Kraken VS Coinbase: Which is the better crypto exchange?

Both Kraken and Coinbase are highly reputable sites with a lot of public faith and professional clout. They’ve both been vanguards of blockchain technology, having been established in the initial years when cryptocurrencies were just starting off.

Since both these platforms are equally reputable and since both of them offer the ability to actively trade in cryptocurrencies, it’s important to compare their finer features and determine which one is better, or at least which one is more suited to a particular individual’s needs.

In this article, we shall discuss and compare every aspect of both Kraken and Coinbase.

PART 1: Kraken VS Coinbase Overview

Both Kraken and Coinbase allow you to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Kraken has a wider range of cryptocurrencies, but even Coinbase allows you to trade in the most popular ones.

However, the crucial aspect in which the two platforms differ is how they’re used. Coinbase is a beginner-friendly platform that offers a simple method for starters to buy and sell cryptocurrencies in exchange for fiat currencies.

As opposed to that, Kraken is meant for active trading between cryptocurrency pairs, similar to a stock exchange. As such, it’s not advisable for beginners as it can also lead to grave errors. Furthermore, trading cryptocurrencies for fiat currencies in Kraken is extremely complex because you have to verify an account, deposit the fiat currencies, give a few business days for them to reflect in your account, and only then can you proceed. Coinbase is a lot simpler.

As such, the major difference between the two platforms is in terms of its targeted demographic. In our list of 20 best cryptocurrency exchange platforms, Coinbase ranked #1 and Kraken ranked #16.

In the table below, I’ve summed up their most prominent features and specifications so you can compare them.

ComparisonKrakenCoinbase
ReviewsKraken ReviewCoinbase Review
Exchange TypeCryptocurrency ExchangeEasy Cryptocurrency Buying/Selling
Fees0% to 0.25%1.49% to 3.99%
Cryptocurrencies SupportedBitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and over 14 othersBitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin
Payment MethodsBank Transfer, CryptocurrencyBank Transfer, Credit Cards, Cryptocurrency
SecurityGoodGreat
Ease of UseOkayGreat
SpeedGoodFast
LimitsUp to $50,000/day for Tier 3 verificationUp to $50,000/week
SupportGreatGreat
ReputationGoodGreat
Check WebsiteKraken WebsiteCoinbase Website

PART 2: Kraken VS Coinbase Position: Which is Better for You?

From the previous part, you can see that Coinbase is a lot more approachable than Kraken. It can more easily be used by people who want to invest in cryptocurrencies but aren’t professional traders. Kraken can only be used by serious and experienced traders.

As such, you can see in the trends chart below that Coinbase is also a lot more popular than Kraken. In fact, Coinbase has been a lot more popular than Kraken at every point in the past couple of years.

The platform that’s better for you will depend on what your purpose is. Are you just a beginner? Or are you looking to trade cryptocurrency pairs actively? If the former, then use Coinbase, if the latter, then use Kraken.

PART 3: Kraken VS Coinbase Trading: Which one is better?

Cryptocurrencies Supported

Coinbase supports the most popular cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. Kraken supports all those cryptocurrencies, but it also supports over 14 other altcoins, thus proving to have a far wider reach.

Currencies Supported

Coinbase supports US Dollars, Euros, and British Pound (GBP). As opposed to that, Kraken has a wider range that also includes Canadian Dollars, and Japanese Yen.

Countries Supported

Coinbase is only available in 32 countries around the world, which you can check out in their Global list. Kraken has global reach, and is restricted only by various country’s domestic limitations.

Fees

Coinbase attracts a high transaction fees of 1.49% to 3.99%. This makes it unsuitable for active trading. You can find its detailed trading fees structure here>>

Kraken, in contrast, is meant for active trading and as such draws a minor transaction fee of 0 to 0.25%. Additionally, the buyer generally has to pay a higher fee than the seller in Kraken.

Buying Limits

The transaction limits vary greatly for both Coinbase and Kraken based on several factors. However, for Coinbase, fully verified US and European residents have a weekly transaction limit of up to $50,000.

In Kraken, the limits are a lot higher. The withdrawal limit depends on the account tier, depending on the verification achieved. It starts from just $2,500 a day or  $20,000 a month and can go as high as $50,000 a day or $200,000 a month, upon hitting Tier 3.

PART 4: Kraken VS Coinbase Security: Which exchange is safer?

Both Kraken and Coinbase are legit companies, launched in San Francisco. As U.S. based companies, they follow strict laws and regulations for safety.

Both these platforms make use of industry best practices to keep funds completely safe. The company funds are kept separate from the user funds so you know your money won’t be used for company purposes. Furthermore, most of the funds are kept in cold storage offline to prevent major losses during a hack. Finally, both platforms offer 2-factor authentication to secure your account.

However, Coinbase perhaps goes just one step further in terms of security. All Coinbase users have FDIC insurance wherein they can be assured of compensation of up to $250,000 should anything happen.

PART 5: Kraken VS Coinbase Conclusion

Both Kraken and Coinbase are extremely safe and secure platforms and they come with their unique sets of advantages and disadvantages. However, Coinbase is the popular choice amongst people who aren’t serious cryptocurrency traders. That’s largely because of ease of use and simplicity of design which makes the purchase of cryptocurrencies easy.

Kraken is a great choice for serious traders due to the low fees and the sophisticated design, however it’s not right for those who aren’t as experienced.

Whatever you decide to use, please comment down below and let us know about your experience!