The Bottom Line: Kraken is a reputable and competitive exchange founded in 2011. They have 50+ coins, tight spreads (0.25%), and 0.16% maker/0.26% taker trading fees. They also have industry leading support and features for beginner and pro traders. The main downside for Canadians is Kraken does not have interac e-transfer or any convenient funding and withdrawal options.
I ranked Kraken 5th best overall out of 11 exchanges for Canadians.
Fiat Currencies (7):
CAD, USD, EUR, AUD, GBP, CHF, JPY
Spread: 0.25% (On March 01, 2021)
Trading Fees: Up to 0.16% Maker, 0.26% Taker
Crypto Withdrawal Fees: 0.00015 BTC
In Person at Canada Post: $1.25 + 0.25% (max. $500)
Wire Transfer: 1-5 days - $11.50 fee
Pros & Cons
Kraken is U.S. based exchange founded back in 2011 and is known as one of the oldest crypto exchanges in the world and has a solid reputation.
They have over 7 million clients and 1800+ employees according to LinkedIn.
Currently, they are one of the top 5 largest crypto exchanges in the world by trading volume according to CoinMarketCap data.
The platform supports over 70 cryptocurrencies and 7 fiat currencies, including CAD.
Source Kraken.com Verification Tiers - Screenshot Aug 1, 2021
Opening a Kraken account can take 5-10 minutes and you can be verified nearly instantly. Kraken follows the usual KYC protocols meaning you must provide personal ID and information to get verified.
Who Is Eligible for Kraken?
- Anyone 18 years and up
- If you reside in a supported region (Canada is good)
These are the requirements for "starter" verification. More info will be required if you want to fully verify your account to gain access to more features.
- Email address
- Name, date of birth, address
- Phone number
- Enable 2FA
- Last 4 digits of SSN
Funding & Withdrawals
Kraken does not have interac e-transfers so it's a little harder, slower, and more expensive to fund your account compared to Canadian based platforms. You'll have to do wire transfer which might include additional bank fees (eg. $45 fee with RBC).
Another option is going to your local Canada Post and paying in person with credit or debit. This is one of the cheaper options but not the most practical.
Withdrawals are a little easier. There are 3 options, the best one is probably EFT where you simply add your bank details. With RBC, it would be a $17 fee to receive this wire transfer.
Source Kraken.com - Screenshot from Aug 1, 2021
Source Kraken.com - Screenshot from Aug 1, 2021
Crypto Withdrawal Fees
Kraken charges a flat fee for withdrawing cryptocurrencies. For example, to withdraw Bitcoin is a fee of 0.00015 BTC.
What's The Cheapest Way to Fund Your Kraken Account?
If you don't want to pay wire transfer fees, I recommend depositing crypto into your Kraken account. To do this, open an account on Newton which is a Canadian crypto exchange, buy XLM and transfer it to Kraken. Newton has free interac e-transfers to deposit your CAD, low spreads and $0 fees to withdraw XLM. It will also take under 1 minute to arrive.
Kraken is a relatively inexpensive crypto exchange. They have high volume, tight spreads, fair trading fees and fair crypto withdrawal fees. Depositing and withdrawing Canadian dollars is free in some instances, but you'll like pay third party fees on those options. For example, most banks charge wire transfer fees (RBC is $45 to send a wire and $17 to receive a wire).
Total BTC Purchase Fee
0.80% + $1.25
Up to 0.16% maker / 0.26% taker
Free - $11.50 (not including bank or third party fees)
Free - $35.00 (not including bank or third party fees)
Kraken Spread (Mar 01, 2021)
On March 01, 2021, I manually tested the spread for over 10 crypto exchanges so you can compare them side by side. Here are Kraken's results:
BTC Buy Price
BTC Sell Price
Ref. Price Difference
Reference Price (Google)
Kraken's List of Features
Being one of the world's largest crypto exchanges, Kraken offers a variety of features including lots of stuff not available on platforms based in Canada.
Kraken takes security very seriously. They were founded in 2011 and have never been hacked or lost users funds which is a good track record. Their protocols say 95% of their crypto is held offline in cold storage which is also geographically distributed. In addition, their servers are in secure cages 24/7 monitored by armed guards.
On the user side, Kraken offers 2 factor authentication, email confirmations for withdrawals, and other security settings. Kraken's focus on security is a big reason for their good reputation however, even their CEO says not to hold your crypto on exchanges. Although they do everything they can for security, the safest way to store your crypto is on a hardware wallet.
Kraken's support has an extensive help centre, 24/7 live chat to communicate directly with the team, and they offer phone support if they feel you require it. However, there are only a few issues they can help you with over the phone.
Kraken vs. the Competition
*Total BTC Purchase Fee
Best CAD Deposit Fee
BTC Withdrawal Fee
0.1% / 0.2%
0.1% / 0.2%
Network fees minus $5
0.80% + $1.25
0.16% / 0.26%
*Total BTC Purchase Fee was calculated on Mar 01, 2021 and changes daily. It adds all fees to make a purchase (CAD deposit fees, trading fees, etc) plus the % difference to Google's price of Bitcoin which was the reference price.
This table is up to date as of Aug 13, 2021
Best Kraken Alternatives
I ranked Kraken 5th overall for Canadians. Here are the best alternatives depending on your needs:
Newton is based in Canada so offers free and faster funding and withdrawal methods, including e-transfers. They also have 25+ coins, zero trading fees, cheap crypto withdrawals, and a great user interface. However, you wont find the advanced features that are on Kraken. You can also use Newton to cheaply fund your Kraken account by transferring your crypto there.
Binance is like Kraken on steroids. It's the largest crypto exchange in the world with 350+ cryptocurrencies, up to 0.1% trading fees, and many more advanced features. However, it also has poor funding and withdrawal options for Canadians which is why I recommend a Newton account as well so you can cheaply deposit crypto. Also, Binance is unfortunately not available in Ontario anymore.
NDAX is a Canadian platform with 15+ coins, tight spreads, 0.2% trading fees and some advanced charts and features. It's not nearly as advanced as Kraken, but does have an order book, multiple order types and trading view charts. Since it's Canadian, you get convenient deposit and withdrawal options via e-transfer and more.
Where Kraken Shines:
Features - You can trade over 50 cryptocurrencies, play with margin, try staking, and do a lot of stuff that other Canadian based exchanges don't offer right now.
Best Reputation - Kraken has been operating since 2011, is one of the world's largest crypto exchanges, and has one of the longest, most solid reputations in the industry.
Where Kraken Falls Short:
Inconvenient Funding Options - Kraken has a variety of funding options but there's no interac e-transfer or linking your bank account. You must either do a wire transfer (which could include bank fees), use Etana Custody (a third party with $35 fee), or go to your nearest Canada Post location ($1.25 + 0.25%). All of the options are slow and will include fees either through Kraken or through your bank.
Not based in Canada - Kraken is available in the USA and 190 countries so who knows if the small Canadian market is at the top of their to-do list. If Canada isn't their top priority, it might take a while to get interac e-transfers and other cool features.
Kraken is a trustworthy platform that offers 50+ cryptocurrencies, good spreads, low fees and beginner and pro features. The downside is their funding options for Canadians can be slow or pricey. If you're worried about that, I would also sign up for a Canadian exchange like Newton so you can deposit crypto onto Kraken for free.
Who Should Use Kraken?
- If you want access to 50+ cryptocurrencies
- If you want professional and advanced features
- If you want a trustworthy exchange with lots of volume
- If you want to try Kraken Earn to earn interest on your crypto
Who Should Not Use Kraken?
- Beginners because they might get overwhelmed
- Any Canadian that wants free, instant CAD deposits and withdrawals
- Trade 50+ cryptocurrencies
- Tight spreads and low fees
- Beginner and pro features
Yes, Kraken is considered one of the safest and most trusted crypto exchanges. Their servers are under 24/7 surveillance, with video monitors and armed guards. Nothing passes without intense review. All user's data is encrypted on secure servers. Kraken has never been hacked. However, it is always best to store your crypto offline in a hardware wallet since exchanges are a target for hacks.
Yes, Kraken is registered as a money service business regulated by FINTRAC and AML in Canada. Kraken is also regulated by FinCEN in the U.S.
No, Kraken was founded in 2011 and has never been hacked. They are one of the oldest crypto exchanges and have one of the best track records. They store 95% of crypto assets offline and in cold storage. You can see all of their security protocols here.