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What is a cryptocurrency exchange?

What is the Kraken exchange?

Discover what the Kraken exchange is and how you can use it for your Bitcoin trading!

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What is the Kraken exchange?

The Kraken cryptocurrency exchange is amongst the oldest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges currently open. Residents of the US, Canada, Japan, and parts of Europe are able to trade on the platform.

The exchange was founded back in 2011 by current CEO Jesse Powell. It officially launched to the public in 2013 and is based in San Francisco. Kraken’s biggest competitors are Coinbase and Gemini, both of which have been around for less time than Kraken.

How to sign up to Kraken

Registering with Kraken is essentially the exact same process as registering with other exchanges.

Almost all exchanges require users to complete ‘Know-Your-Customer’ (KYC) and ‘Anti-Money Laundering’ (AML) checks.

The checks have become increasingly common, and for good reason. They assess a customer’s likelihood of committing illicit acts such as money laundering.

You will also need to provide photo identification to prove to Kraken that you are who you say you are. This will typically include any government-issued documentation, though requirements can vary from country to country.

Once registered, it is recommended that you establish two-factor authentication (2FA) as an added layer of security.

From here, you can begin depositing money and start your trading journey.

Kraken’s key features

The Kraken cryptocurrency exchange offers a variety of features for traders.

If you are a beginner, Kraken offers a basic user interface alongside detailed documentation to help you become acquainted with the platform. There are also charts provided to assist more seasoned traders with visualising trends.

Kraken also boasts a high level of liquidity and high trading volumes. This in turn enables accounts to be funded quickly and allows for easier and potentially more profitable trading as there are more people to trade with.

The platform also has cold storage features. Cold storage refers to the storage of crypto offline, disconnected from the internet. This is useful as it prevents hackers from accessing and stealing your crypto.

However, it is not recommended that you keep large amounts of crypto on the exchange. If you have a serious amount of funds, consider purchasing your own cold storage cryptocurrency wallet to look after it yourself.

The platform offers standard trading options, such as margin trading, and it also offers leverage on its margin trades. Advanced features such as stop losses and automated trading are also enabled. The exchange is also open 24/7, allowing you to trade whenever you want.

What trading pairs are available?

Trading pairs refer to two types of currency/assets/commodities/securities that you can trade between.

For example, Bitcoin and Litecoin can be a trading pair, meaning you can swap your Bitcoin for Litecoin and vice versa. They are abbreviated as BTC (Bitcoin) and LTC (Litecoin), so the trading pair will be shown as BTC/LTC.

This can be somewhat daunting if you do not know the abbreviated names. It would be worthwhile to spend time getting acquainted with several cryptocurrencies you like first before branching out.

Kraken also allows customers to deposit and withdraw using fiat currency (national currency). Some of the fiat currencies available to deposit are GBP, USD, EUR, CAD, and JPY. Kraken enables trading between select fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin and Ethereum. This is an important feature as a lot of exchanges do not currently support fiat deposits or trading with fiat.

Trading fees

Kraken charges trading fees dependent on the transaction cost and which could be subject to adjustment if their funding partners adjust their own fee structures.

If you live in the US, the bank wire deposit and withdrawal fee is set to $5. If you live in Europe, the bank wire deposit fee is €10.

Transfers and deposits made in crypto have their own fees associated with them. For example, if you wish to withdraw Bitcoin, the fee will be 0.001 BTC.

The best way to learn is to play around

The best method for getting acquainted with the Kraken cryptocurrency exchange is to play around with insignificant funds until you are comfortable you know what you’re doing. Never put money into a platform that you cannot afford to lose.

We do not recommend any cryptocurrency or exchange in particular. On this basis, it would be wise for you to do your own research into projects, cryptocurrencies, and platforms since ultimately you are responsible for any decisions you make.

What next?

Learn more about what cryptocurrency exchanges are, how they work, and how they benefit you. Read our definitive series. 

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