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Kraken and Binance are among the world’s largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. In terms of average daily trading volume, Binance is number one and Kraken is fourth. The version of Binance that Americans must use, Binance.US, is ranked ninth.
Binance offers a greater selection of coins, lower fees, and possibly higher liquidity due to its higher trading volumes. Kraken has gained a reputation for having high security standards and plans to become a publicly traded company in 2022.
We evaluated both platforms based on fees, security, mobile apps, ease of use, features, and currencies supported to help you choose the crypto exchange that’s right for you.
Kraken vs. Binance: How do they compare?
Investing in cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and other Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is highly risky and speculative, and the markets can be extremely volatile. Consult with a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. This article is not a recommendation by The Balance or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies nor can the accuracy or timeliness of the information be guaranteed.
As of August 2021, Binance.US tells The Balance that it is no longer allowing trades on its platform. Additionally, the parent company, Binance, has faced regulatory action in several countries around the world.
At a Glance
|Fees||0% to 0.26%||0.1% or less|
|Currencies||Roughly 70||More than 500 (53 for Binance.US users)|
|Security||2FA withdrawal email confirmation, air-gapped cold storage, strict surveillance, precise API key permission control, SSL encryption||2-factor authentication via authenticator app, FDIC-insured USD balances, device management, cold storage|
|Transactions Supported||Buy, sell, send, receive, exchange, margin trading, limit order, market order, stop-loss limit order, futures trading, take profit market order, and more||Limit order, market order, stop-limit order, trailing stop order, post only order, peer-to-peer trading, margin trading, and more|
|Max. Trading Amount||$100,000||Varies according to the cryptocurrency in question|
|Mobile App||iOS and Android||iOS and Android|
Kraken vs. Binance: Ease of Use
Both Kraken and Binance can be used via web browser or via mobile app. When it comes to Kraken versus Binance and ease of use, Kraken is the winner. Any crypto exchange can potentially be a strange and novel experience for first-timers. But Binance doesn’t have a user experience that makes things any easier for the average newcomer.
The Binance web interface assumes that users know their way around an exchange. There are three views to choose from: “basic,” “classic,” and “advanced.” Converting one crypto to another should be simple enough for anyone in the basic view, as the display simply features two dropdown menus.
The classic view is more of a traditional trading experience, displaying charts and order books. New users are likely to find the classic view to be confusing. Experienced traders will find the experience to be standard and much like other exchanges. In this view, things like open orders and order histories are also available for viewing.
The advanced view is specifically built for advanced traders, which experienced users might find useful. This view offers everything that classic view has to offer but has additional charting and technical analysis functionality. Charts are powered by TradingView.
Users who are less familiar with exchanges will find Kraken to be more appealing. The interface is more straightforward and clearly spells out how to do things. To place a buy or sell order, for example, users simply select the “new order” tab, choose their desired crypto and fiat pair, and choose whether to use a market or limit order. The layout, colors, and larger text make the process feel easier, too.
Kraken vs. Binance: Security
Both exchanges offer industry-leading security. Many Kraken versus Binance comparisons can be considered equal when it comes to security. That said, Binance has had a few notable lapses in security over the years.
In 2019, hackers broke into Binance and stole $40 million worth of bitcoin. While no such security breaches have occurred since, it does raise questions. Those questions haven’t quite been answered by the company, either. Binance doesn’t disclose the full details of how it handles security for its crypto assets.
This is where Kraken stands out. Kraken has never been hacked and has transparent security practices. In fact, there’s an entire page on the company’s website dedicated to discussing their comprehensive security features. The exchange keeps 95% of funds in air-gapped cold storage, has its servers protected by armed guards under 24/7 video surveillance, and keeps all sensitive account information encrypted at both the system and the data levels.
On top of all that, Kraken has an ongoing bug bounty hunting program. That means the company offers rewards to white-hat hackers who are able to find vulnerabilities before the bad guys do and report them to Kraken.
Kraken vs. Binance: Features
Both platforms offer many of the same features in terms of trading. The main features most people use crypto exchanges for are the buying, selling, and converting of different cryptocurrencies. If your goal is just to convert some fiat currency into crypto, then either exchange will work. Both exchanges also have a lot of educational materials on their websites and blogs.
There are a few more niche features offered by each platform, though. Kraken offers easy staking solutions for some of the most popular proof-of-stake coins like DOT, ATOM, and XTZ. Users looking to earn a yield on their crypto could benefit by using Kraken in this way.
Kraken users also have access to a unique platform called Cryptowatch, which makes it possible to place trades on multiple exchanges at once. Traders can use this feature to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities.
Binance offers peer-to-peer (P2P) trading, margin lending, and options and futures trading. There are also advanced charting and technical analysis features available.
Kraken vs. Binance: Currencies
Users will be able to find niche coins with smaller market caps on Binance due to the wider selection of currencies. Both exchanges support some of the largest coins by market cap, such as BTC, LTC, XRP, ETH, ADA, DOGE, and DOT, as well as several stablecoins like USDC and USDT.
Binance and Kraken also both have USD/crypto trading pairs, so some cryptocurrencies can be traded directly for dollars on the exchange.
Kraken users can fund their accounts using U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, or euros. Users who already hold cryptocurrency can also deposit crypto.
Binance has a wider selection of currencies overall, but Kraken still supports many of the most popular coins and tokens. Availability of coins can vary based on a user’s country of residence. Users can trade in small increments of a given crypto and aren’t required to trade whole tokens. There are always minimum amounts required for crypto withdrawals, though, and any trade has to be for a big enough amount to cover the associated fees.
Kraken vs. Binance: Fees
Kraken charges up to 0.26% per trade. The actual amount varies depending on a user’s activity over the course of the last 30 days. The more money someone trades, the lower their fees.
Trading fees on Binance are 0.1% or less. Withdrawals cost 3.5% with a $10 minimum. Cryptocurrency withdrawals vary according to the currency, as is the case with most exchanges.
Kraken withdrawal fees can be up to $60. Margin and futures trading involve additional fees.
With Binance’s exchange token, Binance Coin (BNB) users can save money on trading fees. All they have to do is hold BNB in their accounts, and fractions of the coin will automatically be taken as payment for fees. When paying fees with BNB, users enjoy a 25% discount.
When it comes to affordable fees, Binance is the clear winner.
|Trades||0% to 0.25% (0.2% for stablecoin pairs)||0.012% to 0.1%|
|Fiat Currency Withdrawals||$4 to $35 for USD withdrawal, depending on method||3.5%, $10 minimum|
|Crypto Withdrawals||Varies according to coin||Varies according to coin|
|Fiat Deposits||$0 to $10 depending on method||Free|
Kraken vs. Binance: Mobile App
The Binance mobile app generally has poor user reviews. People often complain about a lack of customer support, long waiting times for account verification, being locked out of their accounts, and a lack of features, such as being able to easily track the prices of the coins held in an account. Many reviews are 1-star or 2-star, and good reviews seem to be hard to come by.
The Kraken mobile app has a lot of good reviews. Some users complain about fees being higher than expected and not being able to set notifications for a specific coin moving quickly in price. Other than that, people tend to say that the app is easy to use with a clean interface. The app even comes with a built-in live chat feature for customer support. Some users also recommend the Kraken Pro app as being even better.
Kraken seems to be the winner when it comes to Kraken versus Binance and their mobile apps.
Kraken vs. Binance: Access
Residents of the following countries aren’t able to use Kraken at the time of writing:
- North Korea
There are also a few African and Middle Eastern countries that could face funding restrictions but are still able to create an account.
Binance was recently banned in the United Kingdom, meaning U.K. residents cannot use the platform in any way, shape, or form. U.S.-based users must use Binance.US instead of Binance.com. Other than that, Binance is available almost anywhere.
Binance and Kraken are both large exchanges with high daily trading volumes and a selection of many popular cryptocurrencies. The main perks that make Binance stand out are a broader selection of currencies, some of the lowest fees in the industry, and being among the leading exchanges in terms of volume.
For most everything else, Kraken takes the lead. Their customer support is better, the platform is easier to use for beginners, their mobile app is better, the platform offers easy crypto staking services, and users can even place trades on multiple exchanges if they choose.
Those new to cryptocurrency will find Kraken to be the better exchange. More advanced traders are likely to prefer Binance with its advanced charting features and lower fees.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are Kraken and Binance?
Kraken and Binance are cryptocurrency exchanges. They allow users to buy, sell, and trade a variety of different cryptocurrencies. People use these platforms when they want to invest in cryptocurrency. That could mean converting fiat currency into cryptocurrency, selling cryptocurrency for fiat currency, exchanging one crypto for another, or storing crypto in an accessible wallet hosted by a third-party.
Are Kraken and Binance Trustworthy?
As with most financial platforms, the larger the user base and the longer the track record, the more trustworthy an exchange tends to be. Both Kraken and Binance stack up well in those terms. They both keep the majority of user funds held offline in cold storage, although Kraken does go into greater detail about its specific security practices.
Kraken has an advantage over Binance in terms of a hack-free history. But generally speaking, both platforms can be considered as safe as crypto exchanges come. One thing worth noting, however, is that even the safest crypto exchanges experience outages from time to time. For example, Binance.US was offline for at least a week during June of 2021.
How Do Kraken and Binance Work?
Kraken and Binance work by providing a place for buyers and sellers to meet. Known as a “market maker,” a crypto exchange facilitates market trades by establishing order books of bid (buy) and ask (sell) orders.
In exchange for making things easy and reducing the risk that could come with peer-to-peer exchanges using this service, exchanges take a small fee from every transaction that happens inside the platform. They also take a fee whenever someone withdraws currency to a wallet outside the platform. The main job of an exchange is to facilitate trades and keep user funds safe.
Who Should Use Kraken and Binance?
Someone familiar with cryptocurrency and trading in general might prefer Binance. The exchange has more trading features and an “advanced” view for sophisticated traders.
Users who are less familiar with trading might prefer Kraken. The interface is simpler and more user-friendly.
When we evaluated Kraken versus Binance, we compared each platform based on ease of use, fees, currencies supported, features, security, and mobile apps. We also took into account how beginner-friendly each platform is.
While both exchanges offer many features, serve a large number of customers, and offer good security, Kraken leads the way in enough areas to make it the superior choice for most investors. The exception to this rule would be experienced traders who trade frequently. Such users could find Binance to be a better option due to the lower fees and advanced charting capabilities the platform offers.