Now that it’s established that you’re a pro-gambler on the best crypto casino, you might consider trying your hand at more conventional crypto trading.

When deciding on a cryptocurrency exchange platform, you would do well to consider the Kraken vs Coinbase debate. Both platforms are well-renowned, with each boasting millions of users.

If you find yourself in a toss-up between the two, don’t fear! We will help you decide on all things cryptocurrency – it’s why we are here!

So, let’s consider some of the big arguments in the Kraken vs Coinbase debate, including usability, security, unique features of each, currencies, fees, and access. 

Kraken vs Coinbase: History

But first, some history. Kraken was founded by Jesse Powell in 2011. Initially, Powell was working on a large cryptocurrency exchange platform by the name of Mt Gox.

Mt Gox was hacked, and investors lost a whopping $450 billion in BTC: a significant blow. In response, Powell left to create his own exchange with superior security in the hopes of regaining investors’ trust in cryptocurrency.

And he has done just that. Kraken is one of the most popular exchange platforms in existence, and its top-class security features mean that the platform has never been hacked.

Kraken’s main aim over and above security is to offer the widest range of cryptocurrencies for purchase using fiat currencies, e.g., USD, EUR, and JPY.

Coinbase was also founded in the US as a rival exchange to Mt Gox, but the focus of this platform was the ease of use. The design was very popular and the exchange grew fast, reaching over one million users by 2014.

Soon the platform was partnered up with big names like Expedia, Dell, Time Inc, PayPal, and others to aid in Bitcoin payments.

Kraken vs Coinbase Platform Comparison

1. Usability

Essentially, Kraken is designed for more advanced, active traders than those targeted by Coinbase.

Some consider Kraken’s interface a bit outdated. This is one of the main reasons the platform is best suited to veteran traders, as newcomers might get a little confused.

Platform Usability

Kraken Signup & Funds

To signup:

  • Create an account for free by entering your email address and creating a password
  • Verify your email address
  • Secure your account with two-factor authentication

To deposit funds:

  • Advanced verification is required, including a copy of your ID, proof of residence, and social security number.
  • Once verified, funds can come from a digital wallet or an ACH/wire transfer

Coinbase Signup & Funds

To signup:

  • Create a free account using your email address and a unique password
  • Verify your email

To begin trading:

  • First, verify your account with a copy of your ID
  • Connect your bank account/credit card to the platform
  • Get trading right away!

Number of Active Users

In looking at how Kraken vs Coinbase compare for user numbers, the former boasts far more active users at 13.3M vs 4M users.

2. Security

In terms of security, both platforms carefully adhere to standard KYC (know-your-customer) practices. They are considered as two of the most secure exchanges on which to trade.

Notable Kraken Security Features

  • Whitelisting approved addresses: all withdrawal addresses must first be verified; any non-verified external addresses are totally restricted.
  • Two-factor authentication: provided by Google Authenticator. Additionally, there is no SMS account recovery feature, as this can leave your account vulnerable to hacking through your phone.
  • U2F security hardware key: Kraken allows users to connect to a U2F security key to allow for crypto keys to be securely stored offline.
  • Global settings lock: this allows you to instantly freeze your account from anywhere for up to 29 days so that everything is safe while you are away from your account.

Notable Coinbase Security Features

  • Two-factor authentication: either through Google Authenticator or via SMS. Please note that your account may be vulnerable if your phone is stolen because of the SMS authentication feature.
  • Cold storage: around 98% of all assets are kept in cold storage, i.e., hardware that isn’t connected to the internet (and is, therefore, safe from hacking).
  • Cryptocurrency vault: you can store your assets in vaults that require multiple user approvals for fund withdrawal. If transaction approvals do not come through within 24h, any withdrawal attempts are canceled.
  • Built-in wallet: you can store all your crypto assets in a password, and biometric access control protected Coinbase wallet.
  • FDIC insurance: insure up to $250,000 in any deposited USD funds (excluding cryptocurrency assets).
Platform Security

3. The Unique Features Of Each

Both of these platforms are cryptocurrency exchanges, which is to say you can use them to purchase and trade in cryptocurrencies.

But they approach these fundamentals in some unique ways, which set the two platforms apart in the Kraken vs Coinbase debate.

Kraken Unique Features

As we already touched on above, Kraken is designed for more seasoned traders. And this is made clear by the sheer number of trading options that users can choose from, some of which are definitely not recommended for beginners.

On Kraken, you can place a limit order, market order, settle position order, stop-limit order, stop market order, trailing stop order, and time in force limit orders. Additionally, you can choose to give margin trading or futures trading a go.

To aid you in the more advanced trading practices, Kraken provides users with advanced charting features. The “Advanced Markets View” features live order book transactions, charts overlaid with multiple market indicators, and the option for users to build a watchlist.

Another notable feature of the Kraken exchange is that it allows users to access their API keys, enabling them to integrate their other apps with the exchange. Access to the keys is highly secure.

Kraken also provides an investor service for newbies looking to invest big in cryptocurrency. A specialist will be assigned to you to help you with market analyses and reporting and aid in the trading and the safe storage of your assets.  

Coinbase Unique Features

Coinbase caters to beginners, going so far as to provide educational videos on the various currencies and trading methods. The site even offers cryptocurrency bonuses to users who complete a quiz following the tutorials. 

The platform also boasts an extensive, up-to-date newsfeed, which you can filter according to your currency of interest.

Finally, you can create a watchlist of all your currencies of interest, and Coinbase will send you alerts following any significant price swings.

Exchange Platform Features

4. Supported Currencies

Both exchanges allow access to over 50 different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Uniswap, Cardano, Chainlink, Compound, and more. Check out respective lists of all supported currencies for Kraken vs Coinbase on their websites. 

On both sites, you can buy crypto fractions using USD. On Coinbase, the minimum order is $2. Kraken lists its minimum orders as a percentage of the token in question, e.g., 0.00002 BTC.

The maximum amounts you can trade per day are $25,000 on Coinbase and $100,000 on Kraken.

5. Fees

Both platforms charge a standard percentage transaction fee and an additional fee depending on your payment method.

Both are reasonably pricey compared to other exchanges, but Coinbase is even more expensive than Kraken – the price of that easy interface!

But, if you are trading crypto-for-crypto, Kraken boasts some of the lowest exchange fees of any other trading platform, usually sitting under 0.29% depending on the currencies in question. In comparison, Coinbase trading fees can reach up to 3.99%.

For a full price breakdown for Kraken vs Coinbase, click here for Coinbase and here for Kraken.

Value For Money

It very much depends on what you are looking to do on these platforms. That said, on average, Coinbase is touted as the better value for money, given its easy usability and special features despite its higher trading fees.

6. Access

Both platforms are internationally available in over 100 countries, with Coinbase coming in at just over 100 countries, vs Kraken, which is now available in over 170 countries.

Coinbase operates legally within all 50 states within the US, whereas Kraken has yet to become compliant with Washington and New York State regulatory laws. 

Kraken Review

Final Thoughts

When considering Kraken vs Coinbase, there are only really a few similarities between these sites, over and above both being cryptocurrency exchange platforms.

Both support many different currencies, including the most popular, and both learned their lesson from Mt Gox and designed highly secure exchanges.

Kraken is best suited to seasoned crypto traders with its incredibly low exchange fees, advanced order features, and advanced trading options such as futures and margin trading.

Coinbase is best suited to beginners, with its simple, easy-to-follow interface and educational videos. Trading on this platform is, in summary, straightforward and incredibly secure.

So, now you have all the facts, and it is up to you to decide which platform is best suited to your needs!

Check out our blog for other crypto comparison articles, including Binance vs Coinbase: Complete Platform Comparison and Stellar vs Ripple Cryptocurrency Comparison.