In our comparison of the best platforms for investing in cryptocurrency, we put Kraken in the spotlight. At the regulatory level (the main criterion with security), Kraken is regulated by FinCen in the United States.
In our opinion, Kraken is suitable for both beginners and more experienced investors, with a good choice of cryptocurrencies, extensive features (staking), and low fees. However, the interface can confuse beginners.
Here is our opinion and guide to using Kraken to get to grips with the platform. This is my feedback, I have been investing via Kraken for over a year.
This article is written as a step-by-step guide, and illustrated with numerous screenshots. Everything is explained as clearly as possible, to be comfortable on Kraken to carry out the essential operations: registering, buying, and selling your cryptocurrencies, and earning interest on your cryptos (staking).
Remember that investing in cryptocurrency is risky. Much more than investing in stocks. So we recommend not exceeding 5% of our assets in cryptocurrencies, per our article to reread first: how to invest in cryptocurrency? This article is not an invitation to invest, only a guide to using Kraken for savers already determined to invest.
Kraken Reviews and User Guide for Investing in Crypto: Our opinion
Kraken, in our opinion, is one of the best platforms for investing in cryptocurrency. Our comparison with other major players in the crypto investment market:
Kraken is a company created in 2011 in San Francisco. So more than 10 years of experience and more than 6 million customers worldwide.
At the regulatory level, Kraken is regulated by FinCEN in the United States. So this is a serious platform. Note, however, that Kraken is not (yet) recognized as a PSAN (Digital Asset Service Provider) in France. So you have to declare Kraken every year as a foreign account. While Coinhouse, a French company, is PSAN and regulated by the AMF in France.
In terms of security, Kraken offers a two-factor authentication system. We strongly recommend using it, as it helps protect against hacker intrusion. We develop further.
In terms of fees, we see in the comparative table above that Kraken is competitive when investing by transfer. While investing by bank card is expensive (too expensive in our opinion). We elaborate further in our guide.
Customer service is frankly hard to reach: by chat or ticket request (no telephone in France). On this criterion, we prefer Coinhouse based in France and easily reachable by telephone. Nicolas called several times, Coinhouse answers on average after 3 rings and calls back later if we can’t reach them.
At the interface level, Kraken could in our opinion be clearer. It’s a little too complex when you’re starting. But our following guide should enlighten you! Additionally, there is a Kraken app on mobile, with essential features.
How to register on Kraken? Reviews and guide
We begin creating the Kraken account. You must enter the classic email/password duo. Then follows the verification of our identity. This is part of the rules that the platform must follow to offer its services in agreement with the authorities.
3 account levels: basic, intermediate or pro
We have the choice to transmit the minimum amount of information. But keep in mind that your access to the different features will then be limited. So there are 3 levels of verification which will grant 3 different account levels:
- basic: basic information is required: last name, first name, place of residence. You will be able to buy/sell cryptos but bank transfers will not be available
- intermediary: you check an identity document (license, passport, identity card). You can then make bank transfers
- pro: this level is especially useful for those wanting advanced trading functionalities.
Security through 2FA dual-factor authentication
Even if it means insisting, security takes precedence when you are invested in cryptocurrency. Kraken offers 2FA two-factor authentication. To access it, simply download an application on your phone such as Google Authenticator or 2FAS.
In practice, these applications generate a 6-digit code every 30 seconds. You must provide this code before each connection to Kraken. So, without your phone, no one can access your Kraken account even if they have your login and password.
Kraken also gives you the choice of configuring this security for your trading, staking, or crypto withdrawal operations. Finally, you can set up a master key which will be used in the event of loss of the password. This master key can also be used if you lose your 2FA application. Keep this master key carefully.
How to buy/sell a cryptocurrency on Kraken?
Once your account is verified and secure, you can finally start buying cryptos. Several options are available to you.
Purchasing by bank transfer
As stated above, this is the cheapest option for obtaining cryptos. After logging into Kraken, go to the financing menu.
Kraken can help you complete the transfer. To do this, choose the option to finance directly. Indicate the deposit amount (for the first time, to familiarize yourself, start with a small amount like €30 in this example below) and continue. A summary of the transaction is displayed. No worries with the foreign IBAN. No fees are charged by Kraken.
A list of banks is then displayed. Choose yours, connect, and validate the transaction.
By manual transfer
What if direct financing doesn’t work? You can always make a manual transfer. Select this option and Kraken will provide you with the bank details for a European IBAN. Other IBANs are also available. Again, no deposit fees will be charged.
When making a manual transfer, it is essential to provide the reference indicated by Kraken (circled above). It is with this information that Kraken will associate the transfer with your account on the platform.
The first and last name of the account holder from which you are making the transfer must be the same as those used to create the Kraken account. If this is not the case, your transfer will be rejected.
Allow on average 2 to 3 days for your account to be funded.
Once the money is received, it is time to purchase your crypto assets.
Then select the crypto you want to acquire (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.). Kraken offers you the option of using your euro balance or another means of payment. Finally, a summary of the transaction is displayed, including fees and the total amount of crypto you will receive.
Purchasing by credit card
Purchasing by credit card is more expensive (around 3 times more expensive) but faster. Because you can buy directly by credit card, without having to first fund your account.
First, you will need to add a payment method. The cards accepted are those of Visa and Mastercard. As with bank transfers, the card must be in the name of the Kraken account holder. Once your card is added, the crypto purchase can be made.
Then head to the buy button to select the crypto-asset of your choice. Validate the transaction summary and it’s done! Your cryptos will be instantly available on your home page.
How to sell your crypto?
The procedure for selling crypto is similar to buying. Everything takes place in the Buy Crypto menu. Your Kraken account is credited in euros with the amount of the sale.
Withdrawal of this money is only possible in your current account. Go to the financing tab. This time, choose the withdrawal option.
Indicate the amount you wish to withdraw. The withdrawal type is by default a SEPA transfer. Finally, the same rule applies to bank account name = name on the Kraken account.
How to earn interest on your cryptos? (Staking)
As a reminder, we explain staking in our article How to invest in cryptocurrencies. This is a passive investment in crypto that allows you to be paid an interest rate called a “reward”.
Kraken stands out with a varied staking offer. This feature of your Kraken account is located in the earn menu:
13 cryptos are currently available for staking on Kraken, sufficient in our opinion.
Interest rates range from 4% to 23% return (“reward”).
Click the Stake button and make your choice. Of course, you can only stake cryptos that you have purchased beforehand. In practice, a minimum quantity of cryptos must be used for staking but it is often low.
If you have activated 2FA security for your staking operations, you will be asked for the corresponding code.
We stay on the same menu to “unstack” our crypto. The unblocking time is generally a few minutes.
Staking services are free on Kraken, except for ETH where the fee is 15% of your earnings.
We hope that our review of Kraken with this guide to investing in Kraken will allow you to quickly familiarize yourself with this platform. First of all, read our article How to Invest in Cryptocurrency and our comparison of the best platforms for investing in crypto.