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Coinbase vs Kraken (2022)

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Looking for the best crypto trading platform?

Coinbase is a popular option for crypto investors that prioritise convenience and that want access to a slew of extra features. Alternatively, Kraken is a solid choice for crypto traders that want access to cost-efficient spot and margins trading.

But what do I think is better: Coinbase or Kraken?

In this Coinbase vs Kraken match-up, I’ll compare the differences between each company and discuss each platform’s fees, features, pros, cons, and more.

Let’s get to it.

Quick Comparison

 CoinbaseKraken
Best ForInvestors that want a convenient way to trade crypto and access to lots of extra featuresAdvanced, security-focused crypto traders that want lower fees and the ability to trade on a margin
Supported Cryptocurrencies50+90+
Payment MethodsUK bank transfer (via FPS)
SWIFT bank transfer
SEPA bank transfer
Debit and credit card
Crypto deposit
PayPal
UK bank transfer (via FPS)
UK bank transfer (via CHAPS)
SWIFT bank transfer
Debit and credit card
Crypto deposit
Instant Buy Trading FeesUnder £200: 0.50% spread + £0.99–£2.99 trading fee

Over £200: 0.50% spread + 1.49% trading fee
0.9 to 1.5%
Exchange Trading Fees0.50% or less0.26% or less
Deposit FeesUK bank transfer (via FPS): Free
SWIFT bank transfer: Free
SEPA bank transfer: €0.15
Debit and credit card: 3.99%
Crypto deposit: Free
PayPal: Not Available
UK bank transfer (via FPS): Free
UK bank transfer (via CHAPS): £21
SWIFT bank transfer: £0–£3
Debit and credit card: 3.75% + €0.25
Crypto deposit: Free
Withdrawal FeesUK bank transfer (via FPS): Free
SWIFT bank transfer: £1
SEPA bank transfer: €0.15
Debit and credit card: 2%
Crypto withdrawal: Varies
PayPal: 2%
UK bank transfer (via FPS): £1.95
UK bank transfer (via CHAPS): £21
SWIFT bank transfer: £13–£35
Crypto withdrawal: Varies
Account LimitsTrading: No limit (Verification Level 3)
Daily Fiat Withdrawal: £100,000
Daily Fiat Deposit: £250,000
Trading: No limit
Daily Fiat Withdrawal: $100,000 (Intermediate level)
Daily Fiat Deposit: $100,000 (Intermediate level)
Security FeaturesTwo-factor authentication
Address whitelisting
Cold storage
Cryptoasset insurance
Two-factor authentication
Address whitelisting
Cold storage
24/7 live chat security team support
100% of deposited assets held in reserve

Overview: Coinbase vs Kraken

Kraken and Coinbase are two of the longest-running centralised crypto trading platforms in the world.

To start our comparison, let’s take a quick glance at the history of each company.

What is Coinbase?

Coinbase is a remote-first crypto exchange and broker that was originally headquartered in the US. The firm was founded in 2012, but it made history in 2021 when it became one of the first major crypto companies to be publicly traded on a US stock exchange.

Nowadays, Coinbase boasts more than 68 million traders in more than 100 countries. Its primary features are its crypto broker and exchange services, but it also offers a crypto-backed debit card and other nifty tools for investors.

What is Kraken?

Kraken is a US-based crypto broker and exchange with headquarters in San Francisco. The company was founded in 2011 and it launched its trading services in 2013. Kraken also holds an SPDI bank charter in the US state of Wyoming, which means that it also technically operates as a bank.

Kraken’s main service is its crypto exchange, though it also offers some brokerage services through its instant buy platform. Additionally, the company offers crypto margin and futures trading, as well as an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk.

Key Features

Coinbase and Kraken are primarily crypto trading destinations, both firms offer a handful of key features beyond their basic trading services.

With Coinbase, investors can buy crypto using the company’s instant buy broker services or through its advanced exchange, Coinbase Pro.

Other features available with Coinbase include:

  • Coinbase Staking: Coinbase’s simplified staking feature lets you earn passive income on your staked assets without withdrawing them from the exchange.
  • Coinbase Earn: A simple and fun way to earn free crypto by watching educational videos.
  • Coinbase Card: With the Coinbase Card, you get a Visa debit card that lets you pay for goods and services using the crypto in your account. Check out my Coinbase card review to learn more.
  • Coinbase Wallet: In addition to its custodial wallets services, Coinbase offers a non-custodial software wallet that gives you more control over your crypto. Go to my Coinbase wallet review for more information.

To learn more about all these features, head over to my dedicated Coinbase review.

Kraken also offers instant buy-type crypto trades and a spot trading exchange for experienced investors called Kraken Pro.

Some of the other features you can access with Kraken include:

  • Margin Trading: In addition to spot trades, eligible Kraken investors can access margin trading with up to 5x leverage.
  • Futures Trading: Kraken offers futures trading on select cryptocurrencies for investors in certain geographic regions. Note that futures trading isn’t currently available to UK retail investors.
  • OTC Trading Desk: With Kraken, investors can place private trades on the company’s popular OTC trading desk. OTC trading has a $100,000 minimum order size and is only available if you complete Pro-level verification.
  • Cryptowatch: Cryptowatch is one of the most powerful crypto trading terminals on the market. Kraken offers a free version to all account holders as well as a paid premium subscription.
  • Staking: Kraken supports both on- and off-chain staking for select cryptocurrencies. However, off-chain staking is not available in the UK.

You can learn more about all these features in my Kraken review.

As far as crypto trading features go, Kraken has a clear edge over Coinbase if you’re an advanced investor. But for most UK-based traders who aren’t interested in margin or OTC trades, the extra features at Coinbase are arguably more practical.

Winner: Coinbase

Supported Cryptocurrencies

There are currently more than 50 cryptocurrencies available for trading in the UK on Coinbase.

Note that some cryptocurrencies are only available for trading on Coinbase and not Coinbase Pro, and vice versa. For more information, head to Coinbase’s list of supported cryptocurrencies.

Kraken supports over 90 cryptocurrencies for traders in the UK, including most top coins and ERC-20 tokens.

However, the firm has limited GBP trading pairs and it only lets you buy about 40 coins and tokens using GBP. All other supported cryptocurrencies need to be purchased with a different fiat currency, like Euro (EUR) or another cryptocurrency. Check out Kraken’s list of supported cryptocurrencies to learn more.

Winner: Kraken

Payment Options

UK-based investors on Coinbase can fund their account with the following payment methods:

  • UK bank transfer (via FPS)
  • SWIFT bank transfer
  • SEPA bank transfer
  • PayPal (withdrawal only)
  • Debit and credit card
  • Crypto deposit

If you’re using Coinbase Pro, you can only fund your account with a UK bank transfer (via FPS) or a SEPA bank transfer.

Kraken currently supports the following payment methods for UK residents:

  • UK bank transfer (via FPS)
  • UK bank transfer (via CHAPS)
  • SWIFT bank transfer
  • Debit and credit card
  • Crypto deposit

There’s little difference between the available payment methods at Coinbase and Kraken.

But Coinbase has a slight edge because it lets UK-based traders deposit EUR using a SEPA transfer while Kraken requires investors outside of the Eurozone to use SWIFT transfers. Alternatively, if you want to make larger GBP deposits Kraken has the advantage because it supports CHAPS transfers.

Winner: Draw

Fees

The fee schedules for both Kraken and Coinbase are complex. Here’s a look at the different fees that each company charges for its services.

Instant Buy & Sell Fees

Purchases made through Coinbase’s instant buy feature are charged a 0.50% spread fee and a transaction fee. Transaction fees for this service are:

Trade ValueFees
< £30£0.99
£10 to £25£1.49
£25 to £50£1.99
£50 to £200£2.99
> £2001.49%

Keep in mind that the transaction fees are charged in addition to any deposit fees that you might incur.

Kraken lets you quickly buy and sell crypto using a credit or debit card. The firm charges a 1.5% fee for most instant buys placed on its platform. The only exception is for stablecoin purchases made with USD or another stablecoin, which incurs a 0.9% fee.

Note that these instant buy fees are also on top of the deposit fee you’ll pay for purchasing crypto using a debit or credit card.

Winner: Kraken

Exchange Fees

Trades placed on the Coinbase Pro exchange incur fees based on their maker-taker fee schedule.

These fees are:

Monthly Trading VolumeMaker FeeTaker Fee
$10,000 or less0.50%0.50%
$10,000 to $50,0000.35%0.35%
$50,000 to $100,0000.10%0.25%
$100,000 to $1 million0.10%0.20%
$1 million to $20 million0.08%0.18%
$20 million to $100 million0.05%0.15%
$100 million to $300 million0.02%0.10%
$300 million to $500 millionFree0.08%
$500 million to $750 millionFree0.06%
$750 million to $1 billionFree0.05%
$1 billion or moreFree0.04%

The trading fees if you’re converting from fiat to stablecoins (or vice versa) are significantly different. For instance, you’ll be charged 0.01% as a taker and 0% as a maker when buying USD Coin (USDC) or Tether (USDT) with GBP.

Kraken’s crypto exchange, Kraken Pro, also charges fees using a maker-taker fee schedule. For most crypto-fiat spot trading pairs, the fees for the exchange are as follows:

30-Day Trading VolumeMakerTaker
< $50,0000.16%0.26%
$50,000 to $100,0000.14%0.24%
$100,000 to $250,0000.12%0.22%
$250,000 to $500,0000.10%0.20%
$500,000 to $1 million0.08%0.18%
$1 million to $2.5 million0.06%0.16%
$2.5 million to $5 million0.04%0.14%
$5 million to $10 million0.02%0.12%
> $10 million0.00%0.10%

If you trade stablecoins using EUR or USD on Kraken Pro, the fee schedule is slightly different. These fees are as high as 0.20% for makers and traders and they decrease to 0% for investors with a 30-day trading volume of over $1 million.

Both margin and futures trading on Kraken have their own fee schedules. Margin fees vary based on the cryptocurrency in question, though most cryptocurrencies have a 0.002% opening and 4-hour rollover fee. For futures, Kraken charges a maximum of 0.05% per trade.

Winner: Kraken

Deposit & Withdrawal Fees

Both Kraken and Coinbase charge some fees for depositing and withdrawing funds from your account. These fees are as follows:

 CoinbaseKraken
UK Bank Transfer (via FPS)FreeDeposit: Free
Withdrawal: £1.95
UK Bank Transfer (via CHAPS)N/ADeposit: £21
Withdrawal: £21
Credit & Debit Card3.99%3.75% + €0.25
SWIFT Bank TransferFree (Deposit)
£1 (Withdrawal)
Deposit: £0 to £3
Withdrawal: £13 to £35
SEPA Bank Transfer€0.15N/A
PayPal2%N/A
Crypto DepositsFreeFree
Crypto WithdrawalsVariesVaries

If you want to fund your account solely with UK FPS transfers, you’ll get fee-free deposits with both Coinbase and Kraken, but there’s a small fee for FPS withdrawals with Kraken.

The differences between each broker come when you want to use other payment methods.

For example, Kraken offers slightly lower credit and debit card fees, especially if you make a larger purchase, but it charges higher fees for SWIFT transactions. But both Kraken and Coinbase offer free crypto deposits, though they charge crypto withdrawal fees to cover network transaction costs.

Winner: Coinbase

Limits

Coinbase and Kraken both have account limits that vary based on your verification level.

With Coinbase, the verification levels for UK-based accounts are as follows:

 Level 1Level 2Level 3
RequirementsPhone number verificationPersonal information verificationPhoto ID verification
Primary Benefits£10,000 daily trading limitUnlimited tradingSend and receive crypto

The only other notable Coinbase limits are the platform-wide £250,000 daily deposit limit and the £100,000 daily withdrawal limit. Coinbase Pro has a $50,000 daily deposit limit, but you can request a limit increase if needed.

Kraken also has a verification and limits system for UK residents. These verification tiers are:

 StarterIntermediatePro
RequirementsPersonal information verification and 2FAProof of residence, photo ID verification, and occupational informationKYC questionnaire and company approval
Crypto Deposit LimitDaily: Unlimited
Monthly: Unlimited
Daily: Unlimited
Monthly: Unlimited
Daily: Unlimited
Monthly: Unlimited
Crypto Withdrawal LimitDaily: $5,000
Monthly: Unlimited
Daily: $500,000
Monthly: Unlimited
Daily: $10 million
Monthly: Unlimited
Fiat Deposit LimitN/ADaily: $100,000
Monthly: $500,000
Daily: $10 million
Monthly: $100 million
Fiat Withdrawal LimitN/ADaily: $100,000
Monthly: $500,000
Daily: $10 million
Monthly: $100 million
Primary BenefitsSpot trading and on-chain stakingMargin and futures tradingOTC desk access

For most people, Kraken’s intermediate verification level provides more than enough flexibility and functionality. But Kraken requires more personal information from users and its fiat deposit limits at the intermediate level are lower than what you get with Coinbase.

Winner: Coinbase

Security

To protect clients from hackers and other bad actors, both Coinbase and Kraken offer a number of safety features.

With Coinbase, user accounts are protected using cold storage, address whitelisting, two-factor authentication, and high-level encryption. Coinbase also claims to have an insurance policy to protect investors in the event of a successful security breach, but it doesn’t say how much the policy is worth.

Kraken also uses many of the same features to protect client accounts, such as air-gapped cold storage, two-factor authentication, 24/7 live chat support for security concerns, and address whitelisting.

While Kraken doesn’t have insurance for client assets, its status as an SPDI chartered bank means that it’s legally required to have reserves backing 100% of all client deposits at all times. The firm also conducts regular proof-of-reserve audits and it has a dedicated security feature testing team at Kraken Labs.

Winner: Kraken

The Bottom Line

Kraken and Coinbase are two well-respected players in the crypto industry. Both companies offer popular crypto trading platforms, but each was crafted with a particular kind of investor in mind.

Here’s what I think stands out about Coinbase:

  • It provides a simple, user-friendly way to trade crypto.
  • It has features beyond just crypto trading (e.g., Coinbase Card, Coinbase Earn, etc).
  • In 2022, it remains one of the most popular places around (with more than 73 million verified users).

And here’s what I think stands out about Kraken:

  • It provides an advanced platform that supports spot and margin trading.
  • You’ll be charged lower trading fees when using its exchange (max 0.26%).
  • Founding in 2011 and launching in 2013, they’re a long-running and reputable cryptocurrency exchange.

You can find out more in my dedicated reviews for each of these places:

Any Questions?

Thanks for checking out this Coinbase vs Kraken showdown!

Got a question about either of these places?

Let me know in the comments below.

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