price feeds and market data that Bloomberg decided to pull these numbers for the pricing on their terminals. They also have other things under their belt like completing the first cryptographically secure audit.

Kraken also was chosen in relation to another high profile cryptocurrency debacle of the Mt. Gox hack. They were chosen by the trustee of the exchange to be the partner that would pay out the creditors who fell victim to the exchange.

 What is Kraken?

Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange, but you already knew that, didn’t you? It allows users to trade with fiat currencies as well as for cryptocurrencies.

Kraken allows users to trade in these fiat currencies:

US Dollars (USD)
Japanese Yen (JPY)
Canadian Dollars (CAD)
British Pounds (GBP)
Euros (EUR)
The amount that is spent in each of these currencies is called their trading volume. Kraken has the largest Euro trading volume of any other exchange.

The exchange has 18 different cryptocurrencies to trade with and 56 unique trading pairs.

Countries and Assets
Kraken is one of the so called “Fiat Gateways”. This means that many people will use the exchange in order to buy and sell Bitcoin for a Fiat currency. With that being said, Kraken currently offers trading to a number of different countries with different Fiat currencies.

They are available to residents in Europe, Canada and the US. They also allow Fiat deposits in Euros, USD and Canadian Dollars. They used to accept Japanese Yen payments but had to shut this down recently given banking regulations.

What really impressed us about Kraken was the range of crypto pairs that they had in comparison to some of the larger fiat exchanges. Below is a list of all the cryptocurrencies that you have the option of trading:

This is far more extensive than other competitors such as Coinbase, Bitstamp and the like. In terms of the particular Fiat crosses, they have over 47 market pairs. Kraken has also crossed all of their altcoins with Bitcoin to create BTC markets.

Mobile Support
Like most other exchanges out there today, Kraken is also available as a mobile app. This means that you no longer need a desktop to access the crypto trading world. As long as you can download apps from App Store or Google Play, you’re good to go.

Supported Payment Methods
Wire Transfer

Supported Countries
Kraken offers its services to more than 180 countries worldwide on 4 continents, including Europe, America, Asia, and Australia. There are only a handful of countries that are currently not supported. 

Kraken does not provide services to residents in the following countries:

North Korea
Washington and New York states in the US

High liquidity
Most trusted crypto exchange
Cheap/free deposits in EUR
Cheap deposits for USA (ACH, FedWire)
Was accountable for Mtgox liquidation
Margin Trading and Futures supported
Customizability and variety of order types and position options
Potential low fees

Low leverage
Deposits can be expensive for certain users
Different trading fees
Slow connection

What Is Coinbase?

Coinbase is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, based in the U.S. and operating at varying capacities in 103 other countries including the likes of the U.K., Mexico, and Spain. A cryptocurrency exchange, as the name suggests, functions as a middleman in the crypto market, providing a platform for users to buy and sell different coins. Exchanges vary on factors ranging from the type of coins it trades, whether it allows for purchases with fiat money (USD, EUR, JPY), transaction fees, and processing times.
For those looking to purchase the most popular cryptocurrencies with fiat money, Coinbase remains one of the most secure and used options out there. It features an easy-to-use interface that makes it great for those looking to get into buying and trading cryptocurrencies for the first time. Processing times can be lengthy though, typically lasting between three to five days, another reason why this service caters more toward those looking into cryptocurrencies for the first time than those looking to make serious trades.

Is Coinbase Safe?
Like all custodial exchanges, which store millions of dollars worth of user’s crypto assets at any given time, Coinbase is a tempting target for hackers. But they have yet to suffer any significant hacks. They have implemented several important security measures. First of all, most funds are stored in offline encrypted wallets, and those wallets are distributed among several different places. For added security, two-factor authentication (2FA) is mandatory for all users. A few months ago, Coinbase reported that they had been targeted by hackers this past June, but the security team blocked the attempt without any crypto being stolen. Almost any Coinbase review you find will speak highly of their security.

Customer Support
Coinbase offers customer support through email or phone. Email responses from support typically arrive within 24-72 hours. For general questions, they also have an extensive FAQ section on their site.

Supported Countries
Coinbase serves customers in the following countries:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States

Buy and Sell Limits
Buy and sell limits can vary by user location, payment method, and verification status. You can view your limits at any time, by viewing your account’s limits page. As a verified U.S. customer, you likely will be able to get these weekly limits fairly easily:

$5,000 Buy through Bank Account.
$50 Buy through Credit/Debit Card
$50,000 Sell
You can apply for higher limits if these limits don’t meet your needs. Your limits for instant purchases may not be able to be increased.

Easier to use than an exchange
Buy cryptocurrency faster than most exchanges
Buy cryptocurrency with debit cards (in addition to bank transfers)
Lower fees than “easy buy” competitors
Trustworthy and regulated company
Safely stores customer funds

Monitors how you spend your cryptocurrency
Wallets are less secure than a wallet you control yourself
Slightly higher fees than most exchanges

Also Read - Binance vs Bittrex: Crypto Exchange Comparison, Which Crypto Exchange Is Better?