Coinbase vs. Kraken Comparison

Coinbase vs. Kraken Comparison, June 2021

Coinbase and Kraken are exchange platforms that allow you to buy various other currencies using FIAT money (USD or EUR) and are particularly geared towards amateur investors.

Coinbase and Kraken are two of the biggest names in the crypto exchange world out of the multitude of platforms that exist.

Platforms usually vary in several key points such as; fee structures, region, security, ease of use, features, support and so on. 

Traders have come in droves, especially with the latest explosion in the crypto markets. With 24 hour round the clock trading activity and potential for profits these exchange platforms have become powerhouses in the crypto world.

Our two exchange platforms today are top contenders in all of our categories, and today we will dive a little deeper and take a closer look at some key differences and advantages of each platform.

Coinbase

Founded in 2012 with the radical idea that anyone anywhere should be able to easily and securely send and receive Bitcoin.

Since it’s inception in 2012 Coinbase has grown substantially and on April 14, 2021became the first US based crypto exchange to go public.

Today they offer service to over 56 Million verified traders and hold over 200 Billion dollars in assets on their platform alone.

In the most recent quarter Coinbase calculated over 330 Billion dollars in trading volume through their platform alone.

Coinbase serves over 100 countries and has 1700 employees worldwide. With it’s most recent valuation Coinbase is worth just under 60 billion dollars. 

Kraken

In 2011, founder Jesse Powell saw a need for a new exchange to replace the recently hacked Mt.Gox, which at the time controlled most of the crypto exchange market.

With meager beginnings, offering only Bitcoin, Litecoin, and the Euro Kraken has grown to become one the world’s largest and most popular exchanges worldwide.

Kraken is more of a European name as that’s where the exchange was originally founded, so it is less known in the US.

 It is very beginner friendly, offering plenty of education and information along with inexpensive low volume trading fees.

Kraken quickly jumped to the forefront of trading platforms when it was a key player in helping Mt.Gox users obtain their stolen Bitcoin.

Kraken itself oversaw the liquidation of Mt.Gox totalling about $60 million dollars of Bitcoin and Yen at the time, and returning it to their rightful owners. Today Kraken offers over 200 trading pairs and over 60 cryptocurrencies to choose from.

Fee Structures

In 2011, founder Jesse Powell saw a need for a new exchange to replace the recently hacked Mt.Gox, which at the time controlled most of the crypto exchange market.

With meager beginnings, offering only Bitcoin, Litecoin, and the Euro Kraken has grown to become one the world’s largest and most popular exchanges worldwide.

Kraken is more of a European name as that’s where the exchange was originally founded, so it is less known in the US. It is very beginner friendly, offering plenty of education and information along with inexpensive low volume trading fees.

Kraken quickly jumped to the forefront of trading platforms when it was a key player in helping Mt.Gox users obtain their stolen Bitcoin.

Kraken itself oversaw the liquidation of Mt.Gox totalling about $60 million dollars of Bitcoin and Yen at the time, and returning it to their rightful owners. Today Kraken offers over 200 trading pairs and over 60 cryptocurrencies to choose from.

Maker-Taker Fees

The maker-taker fee model is used by both Coinbase and Kraken for determining your fees per trade. Depending on your 30-day trading volume, you will fall into a specific bracket that determines your maker and taker fees.

Below are charts to easily help you figure out where you can most likely find yourself. If you are not sure which category your trade falls under I will provide an example to try and clarify.

When I place an order at market price and it gets filled immediately, I will fall under the taker fee category.

On the flip side is if I place an order that is not immediately filled and get put on the order book and then somebody comes along and matches my order, I will pay maker fees as I added to the liquidity of the market by posting my trade.

Coinbase Fees

PRICING TIERTAKER FEEMAKER FEE
<$10K.5%.5%
$10 - $50K.35%.35%
$50 - $100K.25%.15%
$100K - $1M.2%.1%
$1 - $10M.18%.08%
$10 - $50M.15%.05%
$50 - $100M.1%0
$100 - $300M.07%0
$300 - $500M.06%0
$500 - $1B.05%0
$1B+.04%0

If you are an active day trader and manage a fairly decent sized 30 day trading volume then coinbase offers fairly competitive fee structures. Having said that, the entry level fees for low volume traders is very high. 

Coinbase also charges a 1% fee to convert crypto into fiat currency for withdrawal, as well as a flat 10$ charge for depositing wire transfer and $25 charge for withdrawing a wire transfer. ACH deposits and withdrawals on the other hand are completely free. 

Kraken Fees

30-DAY VOLUMETAKER FEEMAKER FEE
<$50K.26%.16%
$50K - $100K.24%.14%
$100K - $250K.22%.12%
$250K - $500K.20%.1%
$500K - $1M.18%.08%
$1M - $2.5M.16%.06%
$2.5M - $5M.14%.04
$5M - $10M.12%.02
$10M+.1%0

Kraken offers a very competitive beginning rate for low volume traders. This is a very nice gesture on their part and doesn’t punish new traders as much. Kraken also calculates their fees on your 30 day trading volume.

Once you get into the higher trading volumes though, the competitive edge is lost and fees are comparable to Coinbase’s fees. Kraken offers a flat charge of $20 withdrawal fees and $4 deposit for wire transfers in the States.                                                           

Kraken’s origins being in Europe, makes it more of an international trading platform and offers many other options for other countries such as Canada where Kraken offers Canadian traders free wire transfer withdrawals over a minimum of $1000 CAD.

The Kraken platform allows for withdrawal of USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, GBP, CHF, JPY offering plenty of viable options for funding and withdrawal no matter where you are from.


Category Winner

Having the lowest and most competitive fees for trading, especially for day traders is one of the most important, if not THE, most important reason to pick a platform.

Both Coinbase and Kraken Pro use the same fee structure for their trading fees. Kraken fees are better overall and are much more competitive for the lower volume traders out there.

Kraken is definitely more beginner-friendly as right from the get-go you get hit with half the taker fees that Coinbase charges. In combination with better options for withdrawing fiat currency and cheaper wire transfers in the form of a flat rate fee, Kraken takes the win in this category. 

Security

Coinbase has always been very serious about their security from the get go. In an age where companies getting hacked is regular occurrence, Coinbase has not suffered one single direct attack. That’s and impressive record to uphold. 

Kraken has only ever experienced one security threat back in 2016. Several accounts were compromised by hackers and the attack amounted to only several hundred dollars in theft and not much else.

Ever since then, Kraken has double downed on their security, creating the Kraken Security Labs team. They have already contributed greatly to the general market safety by exposing flaws in recent hardware wallets.

As far as logging in and credentials, both platforms offer a two step verification process for an added layer of security.

Overall, both companies offer great security measures and take it very seriously. In this case I’d have to say they are pretty equal and both exchange platforms are a safe bet to trade with. 

Liquidity And Volume

CoinMarketCap’s scoring of exchange liquidity which accounts for size and spread of an order book as well as price slippage and other factors put both contenders on an even playing field in the low 400s.

The small difference between the scoring is negligible as they change all the time and overtake one another on a regular basis. 

Both exchange platforms also have very similar trading volumes on a daily time frame. Kraken offers a lot more trading pairs due to who they cater to being a more worldwide consumer base. 

In short, both exchange platforms offer great liquidity and trading volume. The only difference between the two being that Kraken offers a lot more trading pairs than Coinbase. If you only stick to the majors then there is virtually no difference between our two trading platforms. 


Interface

Coinbase

To be clear I will be talking about the Coinbase Pro interface. Coinbase offers all the tools needed in a sleek package for professional traders.

Charts, order books, indicators, and analysis tools, will help all traders get a better grasp on the general state of the market. 

New traders may want to start in the regular interface as the advanced Pro interface can be very overwhelming for new traders. 

In addition to a great trading platform, Coinbase offers their services in App form as well. The Coinbase Pro mobile app has been highly praised and reviewed for its simplicity and ease of use. 

Kraken

The kraken exchange interface is not as pretty as Coinbase, and one could call it “old school” That being said, the old interface still gets the job done and with more variety in trading pairs to boot.

A point of confusion in the Kraken platform is that Kraken uses the ticker XBT for Bitcoin instead of the more widely used BTC ticker.

This can be confusing to new traders and admittedly I searched for BTC several times out of habit.

Using the charting provided by kraken I can trade straight from the chart and prefer to do most of my trading this way. It paints a much better idea of your position in the market. 

The Kraken trading app is arguably the best part of the platform. It is incredibly simple and easy to use. Rated 4.5/5 stars, Kraken clearly focused their budget on the app and not their standard platform.

I love using the app for getting a general understanding of what is happening in the market but prefer to place my trades in chart view. 


Other Considerations

A popular topic of debate recently has been the willingness for Coinbase to sell customer data to the US government. More specifically referring to the IRS and DEA.

The company will profit by providing identity data which is the complete opposite of what cryptocurrencies stands for. With Coinbase now being publicly traded, there is even more pressure from the public eye and shareholders. 

Kraken on the other hand has fallen under scrutiny for potentially violating international sanctions. There is a pending lawsuit filed against the exchange which highlights issues such as employee harassment and falsifying legal documents.

These are only allegations however, they end up being true, it would violate multiple US laws and cause repercussions for the exchange. 

Final Note

Overall, both exchanges are frustratingly evenly matched in most departments. Bothe Exchanges are the best of the best and offer the best services you will find anywhere. At the end of the day, it will come down to a few small details or your personal preference. 

If user interface and ease of use is more important to you, then Coinbase is your go to choice. Beginners will find the interface easier to use on Coinbase’s exchange. 

If the lowest fees are what you are after and you are a lower volume trader with some grasp of how the market works, then Kaken is your best bet. Kraken’s low volume rates are super competitive and cannot be overlooked as a new trader. 

Any international traders not based in the US should prefer to lean towards Kraken as their preferred exchange. Kraken offers significantly more pairs for trading as well as easier international withdrawal and deposit options. 

Overall, regardless of your choice of the two crypto exchange giants, you can’t go wrong with either pick as they are both well reviewed and established. 

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