Today we are going to walk you through our exchange comparison between Kraken and Binance, two of the world’s biggest crypto exchanges, with flourishing reputations, hundreds of trading pairs, and an abundance of methods for capitalizing on the digital asset market.
You will learn about their fees, deposit and purchase methods, security, and what it’s like to trade with them in the following categories. Without further ado, Kraken vs Binance — let’s go!
Compare Kraken vs Binance
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Kraken’s Cost Of Trading
With a maker fee of 0.16% and a taker fee of 0.26% for beginners, Kraken could be seen as about average in the industry, maybe below average to some. Certainly, it’s not an expensive place to trade, so their fees’ competitive nature gives a good indication of user-friendliness.
Makers, those who supply liquidity to an exchange by placing orders that are not fulfilled immediately, can reach 0% fees on Kraken by trading more than $10m per month.
Note that stablecoin and FX (foreign exchange, such as EUR, GBP, USD) pairs are charged differently from crypto-to-crypto transactions. There are multiple reasons for this justification, one being improved liquidity, another being tighter spreads, and the most likely of all is simply that Kraken introduced stablecoin and FX pairs much later than crypto pairs — so they took the opportunity for an alternative fee structure.
Margin and futures trading have more complicated fee systems in place, which you can read here. Kraken understands that fees can make things complicated, so they’ve put together this handy guide to read.
Binance: Low Fees Forever
As the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance can afford to offer the industry’s most competitive fees. With maker fees and taker fees of 0.1% for beginners, they do exactly that. Of course, like other exchanges, Binance fees drop as you trade more and more.
The fee schedule below may appear a little complicated at first, and that’s due to their additional opportunities for reduced trading fees. Their native utility token BNB, when held in enough supply, can offer a 25% discount on trading fees, as well as the Binance referral scheme, which offers an additional 20% discount.
All information about withdrawal fees, margin trading costs, and more can be found here.
Winner: Both Binance and Kraken offer low trading fees, but Binance is more economical and offers better discount options.
Sign up and KYC Experience
Becoming A Kraken User
- Head to Kraken.com and click ‘Create Account.’
- Where indicated, type your email address, country of residence, and a username-password combination for your future logins.
- Accept the terms and conditions and continue.
- Go straight to your email client and find an activation key in the latest email. You will need to copy and paste this key, alongside your username and password, on Kraken’s website.
- Click ‘Activate Account,’ which will send you through to the Kraken user dashboard.
- On the navigation bar, seek an option to ‘Get Verified,’ which will offer you three verification choices. We suggest you choose Intermediate for now, as this will allow you to engage with fiat currency.
- KYC (Know Your Customer) checks will now take place, asking for photos or scans of your ID (passport is ideal), a document that proves residence (a bank statement, utility bill, or government document), and a selfie holding your ID document. You’ll also be asked for details of your occupation.
- Verification could take only 10 minutes, but it can be longer.
Joining Binance’s Crypto Exchange Platform
- Becoming a Binance user is quick and easy, but first, you must know that Americans must sign up on Binance.US, whereas other accepted territories should go to Binance.com.
- Go to your emails and find a message from Binance containing a 6-digit verification code.
- Copy the code and paste it into the Binance tab. Confirming this action will create your basic account; however, to deposit fiat currency, you must go through KYC identity checks, which can be done by finding ‘Identification’ on the drop-down menu.
- You’ll now see a big yellow button that says ‘Verify,’ after which you will need to provide your name, nationality, residential address, date of birth, front and back photos of your ID, a selfie holding your ID card, and facial verification through your webcam.
- Now, wait for an email confirmation of your successful Binance registration, which can take anything from 15 minutes to a few days depending on their backlog or signup complications.
- Users whose application fails will have the option to make ten re-attempts in the next 24 hours.
Winner: It’s hard to tell Binance and Kraken apart in this regard, so let’s call it a tie.
Ease of Use & Feel of Website/App
Kraken’s Logic & Intuition
As is the case with many crypto exchanges in 2021, creating an intuitive platform for beginners, logical for regular traders, and comprehensive features for advanced traders is done with great care and balance. Kraken has found that balance very well, as is reflected by a popular and loyal customer base, who enjoy three well-designed apps that offer great opportunities for gains and low opportunity for mistakes.
If we are to fault Kraken in their service and its ease of use, it would be in their web trading interface’s visual design. With a stylized retro 8-bit design, strange fonts, and difficult-to-consume information, as well as a reversed layout, we wonder if Kraken would be more successful if they were to simplify and clean up this space. Of course, we cannot speak for everyone, as many user reviews suggest that the design is cool and modern.
Binance: The King of Cryptocurrency Exchanges?
The most impressive thing about Binance is not that they’ve climbed ranks to be the world’s dominant cryptocurrency exchange, but rather, they’ve done it in far less time than their competitors. Binance launched in July 2017, whereas Kraken opened in September 2013, and despite this gulf in time, Binance has done incredible things to rightly earn its place on the throne.
Binance is designed in such a way that buying, selling, and trading crypto assets can be done without confusion, offering people assurances and confirmations as they move through their user journey. With so many options for their coins, such as margin trading, futures trading, coin staking, a commission-free P2P exchange, and more, it’s no wonder the trading volume on Binance far exceeds others.
Less than a year after launching, China decided to clamp down on crypto, forcing Binance into a decision. Founder, Changpeng Zhao, decided that the best thing to do was move to Europe, particularly Malta, which openly expresses its support of cryptocurrency. Thanks to this relocation, Binance grew remarkably, offering their entire service in 17 languages (live chat in eight) and more than 1,000 market pairings.
Winner: Binance offers the best crypto experience for the majority of traders.
Potential users of Kraken will be delighted to discover that their platform has been designed with international users in mind, introducing fiat currency compatibility with seven major international currencies. Each of these currencies offers multiple methods for deposits, many of which are free or very low in fees:
- USD – Fedwire, SWIFT, and SEN are free (service-dependent)
- EUR – SEPA, and SWIFT are typically free
- CAD – Wire transfer and Domestic Wire are free, SWIFT transfers cost depending on the payment provider, and Canadian customers also have the option of making cash deposits in certain banks for a small fee
- AUD – Bank transfers and Osko are free
- GBP – BACS, and SWIFT (Etana) are free, but CHAPS and SWIFT (Bank Frick) incur a cost
- CHF – SIC and SWIFT each charge a 0.75 CHF deposit fee for every transaction
- JPY – SWIFT is free with a minimum of 15,000 JPY (around €120)
Which Kraken deposit method is best for you? Find out here.
Making cryptocurrency deposits on Kraken is free, though you will be charged a network mining fee at the end you’re sending from.
Withdrawing to fiat incurs a cost in all currencies except for AUD.
Making deposits to Binance is pretty straight-forward but not as versatile as Kraken by any means. The main fiat deposit methods are:
- Domestic Wire (USD – fees variable)
- Bank transfer or Debit card deposit using Simplex (3.5% charge)
Of course, Binance users can also opt to deposit cryptocurrencies for free, a popular method for those who have purchased or stored their coins elsewhere, such as a popular broker like Coinbase.
There’s also one more Binance deposit method that some may argue is technically a purchase rather than a deposit, but it fits well into both categories. This is a Paxos transfer that converts your currency into PAX and is 1:1 with the US dollar. The advantages of doing a PAX transfer to Binance are that they’re quicker, they’re on the blockchain, have no limits, and allow you to get trading quicker than the other options.
Winner: Both Binance and Kraken offer excellent ways to deposit fiat currencies, but Kraken offers more.
Instant Buy Options (Buying with credit or debit card)
Making Purchases On Kraken
US users typically get a rough deal in the crypto world, often being excluded from exchanges based on the United States financial legislation difficulties; however, Kraken is one of the golden exceptions. With 60 different cryptocurrencies available, combining to make over 270 trading pairs, Kraken is a comprehensive crypto exchange that offers something for everyone.
Those 60 cryptocurrencies you can purchase directly from Kraken come with a 3.75% card fee, plus a €0.25 flat transaction fee. Alternatively, you can deposit fiat currencies for free and make a purchase that avoids this 3.75% charge.
All purchases from Kraken will include their spread. This spread is the difference between the actual market price and their selling price, which, for Kraken, depending on the cryptocurrency, will vary between 2% and 10%. Among crypto exchanges, this is a high spread and worth thinking about before making a purchase.
Kraken users will need at least Intermediate verification to purchase on this cryptocurrency exchange.
Binance users can make purchases by debit or credit card instantly, with a 3.5% charge (or $10, whichever is higher). The range of cryptocurrencies for sale on Binance is considerably smaller than Kraken’s:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Binance Coin
- Stellar Lumens
- Ethereum Classic
Users who want an alternative instant-buy experience can make purchases from other users on the Binance P2P (peer-to-peer) platform; however, there are known to be scammers in this space, so be careful. Binance is doing all it can for user safety, but it’s not foolproof. This P2P area allows Binance users access to dozens of other instant purchase options:
Winner: Binance is slightly cheaper, and offers a P2P area.
Becoming A Kraken Trader
Kraken deserves credit for becoming one of the best crypto services for people in the United States. However, the trading experience loses them some of that credit. It might be our preference, but it seems the balance on Kraken is a bit off to us. They’ve tried to make something cool and quirky that stands out but have forgotten that easily-digestible information and clarity are more important. Wall Street traders who are used to pixelated screens or people who grew up playing Pong might enjoy the Kraken web interface’s retro design, but we think it needs a lot of work.
It’s then remarkable that they could go on and build three of the best crypto mobile apps around, featuring all of their excellent trading pairs, awesome trading options, and an impressive UI/UX. Customer support is even built-in, thanks to a live chat feature.
Binance Big Trading Volume
Coinbase may be the most well-known name in crypto, but give that a year or two, and things are going to change. With great security, low fees, excellent crypto assets on offer, and more trading pairs and coins than 99% of their rivals, there are numerous reasons why other cryptocurrency exchanges fear Binance’s stunning growth.
We can keep going; actually, they have the biggest daily trade volume, which also means the best liquidity. That is often achieved thanks to intuitive wallet and platform designs that make even the most inexperienced beginner feel like a pro.
For our readers in the US, their Binance.US platform (see above) is something to behold. It’s a smaller-scale replica that allows Americans to get the Binance experience despite the US regulatory issues.
Winner: Binance doesn’t put a foot wrong in this arena. It is beginner-friendly, secure, and feels like the right place to put your money from the first moment. That is a real winner.
Reputation & Security
Unlike Binance, Kraken has a zero-hack past, thanks to advanced security features that boost trust and legitimacy. Since they started trading, they’ve only had one major issue: they stopped trading for 48 hours in January 2018 due to disruptions caused by attempted hacks. Kraken was ultimately not compromised, and so all people moved on quickly.
Kraken was also the first major cryptocurrency exchange for publishing a Proof-of-Reserves audit, proving they are taking care of all user funds in cold storage.
Binance was hacked once for 7,000 BTC, worth over $350m at the time of writing. Fortunately, they had an insurance reserve, and all affected users were quickly given back their BTC holdings. Binance defenses have improved since, but poor user reviews of their customer service suggest they still have room for improvement.
Winner: Kraken is the more secure crypto exchange.
Binance vs Kraken – Who Wins?
Both Binance and Kraken are incredible in their own right. However, Binance is king, and Kraken does not look like they will dethrone them anytime soon.