Coinbase vs Kraken: A Comparison of Crypto Exchanges

Before you embark on your crypto trading journey, discover the differences between Coinbase and Kraken to find the platform that’s right for you.

Coinbase and Kraken represent two of the most prominent cryptocurrency exchanges with millions of users worldwide. Both platforms offer a range of services for buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrencies, catered to both novice and experienced traders. Each exchange has carved out its niche within the digital currency ecosystem. Coinbase is often known for its user-friendly interface and a variety of crypto-related services, while Kraken appeals to many users with its low fees and robust security measures.

Choosing between Coinbase and Kraken can be a matter of personal preference, investment strategy, and financial goals. Coinbase’s fee structure operates on a maker-taker model with higher fees, which might be less attractive to high-volume traders. On the other hand, Kraken's fee schedule is designed to be more competitive, potentially offering significant savings for those who trade large volumes of cryptocurrency.

Both platforms prioritize security and offer a selection of cryptocurrencies for trading, but they also have their distinctions that could make one more suitable than the other depending on the user’s requirements. Users typically weigh the cost, ease of use, security, and available features of each exchange when making their decision. As the cryptocurrency market continues to evolve, the services offered by both Coinbase and Kraken are also adapting to better serve their users' needs.

Overview of Coinbase

Coinbase is a prominent cryptocurrency exchange platform that facilitates the buying, selling, and storing of various cryptocurrencies. Established in 2012, it is renowned for its user-friendly interface making it accessible for beginners in the cryptocurrency space.

Services and Features:

  • Buy/Sell: Users can trade a variety of cryptocurrencies.
  • Wallet: Coinbase offers a secure digital wallet for storing cryptocurrencies.
  • Pro Version: Advanced users can upgrade to Coinbase Pro for additional features.
  • Educational Resources: The platform provides learning material to educate users about cryptocurrencies.


  • Trading Fees: Tiered fee structure; higher for smaller trades, decreases as volume increases.
  • Transaction Fees: Range from $0.99 to $2.99 based on the transaction amount.
  • Pro Fees: Lower fees offered for users of Coinbase Pro.

Coinbase emphasizes security with robust measures to protect users' funds. They offer insurance coverage for digital assets stored on the platform, enhancing trust among its customer base.

Coinbase has expanded its offerings to include:

  • Staking: Users can earn rewards through staking certain cryptocurrencies.
  • Payment Services: Enables merchants to accept crypto payments.

With a strong regulatory stance, Coinbase complies with various financial services and consumer protection laws, assuring a high standard of compliance. It remains one of the most accessible platforms for individuals looking to engage with digital assets.

Overview of Kraken

Kraken is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange established in 2011, positioning itself among the top platforms for digital asset trading. Known for its security measures and a broad selection of cryptocurrencies, Kraken caters to both novice and experienced traders.

Services and Features:

  • Security: Emphasizes robust security protocols to safeguard user funds, including two-factor authentication and cold storage for the majority of deposits.
  • Cryptocurrency Selection: Offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies for trading.
  • User Interface: Provides a user-friendly basic interface and an advanced trading platform, 'Kraken Pro,' for experienced traders.

Fees Structure:

Trading Fees: Utilizes a maker-taker fee model, with fees based on a 30-day rolling volume.

  • Maker Fee: Starts from 0.16%
  • Taker Fee: Begins at 0.26%

Instant Buy Fees: A separate structure for immediate purchases.

Trade Volume and Liquidity:

Kraken's high liquidity ensures quick fulfillment of large trades, often resulting in favorable pricing for traders.

Regulatory Compliance:

Adheres to regulatory standards, increasing reliability for users concerned with legal compliance.

Participation Options:

  • Spot Trading: Buying and selling of cryptocurrencies immediately using available funds.
  • Margin Trading: Trading with leverage, allowing for increased exposure with less capital.
  • Futures Trading: Committing to buy or sell an asset at a future date and set price.

Kraken's established reputation, comprehensive security measures, and range of services make it an attractive option for trading digital assets.

Comparative Analysis

User Interface

Kraken offers a detailed interface targeting experienced traders, while Coinbase provides a more straightforward, user-friendly platform, making it appealing for new entrants. Kraken's interface may be overwhelming for beginners due to its advanced options.

Security Measures

Both platforms employ rigorous security protocols. Kraken incorporates features like two-factor authentication and a global setting lock, while Coinbase provides biometric fingerprint logins and also stores 98% of customer funds offline.

Supported Cryptocurrencies

Coinbase supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies exceeding 1000, including popular and lesser-known coins. Kraken's offering is slightly more limited but still expansive, especially favorable for users looking to trade in major currencies.

Fee Structures


  • Maker fee: Starts at 0.16%
  • Taker fee: Starts at 0.26%
  • Fees decrease with higher volume


  • Maker-taker fees: Up to 0.50%
  • Flat fees: Ranging from $0.99 to $2.99

Kraken generally provides a more competitive fee structure, particularly for high-volume traders.

Account Funding Methods

Coinbase allows users to fund accounts using bank transfers, credit cards, and PayPal, in addition to other methods. Kraken also accepts bank transfers and various other methods but does not support credit card deposits or PayPal in certain jurisdictions.

Customer Support

Coinbase offers a robust education platform and a help center, along with email support for customer queries. Kraken provides 24/7 live chat support, aligning with the needs of global traders who operate around the clock.

Regional Availability

Coinbase and Kraken differ in their global presence. Coinbase is accessible in over 130 countries globally. This extensive availability allows for a wide reach, catering to numerous traders and investors around the world. It's important for users to note that the features and functions offered by Coinbase may vary depending on the user’s location due to local regulations and laws.

Kraken, on the other hand, extends its services to a broader audience across 190 countries. The enhanced availability makes Kraken a viable option for users in regions where other exchanges might not operate. Similar to Coinbase, Kraken’s range of services may not be uniform everywhere and can be subject to regional restrictions.

Users should consider the presence of both exchanges in their respective regions, including:

  • Supported Countries: While both platforms have a wide reach, some countries may have access to one and not the other.
  • Functional Variability: The specific services available can differ based on the user's location, such as trading pairs or withdrawal methods.
  • Compliance and Regulation: Each region's financial regulations will affect the services both exchanges can provide to their users.

Prospective users must review the availability and regulatory stance in their specific country before choosing an exchange, ensuring compliance and the ability to fully utilize the exchange's offerings. It is advisable for users to directly consult each exchange's official resources for the most accurate information.


When selecting between Kraken and Coinbase, traders must consider individual needs, such as fees, ease of use, and available services. Kraken offers a lower fee structure appealing to high-volume traders. Coinbase, while user-friendly, has higher fees and additional costs based on the used payment method.

Kraken's Strengths:

  • Competitive fees
  • Comprehensive security features
  • High liquidity

Coinbase's Strengths:

  • Intuitive platform ideal for beginners
  • A wide variety of cryptocurrencies
  • Insured cryptocurrency deposits

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences in withdrawal fees between Coinbase and Kraken?

Kraken's withdrawal fees vary by currency and can sometimes be a flat rate or a percentage of the withdrawal amount. Coinbase's withdrawal fees also vary depending on the currency and the region of the user, often charged as a combination of a spread and a Coinbase Fee, which can be a flat fee or a percentage of the transaction.

How do Coinbase's fees compare to Kraken's for trading cryptocurrencies?

Coinbase's maker-taker fees typically start higher, up to 0.50%, whereas Kraken offers fees up to 0.26%. Both platforms reduce fees based on the user's trading volume over a 30-day period.

Which platform is considered safer for cryptocurrency trading, Coinbase or Kraken?

Both Coinbase and Kraken are renowned for their security measures. They implement industry-leading security practices such as two-factor authentication and cold storage of assets. Users should consider both to be strong contenders in terms of security.

Can users from the United States trade on Kraken?

Yes, users from the United States can trade on Kraken. However, users should be aware of specific state regulations that may affect their ability to engage in certain trading activities on the platform.

What are the pros and cons of using Coinbase versus Kraken for crypto trading?

Coinbase is often favored for its user-friendly interface and its educational resources, making it suitable for newer investors. Kraken, on the other hand, is favored by experienced traders for its advanced trading features and potentially lower fees. Both offer a range of cryptocurrencies and have their unique advantages and disadvantages depending on the user's requirements.

How does the user experience differ between Kraken and Kraken Pro?

Kraken offers a simplified interface which is accessible for beginners, while Kraken Pro provides advanced trading tools and detailed charting for experienced traders. Thus, users can choose between the platforms depending on their familiarity and comfort with trading concepts and tools.