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Kraken vs. Coinbase: The biggest differences
Kraken and Coinbase are two popular cryptocurrency exchanges offering more than 50 crypto assets for traders around the world. Both platforms allow you to earn interest rewards for holding cryptocurrencies over a set period of time (a process known as “staking”), and institutions shouldn’t have trouble finding investment options on either exchange.
While both Kraken and Coinbase both present a large selection of assets, with interest-earning perks and mobile trading options, Kraken may be the better choice for traders in search of lower fees or features like margin and futures trading. Coinbase offers a wider range of institutional services, educational resources, and features like Coinbase Card.
Kraken and Coinbase’s account features and fees also vary. Keep reading to see which brokerage is best for you.
Is Kraken right for you?
Founded in 2011, Kraken is a global crypto exchange providing a plethora of services for individuals and institutions. The exchange supports more than 50 cryptocurrencies (including bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin), and its products are available to those in nearly 200 countries around the world.
When it comes to trading, Kraken offers several options. These include fiat-to-crypto transactions, margin trading, futures trading, and over-the-counter (OTC) trading. On the fiat end, the exchange supports USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, GBP, CHF, and JPY. Plus, you can fund your account with cryptocurrencies as long as Kraken currently supports the coins (see a complete list of Kraken’s funding options here).
And for the staking-oriented traders (staking is a process that pays you interest rewards for holding certain assets for a period of time), you can earn rewards from bitcoin, ethereum, and multiple other assets.
If you’re an institution or an advanced trader, there’s no shortage of services at Kraken. Institutions and high-net-worth individuals (those with at least $1 million) can take advantage of the exchange’s OTC services to place high-volume trades.
Its OTC services also give you access to expert market insights, 24/7 global customer support, one-on-one expert consultations, and full support for all fiat currencies and crypto assets listed on the exchange. Advanced traders, on the other hand, can utilize both the Kraken Pro platform and ongoing support from an account manager.
Kraken additionally provides several helpful resources — including videos and webinars — on the fundamentals of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
Is Coinbase right for you?
Coinbase is best for individual or institutional traders — both in the US and abroad — looking for access to crypto exchange services, staking, crypto rewards, asset storage, and more. The exchange is available in all 50 states, and it supports traders in more than 100 countries.
Like Kraken, Coinbase lets you exchange more than 50 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, dogecoin, and others. But unlike Kraken, Coinbase doesn’t offer margin accounts or futures trading.
What Coinbase does offer traders is staking rewards, an educational feature that pays you in crypto for learning about various assets (the exchange calls this option Coinbase Earn), and two different account options: the Coinbase standard account and Coinbase Pro. As for its staking rewards, you can earn up to 5.0% APY for holding assets like ethereum, algorand, tezos, and others. See more here.
While the standard Coinbase account includes crypto trading, Coinbase Earn, Coinbase Card, wallet services (Kraken doesn’t offer a wallet), and more, Coinbase Pro caters to more advanced traders. The Coinbase Pro platform includes real-time market data and order books, trading APIs and charting tools, and FDIC insurance protection of up to $250,000. Read more on Coinbase Pro here.
Coinbase also offers several institutional services, including its Coinbase Prime institutional trading platform and cold storage (cold storage is offline custody for crypto assets). In addition, businesses and institutions can utilize commerce services, ventures fundraising services for crypto startups, asset-listing software, and analytics services.
Kraken vs Coinbase: Which is right for you?
Kraken and Coinbase are both competitive options for crypto traders — whether it be individuals or institutions — who want a vast selection of cryptocurrencies and exchange services. Both exchanges offer well over 50 crypto assets, with the option to stake different cryptocurrencies to earn interest.
However, Kraken isn’t an ideal option for New York or Washington state residents (it doesn’t serve traders in either state). Coinbase serves traders in all 50 states, but while it supports more than 100 countries, Kraken supports close to 200 countries.
Coinbase is probably a better fit for beginner crypto traders, thanks to its Coinbase Earn educational feature that pays you in crypto for learning about different assets. Plus, if you’re looking to merge trading and digital wallet storage under the same company, Coinbase is also the better option (Kraken doesn’t offer wallets).
But Kraken may be more ideal for traders looking for lower fees. Kraken not only costs less, but it also gives you access to margin and futures trading.