Binance vs Kraken: Comparing Exchanges

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Binance vs Kraken: Comparing Exchanges

There are several top-ranking cryptocurrency exchanges and in this guide, we will be presenting two of the biggest and oldest ones. In this Binance vs Kraken, you will learn the main features and drawbacks of both exchanges. This should help you understand which one is best suited for your needs. 

At this point, it is important to note that neither exchange is recommended for complete beginners. If you don’t have any experience with buying and selling cryptocurrencies you would likely feel more comfortable using an online broker, such as Coinbase. With that mentioned, let’s get to comparing Binance vs Kraken.

Binance vs Kraken

The following table outlines the main differences and similarities between these two exchanges. You will be able to read a more detailed guide of each platform later on in this Binance vs Kraken guide.

PropertiesBinanceKraken
No. of active users13.5m4m
No. of supported coins150+40+
Support rating2.5/52/5
Allows purchase of crypto using fiat currencyYesUsing cardsYesUsing bank transfers
Mobile tradingYesYes
Offers analysis toolsYesYes
Security rating8/109.5/10
In-built walletYesTrust WalletYesTrading funds stored in a corporate wallet
Anonymous tradingNoNo
Ease of use rating4/53.5/5
Native coinYesNo
Fee discounts with volumes?YesYes
Trading feesStarting Maker 0.1% & Taker 0.1%Starting Maker 0.16% & Taker 0.26%
Margin trading optionsYesYes
Average trading volume$3.88b$1.86b
RegulatedNoNo
Established year20172011

Binance

Binance Exchange
Pros
Supports over 150 coins and ICO tokens
Works across different operating systems
Low trading fees
Secure trading platform
Cons
High card fees
Slow customer support

Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency asset exchange and has grown to offer a multitude of services. Based in Malta, it is unregulated, yet enjoys the respect of the industry and external stakeholders. It is well-known for offering one of the largest selections of cryptocurrencies and provides some of the lowest associated trading fees.

Today, there are several Binance subsidiaries, some of which are regulated, that operate in select jurisdictions. These include Binance.US and Binance Jersey. In addition, the exchange set up Binance Launchpad which supports various entities to launch Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs).

Binance seeks to attract high-frequency traders by offering favourable fees and conditions. It provides customizable analysis tools with live updates and charts. In addition, the exchange has its own native coin, Binance Coin (BNB). Using BNB to pay for fees provides a 25% discount, with additional discounts available for high volumes.

You can find a more detailed review of Binance here.

Kraken

Kraken Exchange
Pros
Supports over 50 coins and ICO tokens
Enhanced security features
Fast account verification
Competitive fees and discounts
Cons
Corporate provided
Slow customer support

Kraken is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges which was established just two years after Bitcoin was first released. Although it is not regulated, it is considered to be amongst the very best exchanges and was even the first one to make it to the Bloomberg Terminal.

The exchange provides services to those looking to exchange cryptocurrencies as well as high-volume traders. It offers a list of support tools and access to over 50 different cryptocurrencies. Kraken does not provide an individual wallet, however, it does temporarily store funds in its own corporate account.

Kraken offers competitive trading fees which can be significantly discounted with high volumes. It provides guides, videos, and podcasts to educate traders and help them make successful trades. In addition, it offers a very easy and quick way to register an account, with verification normally completed in a very short time.

You can find a more detailed review of Kraken here.

A Comparative Analysis of Binance vs Kraken

In the following Binance vs Kraken sections, we will compare the key features of these two exchanges.

Security

Whilst the Binance vs Kraken debate shows several similarities between the two exchanges, security is one area where Kraken is clearly ahead. The oldest surviving exchange was set up in 2011 and has never been successfully hacked. On the other hand, Binance, which launched in 2017, has faced several security breaches over the years.

In terms of user security measures, whilst both platforms provide two-factor authentication, Kraken offers Global Setting Lock, demand for strong passwords and Master Key. For its part, Binance allows users to set an anti-phishing code to help users realise if they are seeing a scam email.

When it comes to user trust, Binance enjoys a significant advantage, with over three times the number of active users. Whilst Binance counts over 13m users worldwide, Kraken barely surpasses 4m. Binance has the advantage of having a virtual presence in several countries around the world, setting up subsidiaries to capture a growing cryptocurrency market.

Ease of Use

Generally speaking, both exchanges can be used by beginners, although neither Kraken nor Binance offer the same beginner-friendly interface as Coinbase. With that said, users with some experience of trading cryptocurrencies will find that both exchanges are easy to use. 

Moreover, Binance offers a little-known feature that provides a simplified trading engine for relative beginners. Using this engine, users can select the cryptocurrencies they wish to convert along with the amount and proceed with the conversion. Kraken also provides a simplified trading page, but it is not as easy to use as Binance’s.

Apart from considering ease of use, this Binance vs Kraken guide must mention options for converting fiat currency into cryptocurrency. Both platforms support this conversion in a limited way. Binance lets you buy coins using a debit or credit card through a partner. Kraken accepts fiat bank transfers along with some other less popular methods.

Fees

An exchange’s fees are one of the main features which traders look at, so both platforms seek to compete and be the best. Comparing the Binance vs Kraken starting fees, Binance is the clear winner with Maker and Taker fees at 0.1%. Kraken, on the other hand, starts its fees at 0.16% Maker and 0.26% Taker.

Whilst these fees are competitive for traders carrying out a small volume of trades, they are far from ideal for high frequency and volume investors. To attract these type of traders, both platforms offer discounts based on 30-day trading volumes. Binance’s discounts start when this trading volume exceeds 50 BTC. Kraken’s discounts start when trading volumes exceed $50,000.

Comparing the Binance vs Kraken maximum discounts, Kraken is the winner, offering 0.00% Maker and 0.10% Taker. A 30-day trading volume of over $10,000,000 is required to get such pricing. Binance’s cheapest rate, without additional discounts, is 0.02% Maker and 0.04% Taker. If users use BNB to pay fees and avail of the 20% kickback offer, maximum discounted fees reduce to 0.012% Maker and 0.024% Taker.

Both platforms provide free deposits, however, here too, Kraken has an advantage. Using fiat currency to buy coins using cards adds a further 3.5% fee by Binance’s payments partner. Withdrawal fees vary by the respective coin on both platforms. In the case of Bitcoin, both exchanges charge 0.0005BTC.

Sign-up process

Whilst both platforms are unregulated, they have adopted sign-up processes in use by Fintech companies and online casinos. Both operators understand that they need to strike a balance between providing a convenient sign-up process and fulfilling their own internal KYC and AML procedures.

Kraken requires that all users register and verify their account. Binance is happy to accept basic account registration for users who do not exceed 2 BTC worth of daily trades. This means that when we compare Binance vs Kraken for sign-up procedures, Binance wins for simplicity and speed, whilst Kraken wins for attention to due diligence.

It is worth mentioning that high volume traders on Binance will still be required to provide verification documents that are in line with those requested by Kraken and regulated exchanges.

Available Cryptocurrencies

In addition to fees, another important criterion for selecting the Binance vs Kraken winner is the range of available cryptocurrencies and trading pairs. Here, the clear winner is Binance, which offers over 150 different coins and tokens. In fact, Binance is known in the industry for being the go-to exchange for hard to find cryptocurrencies. Kraken, for its part, offers around 50 coins and tokens.

It is important to note that the number of coins and tokens is different from the number of trading pairs. Whereas Bitcoin is one coin, a platform may offer BTCUSD, BTCEUR, and BTCGBP as trading pairs for this coin.

At first sight, choosing Binance would be the obvious choice. It is worth mentioning that Kraken tends to evaluate every single coin it lists with more scrutiny than Binance. This makes it less likely that coins listed on Kraken will suddenly lose their value due to fraud.

Additional Features

When comparing Binance vs Kraken, it is difficult to evaluate the contribution of these additional features. However, we are mentioning them here so that you will have a complete picture of both exchanges.

Binance is a highly-liquid exchange that offers one of the greatest choices of cryptocurrencies. With over $80b traded daily, the exchange is highly liquid, and this helps ensure that trades are carried out quickly and without delays due to a lack of corresponding currency. In addition, the exchange offers numerous Initial Exchange Offerings with tokens that can only be purchased from it.

Kraken key additional feature is its Cryptowatch platform. This useful tool allows traders to carry out trades on multiple exchanges from a single interface, thus support Crypto Arbitrage. The exchange stands out from a crowded market due to its security and track record, maintaining its positions as one of the very best exchanges.

User count

This is a fairly straightforward way of comparing the Binance vs Kraken exchanges. With more than three times the number of active users, Binance is the clear winner. It is worth noting that Binance and its subsidiaries are able to attract more clients. However, Kraken’s 4 million active users are certainly not negligible, so although it’s not as big as Binance, the user count may not be the best way to compare the two.

Volume & Size

Understandably, the exchange with a higher number of active users records the biggest volumes of trades each day. Unsurprisingly, therefore, Binance tops the list of the biggest cryptocurrency exchange by traded volumes. There is no comparison, really, with Binance registering around $80b worth of trades per day and Kraken only managing around $2 billion.

Quality of Support

Surprisingly, two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world have very poor scores when it comes to helping their users. When it comes to user support, the Binance vs Kraken debate takes an unusual twist.

To begin with, both platforms offer an entire section of their main websites to offering support. Users can search for answers or browse through the main topics. Tutorials and other video assistance is provided on both Binance and Kraken, with information including useful links for further reading

The main way to speak to a customer care representative is through live chat which is available on both platforms 24/7. Online user reviews seem content with the waiting times, but generally complain that customer care is not able to solve their problems. Closely comparing Binance vs Kraken we can see that Binance does marginally better, but its a very tight race. 

Whilst poor customer service may be seen as a reason not to use either platform, you need to consider the number of complaints. We could only find around a thousand complaints per platform. This might appear to be a lot, but compared to the combined 17.5m active users, this number is less than 0.012%.

Choosing The Binance vs Kraken Winner

After reading this entire guide you should be realising that in actual fact, there can never be a clear winner amongst these two major exchanges. Each platform offers a suite of solutions that cater to different markets with some overlapping. Both platforms are led by professionals who have attained the respect of the crypto community and external stakeholders.

When is Binance Best?

Binance is an ideal cryptocurrency exchange for traders looking to invest significantly in smaller Altcoins. It provides extensive charting and analysis tools and gives exclusive access to new, untested tokens. As a result, it is the exchange for those looking for an opportunity at relatively riskier trades on a reliable and reputable platform. It is best to start using Binance when you already own cryptocurrency, as converting fiat to crypto is expensive.

When is Kraken Best?

Kraken is best for traders who take a more cautious approach to trading, preferring coins that have proven to be useful over ones with a lot of hype around them. The platform provides a variety of tutorials to help you learn how to trade, and lets you convert fiat to crypto for free using bank transfers. Kraken is also better for traders with high volumes, offering better discounts on trading fees.

Binance vs Kraken Conclusion

When it comes to value for money, both platforms score very highly due to their own respective benefits and features. Binance scores only slightly higher as it fares better in areas such as the number of coins, customer support, and the number of users. Kraken’s cautious approach has certainly rewarded it with an enviable number of active users, but Binance’s wide net of coins and services provides to be too appealing overall.

For its part, Kraken can boast it’s much longer operational track record and the fact that it has never been successfully hacked.

When it comes to fees, Binance is generally considered to be one of the cheapest exchanges in the industry. In fact, it mostly beats Kraken, including the starting fees and most volume discounts. It is also able to offer better discounts to users who use BNB to pay for their fees. Kraken manages to offer the overall cheapest rates, but this is only available to a very small cohort of investors with very high trading volumes.

Binance vs Kraken FAQs

Which is the best exchange, Binance or Kraken?

Whilst Binance scores slightly higher in areas such as coin variety, customer support, and number of active users, both exchanges are highly-rated. Deciding which platform is best depends on your particular needs, experience level, and priorities.

What do I need to start trading on Binance or Kraken?

Both platforms require you to register an account in order to start trading. You must then fund your account with either cryptocurrency or fiat currency. Binance lets you convert fiat to crypto using cards whereas Kraken supports bank transfers.

Should I keep funds in the exchange’s wallet?

When trading, both Binance and Kraken provide you with a free, in-built wallet to store funds in between trades. However, since both these wallets are hot and vulnerable to attack, you should not store funds there indefinitely. If you don’t need to use them it is safer to transfer them to a cold storage wallet.

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