Coinbase and Kraken are two of the more popular centralized crypto exchange (CEX) applications. Both platforms cater to everyone from beginning traders and retail investors all the way up to institutional investors.
The two platforms offer desktop and mobile applications that present clean and intuitive user experiences. Most importantly, both companies offer world-class security so users can rest assured that their funds are safe and secure.While both Coinbase and Kraken crypto exchanges can be recommended to traders at all levels, there are some differences between the two platforms that make them more or less suitable for certain trading strategies. Let’s take a look at some of the features of both Coinbase and Kraken and discuss the pros and cons of each crypto exchange.
What is Coinbase?
Coinbase was launched in 2012. Boasting more than 50 million users in over 100 countries, Coinbase is the largest CEX by usage. Coinbase offers both its standard Coinbase application and a more powerful Coinbase Pro application. The main difference is that the standard Coinbase application only supports cash purchases of crypto assets, whereas Coinbase Pro allows users to trade certain crypto assets for others (trading pairs). Coinbase Pro also offers very basic charting and technical analysis features plus several advanced order types including limit, market, and stop orders. Coinbase is available in all U.S. states apart from Hawaii.
What is Kraken?
Launched in 2011, Kraken also offers scores of cryptocurrencies and tokens. Kraken is not a broker but rather a facilitator of trades. The application essentially matches up buyers and sellers. Kraken also offers Forex trading in the U.S. plus futures and margin trading to users outside the U.S. Kraken’s standard app offers an easy-to-use interface that’s great for beginners. And Kraken Pro offers more advanced charting and technical analysis features than Coinbase Pro. Customers in Washington and New York can’t access Kraken’s services at all — at least not yet.
Coinbase vs. Kraken side-by-side comparison
|Platforms||Both Coinbase and Kraken offers a standard version and a pro version for more experienced traders.|
|Applications||Both Coinbase and Kraken offer desktop and mobile applications.|
|Trading fees||Coinbase transaction fees are among the highest of any CEX.||Kraken offers low purchase fees and very low trading fees.|
|Trading and TA tools||Coinbase Pro offers limited charting and technical analysis.||Kraken Pro offers more advanced charting and technical analysis tools.|
|Trading features||Coinbase only offers crypto investing and trading.||Kraken offers crypto trading plus Forex trading.|
|Payment options||Coinbase lets users buy cryptocurrencies and tokens with a credit card.||Kraken users must pay for all trades from a funded account.|
|Asset selection||Coinbase offers around 50 different digital assets.||Kraken offers around 100 digital assets.|
|Customer service||Coinbase offers very limited customer service.||Kraken offers 24/7 live chat support.|
|Account funding methods||Both Coinbase and Kraken offer a variety of funding and payment options.|
|Order types||Both Pro versions offer advanced trades such as limit and stop orders.|
|Security||Both Coinbase and Kraken offer world-class security|
|Wallet support and withdrawals.||Both Coinbase and Kraken support self-custody, withdrawals, and transfers. However, Conibase offers a native wallet.|
|Educational resources||Both Coinbase and Kraken offer an extensive library of education resources for beginning crypto traders and investors. However, Coinbase offers free crypto to learn about a handful of cryptocurrencies.|
Now let’s take a little bit more detailed look at some of these features.
Coinbase vs. Kraken Security
Regardless of features and usability, first and foremost, a crypto exchange needs to be secure. Several crypto exchanges have been hacked in the past and millions of dollars have been lost. All the benefits in the world won’t matter if your accounts aren’t secure, so let’s start here. How do Coinbase and Kraken compare on security? The good news is that both Coinbase and Kraken score high in this area.
- Both Coinbase and Kraken keep the vast majority of crypto assets in well-guarded cold storage wallets.
- Coinbase claims to keep 98% of its crypto assets in cold storage.
- Kraken claims 95% of its assets are in cold storage.
- Both Coinbase and Kraken offer bounty programs for anyone that can find flaws in their security systems.
- Both Coinbase and Kraken offer multi-factor.
Best security: Toss-up — Both exchanges have tight security.
Coinbase vs Kraken insurance
Crypto balances with Coinbase and Kraken are not FDIC insured. That goes for any crypto exchange. However, Coinbase cash balances are FDIC insured. Moreover, Coinbase claims that it is insured for losses due to security breaches and that claims will be used to reimburse users for losses that are covered under that insurance.Better insurance coverage: Coinbase
Coinbase vs. Kraken funding methods
Coinbase and Kraken both support bank transfers (ACH), Apple Pay, SEPA, Fedwire, SWIFT for funding accounts.
- Coinbase allows users to both pay for crypto assets and to fund their accounts with a credit card and PayPal. Coinbase users can also transfer cryptocurrencies to their Coinbase wallet for use on the platform.
- Kraken offers Google Pay, but credit cards and PayPal are not supported. Kraken also lets users fund their accounts with cryptocurrencies for a low fee.
Check out the deposit fee schedule below under “Kraken deposit methods and fees.” Better funding methods: Toss-up — While Coinbase lets users pay with a credit card, Kraken does not. However, Kraken offers more account funding options.
Coinbase vs. Kraken crypto asset selection
Both Coinbase and Kraken offer scores of different cryptocurrency coins and tokens. The available selection depends on where you live. Kraken is a bit ahead in this area offering around 100 different assets. Coinbase offers about half that. However, Coinbase Pro offers additional assets.
- Both Coinbase and Kraken offer the top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Cardano (ADA), and Solana (SOL) as well as popular meme coins such as Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB).
- Both exchanges add new coins and tokens on a regular basis.
- Not all of the coins offered in each exchange are available to U.S. customers.
Better crypto selection: Kraken
Coinbase vs. Kraken applications
Both Coinbase and Kraken offer desktop, browser-based crypto exchange applications, and mobile apps. Both offer clean, easy-to-use, intuitive applications. Here are some screenshots of Coinbase and Kraken websites and mobile apps:
Better Applications: No clear winner
Coinbase vs. Kraken wallet support
Both Coinbase and Kraken offer users the ability to transfer coins and tokens to and from a crypto wallet. However, whereas Coinbase offers users a native crypto wallet, Kraken does not. Both crypto exchanges are compatible with several crypto 3rd-party wallets. Coinbase Wallet holds most major crypto assets plus ERC-20 tokens and NFTS. However, some of the assets available for trade on Coinbase do require a 3rd-party wallet. Better wallet support: Coinbase
Coinbase vs. Kraken customer support
Technical support is not one of Coinbase’s strong points. In fact, the major complaint from Coinbase users seems to be that the platform’s customer support is all but non-existent. Support tickets can only be raised via email and it usually takes some time for Coinbase to resolve technical support issues. Kraken, on the other hand, offers 24/7 live chat support.Better customer support: Kraken, by far
Coinbase vs. Kraken fees
While some crypto brokers do not charge commissions to trade crypto, both Coinbase and Kraken do charge fees to purchase and trade crypto assets.
Coinbase fees overview
Coinbase crypto purchase fees can be as high as 4.99% and include a 0.5% spread fee.
Coinbase trade fees
|U.S. bank account||1.49%|
|Instant withdrawal||Up to 1.5% (minimum fee of $0.55)|
|Wire transfer||$10 ($25 outgoing)|
Coinbase minimum fees
|Trade amount||Minimum fee|
|< $10 up to $25||$1.49|
|< $25 to $50||$1.99|
|< $50 to $200||$2.99|
Coinbase Pro trading fees
Coinbase Pro fee structure depends on the availability of the asset.
|Coinbase Pro Pricing tier||Taker fee||Maker fee|
|Up to $10K||0.50%||0.50%|
|$10K – $50K||0.35%||0.35%|
|$50K – $100K||0.25%||0.15%|
|$100K – $1M||0.20%||0.10%|
|$1M – $10M||0.18%||0.08%|
Kraken fees overview
The fees for cash purchases made direct from an account balance are 1.5% for crypto and 0.9% for stablecoins. The debit/Credit card purchase fee is 3.75%.For trading, Kraken charges up to 0.26% fee when an order is executed (matched with another client’s order). The fee depends on the currency pair that is being traded, your 30-day trading volume (in USD), and whether your order is maker or taker order. However, the total fees end up being so minimal, that it’s not really worth spending the time to analyze them. Before you can buy or trade cryptocurrencies on Kraken, you’ll need to deposit funds into your Kraken account.
Kraken deposit methods and fees
|Deposit method||Deposit minimum||Deposit fee|
|FedWire (MVB Bank)||1 USD||Free|
|FedWire (Signature Bank)||1 USD||Free|
|FedWire (Silvergate)||100 USD||10 USD|
|FedWire (Etana Custody)||150 USD||Free|
|FedWire (Synapse)||20 USD||5 USD|
|SWIFT (Etana Custody)||150 USD||Free|
|SWIFT (Signature Bank)||1 USD||Free|
|SWIFT (Silvergate Bank)||100 USD||10 USD|
|SWIFT (Bank Frick)||4 USD||3 USD|
|Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN)||No minimum||Free|
Kraken withdrawal methods and fees
|Withdrawal Method/Processor||Withdrawal Minimum||Withdrawal Fee|
|FedWire (MVB Bank)||20 USD||4 USD|
|FedWire (Signature Bank)||20 USD||4 USD|
|FedWire (Silvergate Bank)||100 USD||20 USD|
|FedWire (Etana Custody)||150 USD||35 USD|
|FedWire (Synapse)||20 USD||5 USD|
|SWIFT (Etana Custody)||150 USD||35 USD|
|SWIFT (Signature Bank)||20 USD||4 USD|
|SWIFT (Silvergate Bank)||100 USD||20 USD|
|SWIFT (Bank Frick)||100 USD||13 USD|
|Silvergate ExchangeNetwork (SEN)||no minimum||free|
Lower fees: Kraken, by far
Coinbase vs. Kraken Pros and Cons
Finally, let’s just break down some of the reasons you might want to choose one of these CEXs over the other.
- Coinbase offers more purchase options.
- Coinbase offers a native wallet.
- Coinbase cash accounts are insured and crypto assets may also be protected in the event of a security breach.
- Coinbase offers crypto rewards for taking the time to learn about a handful of different cryptocurrencies.
- Coinbase lets users send assets to an email address or phone number similar to PayPal.
- The major drawback with Coinbase is its fee structure which can be expensive and confusing for some.
- Also, Coinbase is lagging in the customer service department.
- Kraken Pro offer far more powerful charting and technical analysis tools than Coinbase — a huge plus for traders.
- Kraken offers 24/7 live chat support — a big plus for beginners.
- Kraken doesn’t allow users to purchase crypto with a credit card. Accounts must be funded before users may buy crypto.
Final word on Coinbase vs. Kraken
Both are excellent options for newcomers. And which one you choose should depend on what your future goals are. Coinbase is geared more toward novices and retail investors who appreciate features such as earning free crypto and the ability to buy with a credit card. Coinbase is also branching into an NFT marketplace — another sign they’re focused on consumers. Kraken, on the other hand, seems to be appealing to the crypto trader and decentralized finance space.
Who should choose Coinbase?
Coinbase is slightly better for beginners than Kraken. However, if you plan on doing a lot of trading, the high fees will eat into profits. Also, Coinbase Pro is lagging in technical analysis tools. If you plan on serious trading on Coinbase you’ll want to sign up with a service such as TradingView that offers more powerful charting and analysis tools.We think these factors make Coinbase more suitable for beginners and long-term crypto investors than short-term traders (unless they live in Hawaii, in which case this CEX is not an option at this time). That being said, if customer service is important to you, you might rather go with Kraken.
Who should choose Kraken?
Kraken Pro’s larger selection of coins and tokens, far more powerful charting and technical analysis tools, and lower fees make this CEX much more suitable for short-term crypto traders than Coinbase but also highly suitable for long-term investing. However, Kraken isn’t available to users in New York or Washington.