Kraken vs Coinbase 2018 – A Detailed Comparison

Anyone who has been actively involved in cryptocurrencies will tell you that Kraken and Coinbase are two of the most popular and longest serving exchanges out there. And while both are built to help users acquire and sell cryptocurrencies, each comes with different features that make it unique.

To help you understand Coinbase and Kraken better, we are going to do a comparison of the two exchanges, covering the major features in order to discover how exactly they differ. Who knows, maybe one could be offering that one specific thing that will make your experience better as you continue to venture into this world of cryptocurrencies.

LinkVisit NowVisit Now
LocationSan Francisco, CaloforniaSan Francisco, Calofornia
FounderFred Ehrsam and Brian ArmstrongJesse Powell
Site TypeEasy Buy/SellCryptocurrency Exchange
Beginner Friendly YesNo
Accepted CryptocurrenciesBitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and LitecoinBitcoin, Ethereum and 14 more
Fiat CurrencyYesYes
Deposit MethodsBank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, CryptocurrenciesBank Transfer, Cryptocurrencies
Withdrawal MethodsBank Transfer, Cryptocurrencies, PayPalBank Transfer, Cryptocurrencies
Mobile AppYesYes
Community TrustGreatGreat
Supported Countries32 CountriesWorldwide
Customer SupportGreatGood

Kraken vs Coinbase Founders and Geographical Location

Before we get to the actual features of Kraken and Coinbase, it’s only wise to first know the brains behind these two exchanges and, of course, where each one of them is based.


Kraken is a brainchild of Jesse Powell, who’s also the CEO of the company. He founded the exchange in 2011 in San Francisco, California, looking to introduce a platform where users could buy and sell multiple digital assets. Today, Kraken has grown to become one of the biggest exchanges in terms of euro volume and liquidity, with a growing team of more than 75 people.


Also headquartered in the city of San Francisco, California, Coinbase is a digital currency exchange founded by Fred Ehrsam and Brian Armstrong in July 2011. The company started services to purchase and sell bitcoin using bank transfers in October 2012, allowing early adopters to get a share of the digital currency.

Kraken vs Coinbase Trading Platform

Kraken – Kraken is not considered as a beginner-friendly option. It operates more like an exchange than a platform to buy Ethereum, bitcoin and other digital currencies.  It allows users to trade a number of cryptocurrency pairs, more like a stock or Forex exchange, making it quite complicated for the newcomers. If you want to buy any cryptocurrency, you have to register an account, verify it, deposit money via bank transfer, wait for your deposit to reflect, and then trade your money for the cryptocurrency.

Coinbase – Coinbase is the complete opposite of Kraken when it comes to usability. It offers a simple platform to purchase Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. It simplifies the whole process, allowing you to lock in your price quicker. All you need to do is register an account, verify your email, and credit card, and instantly buy your digital currencies at a set price. You see? Fast and easy!

When it comes to user-friendliness, Coinbase takes the day. The platform is easy to use compared to its counterpart Kraken, and obtaining your digital currencies is speedier. It’s a preferred option among the newcomers in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Kraken vs Coinbase Security and Safety

Let’s look at the most contentious issue: Security! You see, the world of cryptocurrencies has been a blessing and a curse to many. A blessing because most investors have enjoyed really good gains from investing in potential coins, and a curse for exchanges/individuals that have experienced hacking and their cryptocurrencies stolen! We love the fact that cryptocurrencies are fully decentralized, and the fact that they leverage the benefits of blockchain technology, hacking into the network is very difficult. Well, the same can’t be said for the many exchanges out there. Kraken and Coinbase are centralized, meaning they have control of your funds. This makes them susceptible to hacking, but what matters most are the measures they have put in place to avoid this and keep your funds secure. Let’s see what each has to offer.

Kraken – The overall reputation of Kraken is impressive, especially considering that we haven’t heard of a major hack yet. In fact, when MT.Gox was hacked and $460 million worth of cryptocurrencies stolen, Kraken was chosen as the ideal platform through which all creditors would be paid.

To keep customer’s funds safe, Kraken stores most of the digital assets in a cold storage, except the ones that are actively being used for trading. It’ also worthy to note that Kraken fully complies with the U.S. regulations and laws, guaranteeing customer funds protection. Additionally, it employs 2-Factor authentication to ensure there’s no unauthorized account access.

Coinbase – Just like Kraken, Coinbase is also a very reputable company that enjoys huge support from its users. It also offers 2-factor authentication, segregates user and company funds, limiting individual funds to individual operations and company funds to company operations, complies fully with the U.S. regulations, and stores most of its coins in a cold storage. But the company takes security a step further, believing that if it were to suffer an attack, users deserve to be compensated. For this reason, all the funds it holds online are insured completely by a syndicate of Lloyd’s of London. If you are a U.S. based user, you have more reasons to smile because Coinbase also ensures USD wallet balances by FDIC insurance, covering up to $250,000.

If you own large amounts of cryptocurrencies, say Bitcoin, Coinbase offers you an option to use Coinbase Vault and Multi Sag Vault to store them. In the former, several users are involved in protecting your account, and all of them have to confirm any possible withdrawal before it’s even processed, something that can take up to 48hours. For the latter, the users can have control over their cryptocurrencies, but you are only offered a single key that’s encrypted with your password, the other is shared, and the last one remains with Coinbase.

Considering the safety measure implemented by Kraken and Coinbase, it’s certain that Coinbase is the clear winner. But let this not convince you to store all your cryptocurrencies in any exchange; once you are done purchasing your preferred coin, it’s always best to transfer them to your wallet for better security.

Kraken Vs Coinbase Accepted Cryptocurrencies

Kraken – Kraken is best known as a platform for exchanging Ethereum and Bitcoin to cash (USD and EUR), but it also hosts a good number of altcoins. Currently, the platform accepts Melon, Dogecoin, Stellar Limens, Augur, Gnosis, Ether Class Zcash, Iconomi, Monero, Ripple, Dash, EOS, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Bitcoin. The company also plans to add more altcoins in future, with more coming in 2018.Something else that gives Kraken an edge over other crypto-exchanges is the fact that it offers trading bitcoin against GBP and CAD.

Coinbase – Unlike Kraken, which offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies, Coinbase offers just a few major ones. The company is best known as just an entry-level service, targeting the newbies in the cryptocurrency world. Currently, the platform allows you to buy and sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. If you want to access more functions, Coinbase allows you to use its sister exchange – GDAX – where you can engage in more advanced trading.

With that said, Kraken is the winner when it comes to cryptocurrencies offered. If you are looking for an easy platform to buy bitcoins, you will do well with Coinbase. However, if you want to access a large number of altcoins, Kraken is the place for you.

Kraken Vs Coinbase Payment Methods

Kraken – Kraken accepts fiat currency, which is a plus for most cryptocurrency enthusiasts. However, to deposit your money you need to do a bank transfer, with those having an account within the European Economic Area having a slight advantage since it also supports the SEPA payment system. Besides fiat currencies, Kraken also allows its users to deposit cryptocurrencies. Sadly, instant money options such as Neteller, PayPal and Credit Cards are not supported.

Coinbase – Coinbase does not only allow bank transfers and cryptocurrency payments, it also accepts payments via credit cards and debit cards. But that’s only where deposits are concerned. If you wish to withdrawal from Coinbase, then you will have more options at your disposal. You can either do a bank transfer to move your funds to your PayPal address (for U.S. clients).

Considering that Coinbase offers more payment methods, including PayPal and credit/debit cards, it emergences as the winner in this category.

Kraken Vs Coinbase Transfer Limits

Kraken – Just like most exchanges out there, Kraken imposes transfer limits depending on the payment method and tires. However, the limits for withdrawals and deposits are calculated separately, with the monthly and annual limits being considered over rolling periods, and not by the calendar.

If you have an individual account, for instance, you will be slapped with a $25,000 daily limit on digital currencies and $50,000 monthly limit. This, however, differs from a corporate account, with limits going up to $5,000,000 daily.

Here’s a clear presentation:

Coinbase – Coinbase also has a set of transfer limits, with the option of lifting them after some time. Don’t feel frustrated about this at first because it’s all done as a security measure. The weekly limits of the company can also differ from the payment method you intend to use as well as your region. And while those of Bank transfer and PayPal can be lifted, the same doesn’t apply to credit card users. Here the weekly limits that Coinbase suggests:

  • $50 purchases through credit or debit card
  • $5,000 purchases through bank accounts
  • $50,000 sells on any payment method.

Both Kraken and Coinbase are winners as far as transfer limits are concerned. While Coinbase slaps users with a low limit for debit or credit card payments, it compensates when it comes to bank transfers, offering up to $50,000 sell limit. Kraken, on the other hand, offers limits depending on an account with a high of $50,000 for sells. So unless you plan to trade for an organization, the limits are fairly similar with these two exchanges.

Kraken Vs Coinbase Fees

 Kraken – Generally, the trading fees at Kraken are below 0.36%. The fees can vary depending on the currency pairs, with additional fees charged when withdrawing or depositing funds. In order to understand better about Kraken fees, go ahead and check out the image below. It shows both deposit and withdrawal fees, including USD bank and EUR SEPA transfers.

Coinbase – Compared to other exchanges in the market, one would say that it offers fairly low fees. However, when compared to Kraken, you will notice that the bank transfer typically carry a 1.4% fee, with that of debit/credit card carrying 3.99% fee. But hey! Considering Coinbase offers services such as credit card transfers that Kraken do not, the high fees are understandable.

Here’s a simple presentation of Coinbase fees for the UK and US markets:


If saving a few bucks is your main concern when trading cryptocurrencies, Kraken is the exchange for you. It offers lower fees, but only accepts limited payment options. If you don’t mind paying some extra dollars and have the option to buy cryptocurrencies using a credit card then you’ll do well with Coinbase.

Kraken Vs Coinbase Supported Countries

Kraken – Perhaps one of the reasons why Kraken is widely adopted is the fact that it accepts users from any country worldwide. Although the fiat currency deposits are limited to some regions, you can sign up with the platform, get an account and start trading upon verification.

Coinbase – Coinbase only accepts users from 32 countries, but it plans to add more in the future. Those supported include the United Kingdom, Singapore, United States, Canada and 28 more European countries.

Kraken Vs Coinbase Customer Support

 Generally, great customer support isn’t easy to come buy when it comes to exchanges. The recent price gains of the majority of coins have seen a huge wave of investors come in, overwhelming most cryptocurrency exchanges. This has made the support teams struggle to keep up with addressing arising issues.

Kraken – Kraken has been known for impressive customer support for long, but recently there have been some complaints about long turn-around time. Some users claim that they are taking longer to have their accounts verified, not to mention the difficulty in reaching the support within a reasonable time. Currently, the site offers a “Contact” page where you can submit your request.

Coinbase – The customer support of Coinbase isn’t flawless, but the company seems to strive to respond to issues raised within a reasonable timeframe. You can contact the support team via email and you will likely get a response within 24 to 48 hours.

Both Kraken and Coinbase offers detailed FAQ section on most common issues raised well covered. However, Coinbase appears to respond quicker compared to Kraken. It handles verifications in a reasonable time frame and responds to all queries via email within two days, which is quite impressive.

Kraken Vs Coinbase Final Thoughts

Let’s be honest. If you have gone through this comparison, you will clearly see that Coinbase and Kraken have their own pros and cons. For instance, when it comes to simple interface, Coinbase takes the day; when it comes to the fees charged, Kraken is the winner. Ultimately, everything boils down to user preference, especially considering that both sites are great for buying digital currencies. Compare the two exchanges, keeping your interests in mind, and go for the one that suits your needs.

Visit Kraken 

Visit Coinbase