What Is Kraken? Answering Your Questions About the Crypto Platform

There are thousands of exchanges worldwide that you can trade crypto on. However, the vast majority of trading is facilitated by a handful of sites. Exchanges like Binance and Coinbase are the ones you really need to know about when choosing the right platform for you.


Kraken is another major crypto trading platform that handles a high volume of trading. Its ease of use, wide availability, and plethora of options for both trading styles and coins makes it one of the most popular trading platforms in the US and worldwide.


If you are interested in learning more about Kraken, here are the answers to some of your questions, starting with, what is Kraken?


What is Kraken?

Kraken is a platform that offers inventors and traders the ability to buy, sell, and trade a variety of cryptocurrencies. As the company says on its platform, “As one of the largest and oldest Bitcoin exchanges in the world, Kraken is consistently named one of the best places to buy and sell crypto online, thanks to our excellent service, low fees, versatile funding options, and rigorous security standards — but this is only part of the story. We’ve been on the forefront of the blockchain revolution since 2011.”


How did Kraken start?

In 2011, Kraken founder Jesse Powell toured Mt. Gox which, at the time, was by far the world’s biggest and most popular crypto exchange. The platform had just experienced a security breach and, after his tour, Powell became even more worried about the possibility of another one.


Thinking Mt. Gox might someday be in trouble, Powell started developing Kraken, which he launched in 2013. A year later, Powell’s security premonition came true and Mt. Gox experienced a hack so devastating, the exchange closed its doors.


Who’s behind it?

Powell is the co-founder and CEO of Kraken. He’s had plenty of partners and investors over the years but he is the driving force behind the platform. After graduating from California State University-Sacramento, Powell began working with digital currencies in 2001, by creating a company to help online game players manage their online accounts and game currencies, according to CoinTelegraph.


From 2001 to 2011, Powell founded and ran several different companies in several different niches, all while continuing to develop his interest and expertise in crypto. Then, in 2011, he took that fateful trip to Mt. Gox.


How big is Kraken? 

Kraken has grown in the last decade from a small project started by Jesse Powell into a large, multi-national company. In 2021, the company has over 1,800 employees that operate in over 60 countries. The platform itself is currently available in 190 countries. It is the second-biggest crypto trading platform in the U.S. and the fourth-largest in the world. Over 6 million users trade with Kraken.


How many cryptocurrencies does it offer?

You can trade more than 50 different coins on Kraken, and the site accepts seven different fiat currencies to buy crypto with or take payouts in. Kraken offers more than 200 trading pairs. BTC/USD, ETH/USD, XBT/EUR, XBT/USD, and ETH/EUR are among the most popular pairs to trade.  


How does Kraken compare to other crypto platforms?

If you are considering Kraken, one important question is, how does it compare to other popular crypto platforms. For example, you may be wondering how Kraken compares to Coinbase. Here are some topline differences between the two popular U.S. exchanges.


User experience

Both sites rate high on user experience on both their desktop platforms and mobile apps. Coinbase is generally considered the more attractive and sleek site, while Kraken offers a no-frills, old-school interface that many users swear by. It is the same interface Kraken has offered for years and many traders find comfort in that. 


For higher-volume traders, Coinbase also offers Coinbase Pro–a souped-up version of their normal platform. While this is nice, Kraken is a one-stop-shop whose basic package is so functional that it doesn’t necessarily need a secondary platform.  



The fees you will pay with Kraken versus Coinbase is where the platform really stands out. Kraken wins in a landslide from a fees perspective. Even comparing Coinbase Pro and Kraken, the latter still wins.


On Coinbase, you will pay up to 4% in fees with every trade. With the Pro version, you will see market maker fees that start at 0.5% and go to 0, if you get to the $50 million a month threshold. For market taker fees, they range from 0.5% to 0.04%.


Trading on Kraken, market takers will pay from 0.26% to 0.1% based on volume, and market makers start at 0.16% and pay 0 after they hit $10 million. If fees are a primary concern, Kraken stacks up very well against Coinbase.



Security for both platforms is among the best in the industry and, when they have had minor problems in the past, it is usually a social engineering attack, where an account holder is attacked rather than the platform itself. A 2016 attack was exactly this, and Kraken took care of the issue quickly and without major losses.



For most crypto traders in the U.S., Kraken is one of the best choices of exchanges on which to trade crypto. Founded in the early days of crypto, built in the U.S., and staying abreast of changes in the crypto market, it’s available around the world. It has become one of the largest and most trusted crypto exchanges out there in 2021 and it stacks up very well against its main competition, Coinbase.


If these answers to some frequently asked questions about Kraken pique your interest, you should go out and do some more research before you trade. What you’ll likely find is that Kraken is a good choice for many investors in traders and it could even be perfect for you.


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