Trading On margin

Kraken vs. Coinbase: which one to use?

Kraken and Coinbase are among the biggest crypto exchanges. Based in the United States, Kraken and Coinbase are global crypto exchanges providing services for buying, selling, and trading crypto. This article compares Kraken and Coinbase with the aim of helping you decide which is best for your purpose.

Introducing Kraken

Kraken is a US-based crypto trading platform. Founded in 2011, it has the reputation of being among the very first crypto exchanges. As a global exchange, Kraken serves clients from many countries, but especially from the United States.

You can buy, sell and trade any supported cryptocurrency on this platform. Kraken’s number one goal is to facilitate the rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies globally. Its services are designed to help it achieve this goal through institutional investor support and other user incentives.

The exchange is fully regulated in the United States and fully compliant with local laws, making it one of the best for Americans to use.

Introducing Coinbase

Coinbase is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States and one of the largest in the world by trading volume. It was founded in 2012 and has made a name for itself as the go-to platform for new traders getting into crypto.


Coinbase offers an easy-to-use platform to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency, but you can also use Coinbase Pro, a more sophisticated platform for professional traders.

Like Kraken, Coinbase is a global cryptocurrency exchange with a presence in many countries.

But the big question is how Coinbase’s services differ from Kraken’s.

Kraken vs. Coinbase: Supported Assets

The number of assets it supports is an important factor in deciding which crypto exchange to use. This is especially important for altcoin traders, as they need many altcoins on the platform to trade different pairs.

At the time of writing, Kraken has over 190 tradable cryptocurrencies listed on its platform, including major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.

Coinbase owns over 200 tradable assets in addition to other assets that are not directly tradable on the exchange.

Comparing the two, Coinbase has more supported assets and gives users more options, making Coinbase the winner in terms of supported assets.

Kraken vs. Coinbase: Supported Countries

Kraken supports users from over 190 countries, with over nine million users, making Kraken a truly global exchange.

Coinbase has users from exactly 100 countries. However, it has far more users than Kraken, with over 98 million verified users.

Kraken vs. Coinbase: Fees

Kraken has different fees for different trades, including Instant Buy, Kraken Pro, Stablecoins, Margin, Futures, and NFT. However, for the purposes of this comparison, we will only consider instant buy fees and maker/taker fees.

For the instant purchase of digital assets, Kraken charges a 0.5% fee for stablecoins and a 1.5% fee for other cryptocurrencies. Fees are also charged depending on the method of purchase, as shown in the table below. All fees are in addition to Kraken’s 0.9% fee.


Coinbase charges more for bank-to-bank transfers, 1.49%, compared to 0.5% for Kraken. Coinbase also charges more for debit cards, 3.99%, compared to 3.75% for Kraken.

Instant Buy Fee

kraken

Kraken Fees Payment card processing fees Digital wallet payment processing fees Online Banking/ACH Processing Fee
0.9% fee for all stablecoins 1.5% fee for any other crypto or FX pair 3.75% + 0.25c 3.75% + 0.25c 0.5%

Coinbase

Method of payment/remittance Effective conversion rate
US bank account 1.49%
Coinbase USD Wallet 1.49%
Purchase by debit card 3.99%
Instant card withdrawal Up to 1.50% of any transaction and a minimum fee of $0.55

Maker and taker fees

Both Kraken and Coinbase use the maker/taker fee model to calculate fees. Below are the fees for both exchanges. Still. Coinbase’s percentages are higher than Kraken’s, making Kraken the cheapest platform.

kraken

30-day volume (USD) Maker Lessee
$0 – $50,000 0.16% 0.26%
$50,001 – $100,000 0.14% 0.24%
$100,001 – $250,000 0.12% 0.22%
$250,001 – $500,000 0.10% 0.20%
$500,001 – $1,000,000 0.08% 0.18%
$1,000,001 – $2,500,000 0.06% 0.16%
$2,500,001 – $5,000,000 0.04% 0.14%
$5,000,001 – $10,000,000 0.02% 0.12%
$10,000,000+ 0.00% 0.10%

Coinbase

Pricing Tier Lessee fees Maker fees
$0 – $10,000 0.60% 0.40%
$10,000 – $50,000 0.40% 0.25%
$50,000 – $100,000 0.25% 0.15%
$100,000 – 1M 0.20% 0.10%
$1M – $20M 0.18% 0.08%
$20M – $100M 0.15% 0.05%
$100M – $300M 0.10% 0.02%
$300M – $500M 0.08% 0.00%
$500 million or more 0.05% 0.00%

As far as fees go, Kraken is a cheaper exchange to use based on the numbers. Therefore, Kraken wins in this critical aspect.

Kraken vs. Coinbase: Security

In terms of security, Kraken is known as an exchange whose security has never been breached. As a result, it is considered one of the most secure exchanges in the crypto space. This alone is a testament to the security measures put in place by the exchange to ensure the safety of its clients’ assets and information.

Although Coinbase also has strong security measures such as asset cold storage and insurance, it has suffered several attacks that resulted in the loss of user funds. This puts it second only to Kraken in the key aspect of securing user assets and information.

Therefore, Kraken wins on the security front.

Kraken vs. Coinbase: Verdict

Coinbase is a large exchange used by more than ten times the number of people who use Kraken. It is also a good place to start your crypto investing or trading adventure as it has a simple and user-friendly design.

If you are a beginner looking for a starting point, Coinbase will be right for you. If, on the other hand, you are already experienced and need a secure exchange with reasonable fees, Kraken is the way to go.