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Binance vs. Kraken: A Comparison Between Leading Exchanges in Europe
Binance vs. Kraken: A Comparison Between Leading Exchanges in Europe
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Binance vs. Kraken: A Comparison Between Leading Exchanges in Europe

By Amelia Tomasicchio - 21 Dec 2020

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When it comes to cryptocurrency exchanges, there are few names that are more prominent than Binance and Kraken. In many reputable exchange rankings, both exchanges rank in the top 5. Between the two, Kraken is the older exchange, as it was established in 2012, while Binance was created in 2017. In terms of market position, Kraken had the upper hand in Bitcoin’s early days, but Binance has ranked at the top in terms of trading volume since 2018. Nonetheless, both exchanges offer compelling services to the public. 

For this head-to-head comparison, we’re giving you an overview of the overall cryptocurrency trading experience and conditions on Binance and Kraken. We’ll do this comparison based on a list of criteria. We’re not going too deep in details, but we’ll provide our basic assessment on the advantages and disadvantages of both platforms.

Binance vs. Kraken: a Comparison

  1. User Experience

As the older exchange, Kraken had plenty of time to refine its platform to make it more convenient for users to buy and sell cryptocurrency. As with Binance, it had an early reputation of being a platform for more advanced traders, but its recent updates, such as a lite version of its app and one-click buy features, have shown that it is eager to cater to more crypto beginners.

Score: Binance = 4/5, Kraken = 5/5

  1. Spot Trading Pairs

To bolster its fast ascension in the crypto rankings, Binance has listed more tokens in various points of its history. Now, it offers more than 600 trading pairs as of December 2020, providing a plethora of options for traders. Even with a five-year head start, Kraken only has more than 220 trading pairs. While the quantity of trading pairs is not an indicator of the quality of the exchange, it does indicate how many opportunities their users have to take advantage of the market.

Score: Binance = 5/5, Kraken = 4/5

  1. Euro Trading Pairs

This is where Kraken’s elder statesman status gives an advantage, with 52 trading pairs for the Euro, compared to just 13 for Binance. It is worth noting that Binance only started adding Euro trading pairs in early 2020, after spending its formative years as a crypto-only exchange. Even so, as it currently stands, Kraken has the advantage for this category.

Score: Binance = 4/5, Kraken = 5/5

  1. Deposit and Withdrawal Fees

One thing that Binance is known for is its low fees. When you deposit 500 EUR on Binance using your credit card, you’re charged just 9 EUR, compared to 18 EUR for Kraken. Binance’s credit card fees are set at 1.8% to 2%, which is significantly lower than 3% to 4% for Kraken. For bank withdrawals, Binance still comes out on top, with charges of 0.8 EUR or 1.5 GBP, compared to as high as 5 EUR or 13 GBP for Kraken

Score: Binance = 5/5, Kraken = 3/5

  1. Deposit and Withdrawal Limits

Upon trying both exchanges, we’ve come to the conclusion that while they are close to each other when it comes to minimum deposit/withdrawal amounts, Kraken has the advantage when it comes to maximum limits, in some cases even offering unlimited deposits and withdrawal amounts depending on the bank you use. Here’s one area where Binance can improve upon.

Score: Binance = 3/5, Kraken = 5/5

  1. Exchange Volumes

One key indicator of an exchange’s quality is its daily trading volumes. Bigger volumes mean more traders and active markets. And that’s something that Binance is well-known for, with average daily trading volumes reaching as much as $10 billion. Kraken pales in comparison, with less than $1 billion in volume. 

Score: Binance = 5/5, Kraken = 3/5

  1. Trading Fees

Both exchanges offer spot and futures markets for cryptocurrencies, and there are corresponding trading fees for those services. At the core of Binance’s reputation as a top exchange is its low fees compared to competitors, set at 0.1% for both maker and taker on the spot exchange. For futures, it’s 0.02% for makers and 0.04% for takers. Add to this the built-in 25% discount on fees when traders use BNB, Binance’s own crypto token, and you have some of the lowest fees in the industry. By comparison, Kraken’s fees for spot trading are set at 0.16% for makers and 0.26% for takers. For futures markets, Kraken’s fees are 0.02% and 0.05% for makers and takers, respectively.

Score: Binance = 5/5, Kraken = 3/5

  1. Margin Trading

Margin trading has emerged as a popular alternative to spot trading on crypto, offering higher returns on your trading moves, although with increased risks involved. But overall, the more choices people have for margin trading, the better it is for the user. Binance has more than 400 margin trading pairs, compared to Kraken’s 77. This is perhaps unsurprising because Binance has more tokens listed. But another advantage that Binance has is its margin leverage, which can reach up to 10x, higher than Kraken’s 5x.

Score: Binance = 5/5, Kraken =3/5

  1. Futures Trading

Another now-prominent feature of crypto trading is derivatives trading. The rise of cryptocurrency futures trading has unlocked more ways to benefit from the market. And this is yet another area where Binance offers a better product, at least from an options standpoint. Binance features a total of 117 futures trading pairs, 100 more than Kraken’s 17. In terms of leverage Binance also outpaces Kraken at up to 125x versus 50x.

Score: Binance = 5/5, Kraken =3/5

  1. Additional Services

Over the years, Kraken has built its crypto OTC and foreign exchange services on top of its core crypto exchange offering. But it’s safe to say that Binance has outpaced Kraken when it comes to building a crypto solutions suite. Aside from an active crypto OTC service and a growing peer-to-peer platform for fiat-to-crypto solutions, Binance has crypto-focused financial growth products such as staking, savings, and loans. They even have more advanced crypto solutions, including DeFi services, such as liquidity pools, mining pools, as well as a branded card that offers up to 8% cashback for crypto-fueled transactions.

Score: Binance = 5/5, Kraken = 3/5

  1. Security and Safety of Funds

Both companies boast top-end security and safety. The two exchanges haven’t suffered from any significant security breach recently. We think they have kept security, safety of funds and data-protection as their top priority. Should you want to keep your crypto assets safe and not be bothered with personal off-chain wallets, both exchanges provide best-in-class security.

Score: Binance = 5/5, Kraken = 5/5

Conclusion

There are undoubtedly more factors to consider when it comes to choosing one crypto exchange over another, but we believe we captured some of the more important characteristics of using an exchange. And we found that while Kraken has some advantages and a long-standing reputation as an established exchange, it looks like the younger Binance has more to offer to crypto traders not only in Europe but also around the world. 

Final Score: Binance = 51/55, Kraken = 42/55

Amelia Tomasicchio
Amelia Tomasicchio

As expert in digital marketing, Amelia began working in the fintech sector in 2014 after writing her thesis on Bitcoin technology. Previously author for Cointelegraph and CMO at Eido. She is now the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Cryptonomist.

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