Kraken.com was definitely not among the first proper exchanges to launch in support of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, but it’s safe to say that it got the formula right. Founded back in 2011, in San Francisco, Kraken was at the roots of the Bitcoin revolution. It is currently the largest crypto currency exchange in regards to EUR volume. Obviously, it started trading in US dollars. It also trades Canadian Dollars, Japanese Yen and British Pounds and it supports Ethereum too, in addition to BTC. A basket of other digital currencies, like Dogecoin, Namecoin, Ripple, Litecoin and Stellar can be traded as well.
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In regards to reputation, Kraken has a very solid game going indeed: Germany’s Fidor Bank (regulated by BaFin) is one of its partners. It is also trusted by Japan’s government trustee. The first cryptocurrency exchange to have its trading price and volume displayed by the Bloomberg Terminal, Kraken was co-founded by Jesse Powell, who is a sort of bitcoin celebrity.
The company behind the operation is Payward Inc. It is still based in San Francisco, at 548 Market Street, Suite 39656, CA 94104-5401. The phone number through which Payward can be reached for general inquiries is 650-434-2889.
Kraken.com is currently highly popular in the US, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK.
How Does Kraken Work?
One of the most interesting features of Kraken is its dark pool. The dark pool is meant to provide a discrete way for institutional and large volume traders to place orders. It is in essence an order book which is not visible to the public, only to those actually placing the orders. This way, traders can keep their interest hidden from their peers, as they anonymously place massive buy or sell orders. What’s the purpose of the setup? Large orders tend to have a massive impact on the market in general, messing up prices and setting off various speculation-related processes. Through the dark pool, these “triggers” are removed from the trading equation, making it easier for traders to fill orders at the desired price.
To be able to use the dark pool, Kraken clients need to possess a Tier 2 account or higher. Obviously, there’s a cost associated with this service too: Kraken will charge an 0.1% commission on dark pool orders. To every such dark pool pairing a .d extension is added. Bitcoins can be traded through the dark pool for USD, GBP, EUR and JPY. There’s a minimum on dark pool orders of 50 BTC.
Other than the dark pool feature, the trading at Kraken is what one would expect from an exchange. There are a number of additional – and potentially useful – features available too, like the advanced order types and margin trading. Advanced orders allow traders to set stop-losses and to automate their strategies. Margin trading allows for leveraged trades of up to 5x.
Kraken.com Trading Platform
While during its beginnings Kraken had some problems with liquidity and with order book depth, those problems are now a thing of the past. To accommodate their rapidly growing trader-base, Kraken have recently acquired the Cryptowatch charting and trading platform, which is indeed one of the best solutions in this vertical. The user interface featured by the Cryptowatch platform is straightforward and friendly, and it can handle no fewer than 150 markets real time charting-wise. A maximum of 22 digital assets can be traded through the Cryptowatch platform, which has seen a 700% increase in its active user-based over the last couple of years. Together with the actual platform, Kraken have secured the services of Cryptowatch founder Artur Sapek as well. Sapek has become a Kraken team member, tasked with the continued development of the trading platform.
While the Cryptowatch acquisition is indeed shaping up as a natural move for Kraken towards expanding their client-base, it’s hardly the only move the exchange has undertaken in this regard. Some while ago, no fewer than 3 other exchanges were acquired: CleverCoin, Coinsetter and Cavirtex. The wallet-funding service Glidera also found its way into the Kraken fold. It has been rebranded to Kraken Direct.
Kraken Reputation/Community Vibe
There’s just no way around this: the most burning question any potential client will ask in regards to Kraken is: is it a scam? As it’s the case with most digital currency exchanges, Kraken’s community feedback isn’t quite stellar, but having read through countless pages of comments and forum posts, we can safely state that the operation isn’t a scam. As said above, its teething problems included a lack of liquidity and generally low volumes of activity. All that is to be expected from a new operation though, especially so if we’re looking at a late-comer of the sort that Kraken was on the Bitcoin scene.
More recent complaints are directed towards the customer support department of the operation, which has often been dismissed by angry users as “non-existent” or worth “less than zero.” In their rush to expand their client base and to incorporate various other service providers in the Kraken fold, Powell and his team have apparently overlooked the important aspect of providing proper support to their ever more numerous traders. That is hardly a problem that would allow anyone to call the operation a scam though.
Other complaints have targeted the speed of trade-execution at the site, which – according to some users – left a lot of room for improvement, making the trading of some cryptocurrencies all but impossible. Another issue seemed to be that of account verification. According to some complaints, the process was way too slow and tedious, and verified accounts are indeed needed for traders to start trading. Still others complained that they found it extremely difficult to transfer BTCs out of Kraken.
The bottom line is though that no one has ever accused the exchange of treating their funds in bad faith. The support-related shortcomings seem to stem from a general incapability to handle the volumes of attention their now massive trader-base needs.
With all that in mind, yes, Kraken.com is a legitimate operation, one that’s even now looking to expand its services further.
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