Best Kraken Alternative? (Kraken vs Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro)
Kraken is a popular international Bitcoin exchange, offering fiat-based trading between USD, CAD, EUR, JPY and a range of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Although it's popular, it doesn't have a great reputation, where in late 2017 it had serious performance problems where when you tried trading it might take 20 or 30 seconds for their website to do anything, leading to buying things twice, selling when you didn't mean to, etc.
Kraken have since fixed many performance problems, but it's good to be aware of alternatives. This guide will go through Kraken alternatives in 2018.
When looking for Kraken alternatives, these exchanges came up most often:
- Coinbase & Coinbase Pro
We go through each of these below. Any links to exchanges may be affiliate links (so we'll earn some money if you sign up via them).
We'll give a quick summary of Kraken to begin with. At the time of writing this Kraken offers trading between 4 fiat currencies and 16 cryptocurrencies. When you click the 'Trade' tab it has a beginner-friendly interface, and allows you to view two variations of this that are more advanced (offering things like margin trading).
Some negative aspects of Kraken:
- High deposit and withdrawal fees for countries outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).
- Slow account verification.
- Had lots of performance issues in late 2017.
When looking at alternatives we considered if other exchanges offered similar features to Kraken, and if they resolved some of Kraken's negative aspects like high fees in certain scenarios and performance issues.
Bitfinex came up very often as a good Kraken alternative, where it offers fiat trading on a number of cryptocurrencies (many more than Kraken). It also seems to have lower deposit and withdrawal fees. A negative aspect of Bitfinex is that there are lots of controversies around it regards market manipulation, where many claim their involvement with Tether is what caused Bitcoin's price to rise drastically in 2018. See more on this here.
This exchange has a more limited range of cryptocurrencies, but supports a wide range of countries and accepts deposits via credit & debit cards. Similar to Kraken, CEX offers several interfaces for buying cryptocurrencies. The first, labelled 'BUY/SELL' on their website, is very simple to use; the second is labelled 'TRADE' on their website and is more advanced. Be away that when using the BUY/SELL option, unlike Kraken, you pay much higher fees than normal (where on Kraken fees are the same, but the basic option just offers limited functionality), so we recommend you stick to the TRADE section. CEX has faced a lot of criticism around this feature, where the fee for this ease-of-use is around 7%.
Poloniex came up several time when looking for Kraken alternatives, but we're not really sure why. Other exchanges listed on this page all offer fiat trading, Poloniex doesn't, it's a crypto to crypto exchange, so isn't really comparable.
Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro
Coinbase can be confusing in 2018, where rather than having a basic and advanced interface on one website, Coinbase has several different websites:
- Coinbase is a user-friendly website for buying cryptocurrencies, offering payment methods such as credit and debit cards.
- Coinbase Pro, formerly called GDAX, is a more advanced website based around trading. So you'd use this if you wanted to buy and sell often rather than just buy and hold.
A big difference between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro is convenience vs cost, where as well as offering a fairly basic interface compared to Coinbase Pro, Coinbase also charges very high fees in comparison. Many users seem to buy crypto on Coinbase Pro and then transfer to Coinbase, allowing a combination of the simple user interface of Coinbase and the low fees of Coinbase Pro.
Similar to CEX, Coinbase and Coinbase Pro also offer a very limited range of cryptocurrencies compared to Kraken, currently offering BTC, BCH, ETH and LTC. When adding new cryptocurrencies, Coinbase Pro looks to get access to them first, with ETC support planned for Coinbase Pro but not yet for Coinbase.
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