Kraken vs Coinbase - Which provider is better? Direct comparison of online brokers

In our big broker comparison series 2021, we dedicate this article to two niche exchanges that specialise solely in trading cryptocurrencies: Kraken vs Coinbase. In 2021, cryptocurrencies continue to soar and investors are wondering which exchange they should turn to.

What about investor protection and security issues with the two competitors? And is a crypto exchange even suitable for beginners or should newcomers rather look around on other platforms? We go into these and many more questions in more detail in our big Bitcoin broker comparison 2021.

Kraken vs Coinbase

Kraken vs Coinbase - who is behind the platforms?

In the next section, we will take a closer look at the corporate backgrounds of the two providers.

kraken

Kraken remains one of the world's most popular crypto exchanges. The company was founded in 2011 as an alternative to the then Mt. Gox trading platform. The site began operating in 2013 with a small number of cryptocurrencies. The company is now represented in over 177 countries and offers over 56 different cryptocurrencies and hundreds of currency pairs. In addition, other trading terms, such as margin trading, have been introduced to deliver even more trading opportunities to users.

Unfortunately, since Kraken is a crypto exchange, users do not enjoy the same rights as with a broker service. However, this does not mean that crypto exchanges do not have to meet certain criteria and regulations. Kraken, for example, is registered as a Money Services Business (MSB) with FinCEN in the US and FINTRAC in Canada under licence numbers 31000176593851 and M19343731 respectively. In addition, the derivatives trading operator is registered as a Margin Trading Facility (MTF) with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under licence number 757895.

coinbase

Coinbase was launched in June 2012 and has also established itself as one of the world's largest crypto exchanges. During SEC filings for the company's upcoming IPO, it was revealed that Coinbase has over 42 million verified users as well as 115,000 ecosystem partners in over 100 countries. Profits in 2019 amounted to a whopping US$322 million. A special feature of the company is also that the exchange has no physical headquarters, but operates completely decentralised.

Coinbase is scheduled to go public on the New York Nasdaq on 14 April 2021. Almost 115 million shares are to be listed under the appropriate abbreviation "COIN". The IPO is unconventional, as it is a direct placement without a prior pricing process. Due to the current crypto hype, which was primarily triggered by Bitcoin, some experts expect that the market capitalisation could break the 100 billion dollar barrier.


Kraken

Coinbase

active since

2013

2012

publicly traded

No

In planning (April 14, 2014)

Approval in the EU

No

No

Number of Tier 1 licenses

0

0

Number of tier 2 licenses

0

0

Number of tier 3 licenses

0

0

head office

United States

No head office

Cost and fee comparison

Kraken vs Coinbase - Cost comparison. Both crypto exchanges can score with a transparent and favourable cost structure. As we will see in more detail later in the comparison of trading instruments, Kraken has advanced trading options such as margin trading, options and futures to offer, which are reflected in the cost structure.

The Kraken Instant Buy, whereby Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies can be bought in the Kraken app, is available from as little as 0.9% for stablecoins and FX pairs and 1.5% for other cryptocurrencies. In addition, there are processing fees of 3.75% + €0.25 for card payments and 1.7% + $0.10 for online banking. On the other hand, those who trade regularly should consider Kraken Pro. Here, the fees are adjusted to the respective trading volume. For example, anyone who trades $0 to $50,000 within 30 days has to pay a maker or taker fee of 0.16% and 0.26% respectively, while the financially strongest investors do not even have to pay any maker fees.

The Coinbase spread is 0.50% of the trading volume for cryptocurrency purchases or sales. In addition to the spread, Coinbase charges further fees depending on the region, products and amount. For example, anyone who buys cryptocurrencies under $10 pays a fixed fee of €0.99. If the amount is between $50 and $200, the fixed costs increase to €2.99. If the purchase amount increases further, variable fees of 1.49% are charged. Extra services, such as an instant payout, are associated with further costs. Just like Kraken, the provider also offers Coinbase Pro, the costs of which depend on the amount wagered. In the section "Account comparison" we compare the Pro fees of both providers.


Kraken

Coinbase

Custody account management

For free

For free

Inactivity charges

For free

n / A

Stocks & ETFs order costs

Not on offer

Not on offer

Funds

Not on offer

Not on offer

CFDs

Not on offer

Not on offer

Savings plans

Not on offer

Not on offer

Bonds

Not on offer

Not on offer

Crypto

0.9% for stablecoins and FX pairs
1.5% for other cryptocurrencies

1.49%

Spreads

0% - 0.26%

0.5%

Overnight positions

no

no

Currency trading fees

Not on offer

Not on offer

Withdrawal Fees

Variable

€ 0.15

Deposit fees

For free

For free

Commissions on stocks

Not on offer

Not on offer

Account comparison

Coinbase vs Kraken - Account Comparison. Due to the fact that Kraken also offers derivatives in addition to crypto trading, there are more account options with Kraken than with Coinbase. Below, we take a closer look at the account features that both providers deliver.

Kraken

kraken

Users can create multiple accounts on Kraken, but it is not possible to create additional sub-accounts. In concrete terms, this means that the access information, the account balance or possible discounts are kept separately if users decide to have several accounts. In addition, it is also possible to create an account with Kraken Futures. The administration differs here and offers members the possibility to create sub-accounts. Those who trade often should opt for Kraken Pro. This is Kraken's professional offering and allows financially strong traders to benefit from deep discounts. The Kraken Pro Maker and Taker costs are as follows, depending on the trading volume:

30-day trading volume (USD)

Maker

Taker

$ 0- $ 50,000

0.16%

0.26%

$ 50,001- $ 100,000

0.14%

0.24%

$ 100,001- $ 250,000

0.12%

0.22%

$ 250,001- $ 500,000

0.10%

0.20%

$ 500,001 - $ 1,000,000

0.08%

0.18%

$ 1,000,001 - $ 2,500,000

0.06%

0.16%

$ 2,500,001 - $ 5,000,000

0.04%

0.14%

$ 5,000,001 - $ 10,000,000

0.02%

0.12%

$ 10,000,000 +

0.00%

0.10%

Coinbase

coinbase

Coinbase also offers different account types, which offer more features depending on the level. The account level depends on the verification level. To reach level 3, basic information must be provided and proof of address must be provided. The level gives customers higher limits and unlimited trading. Just like Kraken, Coinbase also offers a Pro Account, which also offers more favourable conditions depending on the pricing tier and also comes with extended functions, so that this type of account is particularly suitable for traders who trade with especially high amounts.

Pricing Tier (USD)

Maker

Taker

<$ 10K

0.50%

0.50%

$ 10-50K

0.35%

0.35%

$ 50-100K

0.15%

0.25%

$ 100K - 1M

0.10%

0.20%

$ 1- 10M

0.08%

0.18%

$ 10 -50M

0.05%

0.15%

$ 50 - 100M

0.00%

0.10%

$ 100-300M

0.00%

0.07%

$ 300-500M

0.00%

0.05%

$ 500M +

0.00%

0.04%

Finally, a comparison of the two provider accounts:


Kraken

Coinbase

Standard account

Yes

Yes

Demo account

Yes (Kraken Futures)

no

Mini account

no

no

Micro account

no

no

VIP account

no

no

Wallet

no

Yes

Trading Instruments

Coinbase vs Kraken - trading instruments. Both providers are crypto exchanges that are among the international market leaders and can therefore score with a variety of tradable cryptocurrencies.

The tradable cryptocurrencies on Kraken include:

AAVE, ALGO, ANT, DOT, BAT, BAL, BTC, BCH, ADA, ATOM, COMP, CRV, DAI, DASH, DOGE, EWT, EOS, ETH, ETC, FIL, FLOW, GNO, GRT, ICX, KAVA, KEEP, KNC, KSM, LINK, LSK, LTC, MANA, MLN, NANO, OCEAN, OMG, OXT, PAXG, QTUM, REP, REPV2, SC, SNX, STORJ, TBTC, TRX, UNI, USDC, USDT, WAVES, XLM, XMR, XTZ, XRP, YFI, ZEC.

In addition, Kraken has advanced trading options such as margin trading, options and futures on offer.

Coinbase has the following cryptocurrencies on offer in the EU:

AAVE, ADA, ALGO, ANKR, ATOM, BAL, BAND, BAT, BCH, BNT, BSV, BTC, Celo (CGLD), COMP, CRV, CVC, DAI, DASH, DNT, EOS, ETC, ETH, FIL, GRT, KNC, LINK, LRC, LTC, MANA, MATIC, MKR, NMR, NU, OMG, OXT, REN, REP, SUSHI, SKL, SNX, STORJ, USDC, UMA, UNI, WBTC, XLM, XRP, XTZ, YFI, ZEC, ZRX.


Kraken

Coinbase

Shares (number)

 no

 no

raw materials

 no

no

ETFs

no

no

Indices

no

no

Forex trading

Yes

no

Currency pairs

Fiat pairs: 12
Crypto pairs: 113
Crypto-Fiat pairs: 176

Only available with Coinbase Pro
Crypto-Fiat pairs: 25
Crypto pairs: 49

Number of CFDs

 no

 no

Cryptocurrencies

56

52

Payment methods

Kraken vs Coinbase - payment options: The two crypto exchanges unfortunately offer fewer deposit and withdrawal options as one is used to from online brokers. Nevertheless, Coinbase has the edge in a direct comparison.
Kraken's payment options vary depending on the currency and region. For example, if you want to deposit with the euro in Europe, you can use a SEPA bank transfer or Etana Custody. The deposit time can vary from 1 to 5 business days. In addition to EUR, users can also pay with USD, CAD, JPY, GBP, CHF, AUD. Unfortunately, common payment methods in Germany such as credit cards or Paypal are not accepted. If users already own cryptocurrencies, these can also be deposited.
Coinbase, on the other hand, is more broadly positioned. As with Kraken, European customers can easily deposit or withdraw money here using the SEPA bank transfer. Ideal / SOFORT can only be used for deposits, while PayPal can only be used for withdrawals. With both providers, the costs as well as the transfer duration can differ depending on the payment method. It is advisable to check the website of the provider or, if necessary, contact customer service to ask about the exact payment conditions for a specific payment method.


Kraken

Coinbase

PayPal

 no

 Yes

Skrill

Yes

no

Neteller

Yes

no

Credit cards

no

Only via 3D Secure

UnionPay

no

no

Webmoney

no

no

Yandex

 no

 no

Bank Transfer

Yes

Yes

Giropay

no

no

IMMEDIATELY

no

Yes

Trading conditions

When it comes to trading conditions, Kraken has an edge. The number of cryptocurrencies and currency pairs exceeds that of Coinbase; in addition, it is also possible to trade derivatives such as futures and even margin trading at Kraken. These are important advantages that Coinbase does not have to offer in this form. However, it is possible to earn money through staking with both Kraken and Coinbase.

Libertex-Test


Kraken

Coinbase

Scalping

no

no

Hedging

no

no

EAs

no

no

STP broker

no

no

Market maker

no

no

Min. Trade

Depending on the product

From € 2

Max. Trade

Variable

Varies by region

lever

Yes

no

Margin trading

Yes

no

Min. Deposit

Varies by deposit method

$ 50

Seriousness

If you are looking for seriousness, you should not only pay attention to licences, but also look for opportunities to further educate yourself in the field of cryptocurrencies. While one can find a multitude of blog posts, video material and courses on the internet on the topic of fiat currencies and traditional investment options, the educational opportunities for cryptocurrencies have been limited to date.

Kraken plays a big part in offering beginners a good introduction to the not always easy topic through a variety of learning materials. At the same time, professionals are provided with further information. Whether it's blog posts, trading videos or webinars - Kraken has a huge library in store that contains all the important information on the topic of cryptocurrencies.
Coinbase, on the other hand, is less broadly positioned: In addition to a limited number of blog entries, some videos for beginners can be found, but they are also limited in number. Here, Kraken is clearly ahead. The learning materials from both providers can be viewed free of charge on the websites and are even available to users without prior registration.


Kraken

Coinbase

Beginner Trading Videos

Yes

Yes

Advanced trading videos

Yes

No

Webinars

Yes

No

Forex learning material

Yes

Yes

CFD learning material

No

No

Glossary of the most important terms

Yes

Yes

Security, protection and licensing

Security, protection and licences are a vexed topic when it comes to crypto exchanges. While online brokers with an EU licence have deposit protection and a strict legal framework, this is not the case for crypto exchanges to the same extent. According to Coinbase, 98% of the currencies are stored in cold storages, so that the money is protected from hacker attacks.
The 2% that are stored in the hot wallet are completely insured, according to Coinbase. Alongside this, Coinbase assures US customers of FDIC insurance of over $250,000, although this does not apply to European customers. In contrast, Kraken states that 95% of the currencies are stored in different cold storages in different locations.


Kraken

Coinbase

License

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) MTF, license number 757895

n / A

country

Great Britain


SSL

Yes

Yes

Deposit insurance

No

No

Customer service

Customer serviceIn terms of customer support, both Kraken and Coinbase can meet all the important basic requirements, but without achieving full customer satisfaction for users in this country, as the customer support is not available in German.

Both providers have set up a very good FAQ section where the most important questions are answered and further information is provided. Kraken has divided the FAQ section into 15 different areas, so that users can also look for their specific topic next to the search bar. Unfortunately, Kraken's FAQ section is not accessible in German. Coinbase does offer a German website, but the FAQ section here is also not available in German. In addition to the actual questions, Coinbase also offers blog entries and learning materials in the help centre, which facilitates the search for answers. Here Coinbase has a small advantage over Kraken.

Customer service

How can the providers be contacted? Kraken has set up a live chat for this purpose, which enables users to get prompt answers to burning questions. Coinbase does not have a live chat, but has set up an international phone number that helps users in English. Furthermore, enquiries can also be submitted to Coinbase via the contact form, which can be found in the help centre. Customer support at both providers is professional and friendly and tries to resolve problems promptly. However, it remains to be hoped that both providers will further expand their customer service for the German market in the future.


Kraken

Coinbase

e-mail

No

Yes

phone

No

Yes

Live chat

Yes

No

Website

Yes

Yes

User interface

In general, it can be said that the user interface of online brokers is simpler than that of crypto exchanges. This is mainly due to the fact that online brokers are increasingly oriented towards the needs of trading novices, while the target group of crypto exchanges is still dominated by technology-savvy crypto devotees.
However, improvements have occurred here as well. Kraken, for example, advertises directly on its homepage that crypto trading can be made accessible to everyone through the platform, regardless of experience level. We can only partially confirm this: Kraken's user interface seems a bit old-fashioned compared to Coinbase, which does not necessarily make it easier to get started. Beyond that, however, the functions are richer.
Coinbase is ahead when it comes to the user-friendliness of the individual functions. Although the user interface is not as good as that of online brokers, it still offers a good introduction to the world of crypto trading. Trading professionals have the option of switching to the Pro version of both platforms as soon as they have gained more experience with the basic version.


Kraken

Coinbase

MT4

No

No

MT5

No

No

Web trader

No

No

CTrader

No

No

DupliTrade

No

No

ZuluTrade

No

No

Social trading / copy trading

No

No

Mobile and App Comparison

Kraken and Coinbase can each be accessed from browsers or from the mobile apps for iOS and Android.

The Kraken app is available for Android 8.0 on Google Play, with Android 9.0 or higher recommended for the best user experience. The Kraken App for Apple products is available for iOS 13 and above on the Apple Store. Kraken Pro is already available from Android 7.0 on Google Play or iOS 11 on the Apple Store. Those who prefer to trade derivatives can download Kraken Futures for Android 4.4 and higher on Google Play or for iOS 10 and higher in the Apple Store.

Coinbase as well as Coinbase Pro are also available for iOS and Android. The apps offer the same functions and comfort that you are used to from the browser version. This means you can trade easily and conveniently from anywhere and always stay up to date on your digital finances.
The Kraken app for Android has already been downloaded over 000 times in the Google Play Store and received 4.4 out of 5 stars from over 1,000 customer reviews.
The Coinbase app for Android has even been downloaded over 10 million times and also has 4.4 out of 5 stars, but from over 000 customer reviews.


Kraken

Coinbase

iOS

Yes

Yes

Android

Yes

Yes

Windows

No

No

Special features

Kraken and Coinbase are not considered the best and also most trustworthy providers in their target group for nothing, due to the high number of their features. Of course, this does not make the choice for the right crypto exchange any easier. Therefore, we provide a brief overview of the special features of the two providers below.

Staking Rewards on CoinbaseFirst of all, it can be stated that at the time of our test, only Kraken still offers margin trading. At Kraken, it is possible to apply up to five times leverage and thus achieve high profits even with small amounts. Depending on the client, margin limits of up to $500,000 can be issued. In addition, Kraken offers other trading options, such as futures, for which a separate app is provided. Coinbase also used to offer margin trading; however, according to the provider, this was discontinued due to legal conditions.

Another great way to generate passive income quickly and easily is so-called staking, which is offered by both providers. At Coinbase, it is possible to do staking with the currencies Ethereum, Algorand, Cosmos, Tezos, Dai and USD Coins, while Kraken offers Cosmos, Ethereum, Flow, Kusama, Polkadot and Tezos.

Opening an account for beginners

Opening an account with Kraken and Coinbase is simple and can be completed within a few minutes. Below we look at the registration process on both platforms.

Step 1: Registering with Kraken

In the first step, users can quickly and easily register via the registration form on the provider's website, which can be accessed via the menu item "Create Account". As already mentioned, the menu is not available in German. First of all, only three pieces of information need to be entered: E-mail address, user name and a corresponding password. Then you only have to click on the activation link in the confirmation e-mail to successfully complete the registration.

Step 2: Deposit into the Kraken account

As already indicated, you have to verify yourself with Kraken in order to be able to trade effectively with cryptocurrencies. Depending on the level of verification, users can enjoy more benefits of the platform. After the initial registration, users are still at level 0, which means that users cannot make deposits or withdrawals. In order to actually trade, further basic information should be provided and personal documents, such as proof of address, should be submitted and confirmed. Once this step has been completed, money can be deposited into the trading account.

Step 3: Start crypto trading

Once the money has been received, investors can invest in over 56 cryptocurrencies and hundreds of currency pairs.

Kraken-Marketplace-Kryptos-im-Ueberblick

Step 1: Register with Coinbase

The first step in registering with Coinbase is similar to that of Kraken. Here, too, you must initially enter your name, email address and password. Afterwards, a confirmation link is sent by email, which must be clicked on. Another security step of Coinbase consists of confirming the mobile phone number with an SMS code.

Step 2: Deposit and opening a deposit with Coinbase

Coinbase also carries out an identity check. This can be done using either an identity card, passport or driving licence. The respective document must be scanned, which is possible either with the webcam or the app. As soon as the verification process has been completed, money can also be deposited into the account at Coinbase and trading can then begin.

Step 3: Start crypto trading

As soon as the money has been received in the Coinbase trading account, the duration of which can differ depending on the payment method, all common cryptocurrencies are available to users.

Advantages and disadvantages of the two brokers

Advantages and disadvantages of Kraken

The following is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of Kraken:

Pros

  • A wide selection of cryptocurrencies and currency pairs
  • Different apps for different investments and investor types
  • Leverage and margin trading possible
  • High security infrastructure for account protection
  • Third-party auditor checks For proof of reserves
  • Staking possible

Cons

  • No investor protection as with online brokers
  • Only demo account for Kraken Futures
  • Limited payment options

Advantages and disadvantages of Coinbase

The following is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of Coinbase:

Pros

  • One of the world's most popular crypto exchanges
  • Two apps for different types of investors
  • Own Coinbase wallet
  • A great user interface

Cons

  • Not under the supervision of an EU financial regulator
  • Less choice than Kraken
  • Less attractive fee structure than Kraken

Differences

  • Tradable asset classes

  • Trading conditions

  • Customer support

  • Corporate reputation

  • Tutorials and learning material

Both providers are crypto exchanges, but Kraken's offering is broader compared to Coinbase. In addition to a larger selection of cryptocurrencies and pairs, Kraken also offers fiat currencies, which are not available at Coinbase.

For whom is Kraken suitable? For whom Coinbase?

Kraken vs Coinbase - who is the target group? Of course, both Kraken and Coinbase are similar in their offerings, but there are still some differences that can affect the respective target groups. In the following, we therefore provide a brief overview of who Kraken and Coinbase are primarily suitable for.

Kraken

  • Kraken is suitable for risk-taking investors who want to achieve higher profits through leverage and margin trading.
  • Kraken is more broadly positioned so that investors can invest in futures as well as in coins or forex pairs.
  • Kraken impresses with its favourable fee structure, which allows the company to score points with high-volume investors.

Coinbase

  • Coinbase can convince with an intuitive interface that is very well suited for beginners.
  • US investors can benefit from FDIC insurance.

Conclusion - who has the edge?

Coinbase vs Kraken - who can claim victory? In our big Kraken vs Coinbase Test 2021, we put both providers through their paces. Even taking into account that the portals partly attract investors with different goals, the overall victory still goes to Kraken.

Kraken came out on top in the most important points. We were particularly convinced by the broader selection, the use of leverage and margin trading as well as the more favourable maker and taker costs of Kraken Pro in direct comparison with Coinbase Pro. Therefore, we can recommend Kraken to users who want to decide between one of the two providers.

Cryptoscene

   However, we can only recommend Kraken to a limited extent, as the fact that there are no EU licences carries a high risk. Online brokers such as our test winner eToro, on the other hand, have a far greater selection of investments in stock and offer customers more security.


For the following reasons, we can therefore recommend eToro without reservation:

eToro also offers all common cryptocurrencies and also has its own wallet on offer.
eToro is a licensed online broker.
Users enjoy EU legal security and are entitled to deposit protection, which is not the case with crypto exchanges.

For these reasons, beginners should think twice before choosing a crypto exchange or registering with eToro instead. This is because in this country investors enjoy a high level of investor protection and can diversify their trading portfolio better than is the case with crypto exchanges thanks to the broad selection at eToro. Anyone who wants to try out eToro's offer can create a free demo account for this purpose.

Hi, my name is Benzion. I have twelve years of experience in the Forex industry, and I have launched two successful crypto trading services. I have in-depth experience on several blockchain networks like Bitcoin, Etheruem, EOS, Cardano, Hyperledger, ICON, Komado, etc. I also have in-depth knowledge of blockchain techniques, including various consensus mechanisms, DLT, smart contracts, security, and privacy measures. Benzion Friedman