Kraken Review for Canadians

Updated: Aug 1, 2021 | Published: February 15, 2021   

By: Alex Dabek

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4.0

NowFuture Rating:

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.

Kraken Exchange Logo 1

Kraken Overview

Overall:

4.0

Coins Available:

50+

Fiat Currencies (7):

CAD, USD, EUR, AUD, GBP, CHF, JPY

Fees:

Spread: 0.25% (On March 01, 2021)

Trading Fees:  Up to 0.16% Maker, 0.26% Taker

Crypto Withdrawal Fees: 0.00015 BTC

Funding Methods:

In Person at Canada Post: $1.25 + 0.25% (max. $500)

Wire Transfer: 1-5 days - $11.50 fee

Pros & Cons

  • Trusted crypto exchange with over 7 million clients
  • 50+ coins which is far more than any Canadian based exchange
  • Lots of features for beginner and experienced traders
  • 2nd lowest spread out of 11 exchanges I tested
  • Industry leading support and 24/7 live chat
  • Inconvenient and expensive funding options for $CAD, no interac e-transfer
  • Operates in 160 countries so Canadian features might not be their top priority
  • Low reviews on their iOS and Android app

Screenshots:

Kraken Mobile App Trading View

About Kraken

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.


Verification

Kraken Verification Tiers

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)

Minimum Requirements

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.

CAD Deposits

Kraken CAD Funding Options and Fees

Source Kraken.com - Screenshot from Aug 1, 2021

CAD Withdrawals

Kraken CAD Withdrawals

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 Fees

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

Trading Fees

Up to 0.16% maker / 0.26% taker

CAD Deposits

Free - $11.50 (not including bank or third party fees)

CAD Withdrawals

Free - $35.00 (not including bank or third party fees)

BTC Withdrawals

0.00015 BTC

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 Spread

0.25%

BTC Buy Price

$62,238

BTC Sell Price

$62,082

Ref. Price Difference

Buy: +0.29%
Sell: +0.04%

Reference Price (Google)

$62,058


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.

  • iOS, Android and Web App - Kraken has three mobile apps: Kraken, Kraken Pro, and Kraken Futures. They are compatible with most Android and iOS devices. You can also access your account through their website. 
  • 24/7 Live Support - Use their help centre for FAQs, live chat, or phone support.
  • Instant Buy and Kraken Pro Trading - Whether you're a beginner or need advanced tools, Kraken has you covered.
  • Staking Rewards - You can earn rewards while HODLing your crypto assets. They have competitive interest rates and up to 8 digital assets you can stake in Canada. This includes ETH, ADA, DOT and more.
  • Kraken Terminal - Kraken has a free professional trading terminal available to its users. Its interface is derived from Cryptowatch, but its features are limited.
  • Cryptowatch - Cryptowatch is a premium trading terminal owned by Kraken. Its features include market charting data, price alerts, and real-time data on over 4000 markets from 25 exchanges.
  • Margin Trading - Kraken is one of the first exchanges to begin Bitcoin leveraged margin trading. They allow you to access more funds to maximize your trades. You can access up to 5x leverage. They charge 0.02% every 4 hours in roll-over fees.
  • Futures Trading - Kraken allows you to apply for up to 50X leverage in futures trading. You can hedge your trades and maximize profits in long or short positions.
  • Dark Pool - Kraken announced its new dark pool feature where clients can make orders that are not visible to the market. It is like a private order book where you can anonymously place large buy and sell orders without anyone knowing.
  • OTC Exchange - Kraken assists businesses and high-profile individuals to facilitate bulk orders of cryptocurrency. They provide a personalized over-the-counter service with high liquidity and privacy.
  • Bug Bounty Rewards - Kraken rewards BTC to independent researchers who find security bugs on their systems.
  • Educational Resources - Learn about cryptocurrencies via Kraken's beginner guide's, webinars and other in-depth resources.  

Security

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.


Support

Kraken Support

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

Compare Kraken below with other popular Canadian crypto exchanges. You can also see more data here or check out our best exchanges of the year.

Name

Coins

*Total BTC Purchase Fee

Best CAD Deposit Fee

Trading Fee

BTC Withdrawal Fee

2

1.43%

Free

0%

Free

7

1.41%

Free

0.50%

0.0005 BTC

9

2.60%

Free

0.20%

0.00025 BTC

9

2.29%

1.50%

0.1% / 0.2%

0.00025 BTC

10

0.72%

Free

0.1% / 0.2%

0.0005 BTC

16

0.50%

Free

0.20%

0.000399 BTC

19

2.83%

Free

0%

0.0003 BTC

20+

3.48%

Free

1.48%

N/A

20+

1.48%

Free

0%

0.00025 BTC

25+

0.66%

Free

0%

0.0005 BTC

40+

0.69%

Free

0%

Network fees minus $5

50+

0.80% + $1.25

Free

0.16% / 0.26%

0.00015 BTC

75+

4.55%

3.99%

0.50%

Network fees

100+

1.52%

Free

0%

0.0004 BTC

350+

2.24%

2.00%

0.10%

0.0005 BTC

*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:

Competitive Fees - Kraken's best total purchase fee to buy Bitcoin was 0.80% + $1.25 CAD on March 01, 2021. This was fifth place out of 11 Canadian exchanges I compared.

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.


In Summary

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
Kraken Exchange Logo 2
  • Trade 50+ cryptocurrencies
  • Tight spreads and low fees
  • Beginner and pro features

FAQ

Is Kraken Safe?

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.

Is Kraken Regulated in Canada?

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.

Has Kraken Ever Been Hacked?

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.

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