Kraken vs Coinbase
You’ve heard the sweet siren call of Cryptocurrency, and you’re eager to start making your fortune on the new alternative currency, but you need a place to buy and sell cryptocurrency.
You’ve already jumped on the crypto train, you’ve bought, you’ve staked, you’ve sold at just the right time, and you’re looking for more advanced information and a secure exchange to keep the wheels rolling.
Enter Kraken and Coinbase, two long-time crypto exchanges that cater to different audiences but are both highly popular and respected options in the crypto-verse.
We’ll look at both exchanges, Kraken vs. Coinbase, and provide a comparison between them so you can decide which one is right for your needs.
Table of Contents
What is Kraken?
Kraken is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in existence. It started in 2011 and remains a popular choice for experienced and novice cryptocurrency investors to this day.
A global crypto-exchange that serves nearly 200 countries, Kraken offers a wide variety of options for traders including, buy, sell, send, receive, exchange, futures trading, staking, market watch (cryptowatch), and staking.
This trusted exchange has an impeccable reputation for security, boasting that they have never suffered a major security incursion. Kraken offers many of the most popular cryptos including Bitcoin (obviously), Chainlink, Ethereum, Cardano, Litecoin and many more. There are exactly 97 different currencies available on Kraken.
Apart from great security, and a large variety of currencies available, Kraken also offers low fees maxing out at 0.26%. The fees you pay to trade on Kraken are based on a rolling 30-day period where your fees go down as your transaction amounts go up.
Kraken Pros & Cons
Pros: The Good Stuff
Numerous crypto options
Educational videos and articles for new traders
Cons: The Not So Good Stuff
Advanced interface that new users may find intimidating
What is Coinbase?
The beginner-friendly crypto exchange and most popular option for trading, buying, and selling cryptocurrency in the U.S.A. is Coinbase.
Starting in 2012, the decentralized company now employs nearly 4,000 people worldwide and supports over 120 cryptocurrencies on its exchange including Shiba Inu, Dogecoin, Cardano, SushiSwap, and, of course, Bitcoin.
Coinbase’s trading structure starts with a minimum purchase of $2 regardless of the coin you’re buying. The fees collected by the Coinbase scale are based on trade amount. A trade of $10 or less incurs a fee of only $0.99 while a trade of $50 to $200 is charged $2.99. The fees stop scaling according to volume for trades above $200 and settle into a flat charge.
Security practices at Coinbase are some of the best in the industry. With bank-worth encryption software and two-factor authentication. Also, nearly all users’ assets are stored offline in very real non-digital safety deposit boxes that are literally spread around the world which sounds like a challenge even for Danny Ocean. Of course, crypto is still a new and high-risk industry. Many people have lost their assets to hackers. It’s always advisable that unique and random passwords are used when signing on to any financial website including Coinbase and Kraken.
Coinbase Pros & Cons
Pros: The Good Stuff
User-friendly interface with simple buy/sell/trade buttons .
Simple sign-up process
Supports many different cryptocurrencies.
Cons: The Not So Good Stuff
Excludes some countries
Kraken vs Coinbase: Compare and Contrast
Kraken’s fees are lower across the board than those of Coinbase. Kraken’s fees top out at 0.26% and credit purchases are charged 3.75% plus 0.25 euros each.
Coinbase’s fees are 0.50% maker-taker, and all credit card purchases are charged 3.99%.
Kraken is less user-friendly than Coinbase because of its intended target market.
Kraken includes more advanced tools and trading options on its platform which may be intimidating or confusing to new crypto traders looking for uncomplicated buy/sell buttons.
Coinbase meets the need for an intuitive and simple interface. They offer a smaller variety of trading features, no futures trading or options for example, and instead focus on the main types of crypto trading practiced by the majority of the culture.
Both Kraken and Coinbase offer educational videos, articles, blogs, etc. to help instruct users on all things crypto. But, only Coinbase rewards its users with actual cryptocurrency for going through the education and completing quizzes. They call it Coinbase Earn.
Coinbase also includes a built-in crypto wallet with their platform, a feature Kraken does not have.
Number of Currencies
Kraken offers 97 cryptocurrencies. Coinbase offers more than 120 cryptocurrencies.
It’s possible that Kraken will support a crypto that Coinbase does not, and vice versa. It may be more important to you to choose the platform that supports the specific altcoin you want to trade rather than signing up for one or the other because of features which may be desirable, but don’t help you reach your goal to trade the particular crypto you want.
Kraken’s security features are arguably stricter than Coinbase’s security, but that may depend on your perspective.
Kraken includes heavy digital safeguards, 2FA, whitelisting withdrawal address, etc. And, in case of a person’s phone is stolen they do not allow SMS account recovery.
Coinbase also uses 2FA but does allow SMS recovery which is not as safe. It does employ an offline protection system where 98% of all assets are stored off the internet in “cold storage” to circumvent any hacking attempt via the internet.
Types of Transactions
Kraken offers more transaction options for its users which makes it the more desirable crypto exchange for advanced traders, but also less desirable for novice users.
Kraken offers the following transactions: buy, sell, send, receive, exchange, futures trading, Cryptowatch (a nifty feature displaying crypto behaviour on different exchanges, including Coinbase), and staking.
Coinbase is a little more stripped down in comparison. A basic Coinbase account offers the following transactions: buy, sell, send, receive, and exchange.
Kraken vs. Coinbase. Which is better? They are very different when you look closely. They both have strengths and weaknesses depending on your goals.
Do you want a wide variety of transactions available to you with highly detailed information about your crypto of choice? Choose Kraken.
Do you want a simple interface that rewards you for educating yourself on cryptocurrency and includes a built-in wallet for holding your favourite crypto? Choose Coinbase.
Or sign up for both exchanges and benefit from all the features Coinbase and Kraken have to offer. Remember that cryptocurrency is a new and highly volatile beast; it’s the definition of speculative. So, be careful out there.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’d say Coinbase is better for beginners for two main reasons:
1. Coinbase has a simplified interface which is HIGHLY user-friendly. You can navigate around the app easily, and the buying/selling is intuitive and uncomplicated
2. Coinbase has a better education section which is partly due to their Coinbase Earn program which rewards you with cryptocurrency for taking quizzes based on the educational material they provide.
So, I’d recommend Coinbase to total noobs. There’s no reason to make yourself more intimidated by jumping into the deep end with a highly technical exchange. Start slow. Take little steps. The important thing, if you want to buy crypto, just start.
Sadly no. This would be a fantastic feature to include thereby making Kraken a veritable one-stop-shop for all your crypto needs. But, alas. You’ll need to look elsewhere.
There are many well-reviewed wallets available like Exodus, Ledger Nano S, Mycelium, etc. I encourage you to research whatever wallet you choose before storing all your crypto in it.
Both Kraken and Coinbase have different methods to keep your crypto safe and secure. Kraken has more safeguards to protect digital access to your account, for example, they require that all withdrawal locations you want to use to be verified before they can be used, and they don’t allow SMS account recovery in case someone else has your phone.
Coinbase goes a long way to protect your assets as well, but in a different way. Like Kraken, they employ two-factor authentication (2FA), but they allow SMS account recovery. Coinbase keeps nearly all, 98%, of user’s assets in safe deposit boxes stored around the world. This method is low-tech and offline making it very secure.
They both employ other security options, but these are a couple that stand out to me. So, their security is different. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which platform you’re more comfortable with.