Cryptocurrency trading is the new frontier of finance. Major coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum and smaller coins like TRON and Ripple have made their mark and there’s never been an easier time to get started in cryptocurrency trading.
Kraken is a cryptocurrency trading and exchange platform based out of the U.S. Kraken offers a number of advantages (including lower fees and a wide coin selection). Some users complain about the platform’s difficulty. If you’re just getting started with cryptocurrency trading, you may want to consider using one of our favorite Kraken alternatives instead.
We’ll review Kraken, one of the internet’s largest cryptocurrency trading platforms, some characteristics you should look for in a Kraken alternative and a few of our favorite alternate exchanges.
Quick Look: The Best Kraken Alternatives
Why Use Kraken?
Kraken is an exchange that allows investors to buy, trade and sell a wide range of cryptocurrencies. The platform currently supports over 15 cryptocurrencies and 5 fiat currencies, which makes its offerings larger than many cryptocurrency trading hubs on the market.
Kraken prides itself on its platform’s advanced security features, which uses cutting-edge encryption techniques and two-factor authentication to keep your coins safer. This can be a bonus for traders who are skittish about getting back into the market after Binance’s 2019 hack, when high-tech thieves stole $40 million USD from traders’ crypto wallets.
You’ll pay between 0.10% and 0.42% of your total trading value per month when you use Kraken, depending on your trading activity. This can be a benefit for very active traders and new traders who only want to make a few purchases a month — the tiered structure adjusts how much you owe based on your volume.
Customer complaints about Kraken often center around its lackluster customer service. Most of Kraken’s negative reviews focus on long wait times, poor verification and difficulty creating an account. These issues can all be very detrimental to a new trader, especially if you’ve never created a cryptocurrency wallet before.
Qualities to Look for in an Alternative
Not every cryptocurrency exchange is created equal. If you decide that Kraken isn’t for you, look for these key characteristics before you open an account on any exchange.
High-Level Security Features
One of the first things that should be on your mind when you choose a cryptocurrency exchange is the platform’s security features. The decentralized nature of cryptocurrency makes it difficult to keep your coins safe — and it’s almost impossible to get them back if you’re the victim of a hack.
Look for a site that offers enhanced security features like two-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption. These will help you keep your coins safer when they’re in your trading wallet.
It’s impossible to reverse a cryptocurrency transaction once you send it through. This means that you also need to do your part to protect yourself as the consumer by double-checking all wallet addresses before you send coins and regularly change and update your password.
The best cryptocurrency platform in the world will be totally useless to you if you can’t figure out how to buy and sell coins on it. An intuitive platform is crucial, especially if you’re new to cryptocurrency trading. Understanding your platform will make trading easier and give you a better grasp of the basics. From there, you can move onto a more complicated platform with more features.
Check out reviews, video demonstrations and YouTube how-to videos before you open an account on a platform. If you think you can understand how to use the trading site’s basic features, open an account. If you aren’t able to follow the tutorials or have trouble understanding what’s going on, consider another alternative.
Plenty of Coins to Choose From
Look for a platform that offers a large selection of supported coins if you’re a more advanced cryptocurrency trader or you’re looking to trade more volatile coins.
There are thousands of cryptocurrencies available, and no exchange can support all of them. Knowing which coins you’re interested in buying and selling before you open an account. Sites like CoinMarketCap can show you some of the top coins for value, daily trading volume and total market capitalization. This can make selecting a few favorites easier.
The Best Alternatives to Kraken
Looking for a cryptocurrency platform that’s easy to use yet has enough coins for serious traders? Check out these Kraken alternatives.
Considered the standard for new cryptocurrency traders, Coinbase is one of the easiest cryptocurrency trading platforms available online. Coinbase allows traders to buy, sell and transfer some of the largest cryptos in the world, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and more.
Coinbase has recently started to expand its offerings beyond the most popular coins and now offers lesser-known names like Basic Attention Token, Chainlink and Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision. Though Coinbase’s offerings aren’t as expansive as some other major trading platforms, the site remains one of the top places for U.S.-based investors to trade.
Coinbase is one of the only cryptocurrency platforms that allow you to buy coins using a credit or debit card, though this option incurs an additional fee. Coinbase even offers a unique learning center that allows you to earn free crypto when you complete courses on trading and unique coin features.
Simple, intuitive and accessible for beginners, Coinbase is a great place to start your trading career.
Do you prefer app-based trading? Voyager is a powerful yet secure cryptocurrency trading app that can help you keep your finger on the pulse of the ever-changing market. Voyager’s platform is easy enough for new investors to get started without any trouble, yet advanced enough for experienced traders to maximize their income with charting and tracking features.
Like Coinbase, Voyager allows you to track your earnings over time and grow your portfolio. You can buy cryptocurrencies, see real-time changes in value and track your holdings — all from the mobile app. Chances are you’ll have an easy time finding a new favorite coin, with 19 crypto offerings and counting.
CEX.IO is one of the most secure ways to trade the most popular currencies, buy and store your coins. CEX.IO claims to have never had a user fund theft, and it boasts full encryption protection against DDoS attacks and other forms of hacking. CEX.IO’s platform is also fully compliant with PCI DSS standards, a strict set of guidelines for top-of-the-line website security.
CEX.IO also offers more convenience than many other online exchanges and offers service in 99% of the world’s countries. You can buy cryptocurrencies via bank transfer, Crypto Capital and even a Visa or Mastercard. There are no fees for transferring fiat into your account if you use a bank transfer.
Though CEX.IO only offers some of the most popular coins (including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DASH), there’s no better choice if you’re concerned about safety.
Another one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in the world, Coinmama boasts over 1.6 million users — and more users join every day. Though Coinmama does fall a bit short in the coin offerings department (you can currently only buy 8 of the most popular cryptocurrencies), it’s currently focusing on expanding its selection.
Coinmama is also one of the most accessible exchanges in the world and offers compatibility in 130 countries and counting.
Coinmama might be right for you if you prioritize customer service. Its team of customer service Happiness Heros are available 24/7 to assist you with verification problems and bumps in transfers. Coinmama also features higher spending limits than most other platforms available, so its website is especially popular with professional and high-balance investors. Coinmama is a responsive and accessible Kraken alternative that anyone can quickly master.
Binance is the world’s largest hub for cryptocurrency trading and offers more coins than any other exchange. Binance provides traders with fast order executions and its platform can support 1.4 million orders per second. Though you cannot link fiat currency directly through Binance, you can import Bitcoin or any other popular cryptocurrency to Binance’s platform wallet.
From there, you can convert your coins to nearly any cryptocurrency available. Serious traders who are always on the lookout for the next big thing will love Binance’s massive selection.
You cannot create an account on Binance’s main exchange if you live in the U.S. You’ll need to use Binance’s new U.S.-based exchange, “Binance US,” which is set to launch in late 2019.
Though this might be annoying for traders who want to get started right now, sneak peeks into Binance US look incredibly promising. The platform plans to launch by hosting 30 cryptocurrencies, including everything from favorites like Bitcoin to up-and-coming coins like Ravencoin.
Entering the Cryptocurrency Market
No matter which exchange you decide to use and which coins you want to buy, remember that the cryptocurrency market is volatile. Unlike stock exchanges (which are strictly regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission), cryptocurrencies have no regulation. Most also have no centralization so it’s impossible to get a refund if you cannot sell your currencies.
Cryptocurrencies can fluctuate wildly in value on a daily or even hourly basis. This can mean big profits for swing traders — but also very large losses. Never invest more than you can afford to lose and learn about trading strategies before you buy.