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Kraken investing review: Crypto exchange for individuals and businesses

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  • Kraken is an online exchange where you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies and more.
  • Account minimums vary depending on the cryptocurrency, but fees usually range from 0% to 0.26%.
  • Kraken offers more than 50 crypto assets, and it supports traders in roughly 190 countries. 
  • Click here to set up an account with Kraken.

Kraken is an online cryptocurrency exchange offering a wide array of investment options for individuals and institutions in close to 200 countries around the world. The investment app supports close to 60 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple.

However, it doesn’t offer services to New York and Washington state traders (see a complete list of its geographic restrictions here).

Nonetheless, Kraken provides a variety of additional services for institutions, businesses, and high-net-worth individuals. These include account management, one-on-one consultations services, OTC trading, and expert market insights. Keep reading to see if Kraken is right for you.

 

Kraken currently offers more than 50 crypto assets, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. You’ll mainly have five investment options at Kraken: crypto assets, fiat assets, futures trading, margin trading, and over-the-counter (OTC) trading. 

Unlike cryptocurrencies, Fiat currencies are physical assets that are controlled by a central financial institution and backed by governments. Kraken supports seven: USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, GBP, CHF, and JPY. Deposit fees and minimums vary for each currency, though. You can learn more here.

Kraken also offers futures, with both a web platform and two mobile apps specifically dedicated to futures traders. (Futures are legal contracts that give you, the investor, the right to buy or sell a security at a certain price on a forthcoming date.) Its futures services also let you borrow up to 50 times your balance for trading.

With Kraken’s margin trading options, you can leverage, or borrow, up to five times your account balance to place more trades (the exchange currently allows investors to borrow up to $500,000) on up to 16 different assets. Kraken says its margin services also include access to advanced order options and an intuitive trading platform.

Kraken says its OTC trading services are best for institutions and high-net-worth individuals (investors with at least $1 million) who need to place larger orders that might be too disruptive for the open market/Kraken exchange.

This account option additionally includes expert market insights, full support for all Kraken exchange-listed crypto assets and fiat currencies, one-on-one expert consultation services, and 24/7 global support. And Kraken offers another option for advanced traders: An account management program that gives you one-on-one support from a Kraken account manager.

Finally, the exchange’s offerings include a websockets API that provides real-time market alerts, staking rewards (staking allows investors to earn rewards by locking a portion of their assets away over a certain period of time), public key support, and offline cold storage for your crypto assets. (Kraken also says it’s not a personal wallet service, so it’s probably best to consider other storage wallets).

Educational resources

If you’re new to cryptocurrency investing, or you’d simply like to learn more about different virtual assets, Kraken offers helpful tutorials on how to purchase different cryptocurrencies. Among those guides are the following:

Account features also include 24/7 customer support and educational videos and podcasts on crypto currency topics.

Kraken currently has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB evaluates companies with a grade range of A+ to F, so this indicates that Kraken has underperformed in some aspect of its customer support services.

The bureau cites two reasons for Kraken’s rating: (1) Kraken failed to respond to 19 complaints filed against it, and (2) customers filed 20 complaints against the business. However, the BBB also says its ratings don’t ensure a company will be reliable or perform well, so it’s important to conduct your own research in addition to the bureau’s findings.

Kraken has closed nine complaints in the last 12 months, according to BBB data. 

Founded two years after the creation of Bitcoin, Kraken has since become a popular online cryptocurrency exchange offering more than 50 crypto assets and exchange services for individuals and institutions. Kraken also supports crypto trading in close to 200 countries around the world.

Based in San Francisco, California, Kraken was established in 2011 by Jesse Powell. Powell co-founded Kraken to give retail investors a space in which they could securely and efficiently exchange cryptocurrencies, according to its website.

The company is legally known as Payward, Inc., but it does business as Kraken.

Rickie Houston is a wealth-building reporter at Personal Finance Insider who covers investing, brokerage, and wealth-building products.

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