Kraken and Bittrex are two of the most popular platforms for investors to trade alternative coins (“altcoins”). Both are great options for people who are comfortable using simpler exchanges, like Gemini and Coinbase, and want to expand their portfolio.
In this “Kraken vs Bittrex” review, I’ll outline the positives and negatives of each platform while detailing what makes them unique. That way, you can confidently decide which exchange is best for you.
We’ll go over:
- Funding Methods
- Trading Fees
- Available Cryptocurrencies
- Transfer Limits
- Company Trust
- Fund Security
- Customer Support
Kraken vs Bittrex: Key Information
|Site Type||Cryptocurrency Exchange||Cryptocurrency Exchange|
|Buy/Deposit Methods||Bank Transfer, Cryptocurrency||Cryptocurrency|
|Sell/Withdrawal Methods||Bank Transfer, Cryptocurrency||Cryptocurrency|
|Available Cryptocurrencies||Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and 14+ more||Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin,
and 190+ More
|Location||San Francisco, CA, USA||Seattle, WA, US|
Your available funding methods are determined by your verification tier on Kraken.
As a Tier 1 user, you’re restricted to cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals. However, you’re additionally able to trade fiat (e.g. U.S. dollars) alongside cryptocurrency at this tier. To become a Tier 1 user, you must supply your full name, date of birth, country, and phone number.
To be categorized in Tier 2, you need to also provide your address. Reaching Tier 3 requires an upload of a valid government ID and proof of residence. Depending on your country of residence, you can deposit and withdraw funds via bank transfer at either Tier 2 or Tier 3. U.S. residents must be in Tier 3 to have access to this funding method.
Unlike with Kraken, you’re unable to fund your account with fiat in Bittrex. Bittrex only allows crypto-to-crypto exchanges focusing on Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether pairings. If you choose to use Bittrex, I recommend purchasing one of those three coins on another exchange and transferring them to Bittrex to trade.
Kraken conveniently provides three ways to buy and sell cryptocurrency: Simple, Intermediate, and Advanced. Using the Simple tab, you can place market and limit orders.
On the Intermediate and Advanced tabs, you’re able to set conditional closes, stop-losses, leverage options, and expirations.
The Bittrex interface is not as intuitive as Kraken on first use. To buy/sell a certain coin you can either click on the market name (e.g. BTC-XMR) from the home page or click on the coin name from your wallet page (e.g. XMR).
On the market page, Bittrex provides the appropriate charts (order book and price timeline) right above the input box for orders. This allows you to easily analyze the technicals of the coin as you make an order.
Similar to Kraken, you can set market and limit orders as well as place conditionals for your orders. That’s the extent of the advanced trading options that Bittrex offers, though.
Experienced investors looking for advanced trading features should look at Kraken while investors with analytics as a focus should check out Bittrex.
Kraken uses a trading fee schedule with fees varying based on your 30-day trading volume and whether you’re putting an order on the books (a maker) or filling an order from the books (a taker).
The maker fee for most pairings on Kraken ranges from 0.00% to 0.16%. Taker fees are normally between 0.10% and 0.26%.
Bittrex charges a 0.25% commission fee for all trades.
Kraken has the clear advantage in trading fees. However, if you’re a low-volume investor using these exchanges to quickly buy a position in a coin, the fees are more comparable – 0.25% on Bittrex vs 0.26% on Kraken.
It’s fairly unlikely that you won’t be able to a find the coins you’re looking for between these two exchanges.
Kraken has numerous coins and pairing offerings including:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Ethereum Classic
- Stellar Lumens
Bittrex has over 250 trading pairs. As I mentioned earlier, these pairings are all with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether, though, so make sure you have those funded before trading.
On Kraken, you can deposit up to $25,000 per day when you provide a proof of source of funds. Deposits typically take 1-5 business days to reach your account. The Kraken withdrawal limit is also $25,000 per day.
There’s no limit to the amount you can deposit on Bittrex. The amount you can withdrawal increases with your level of verification.
Basic accounts can withdraw up to 3 BTC per day when they have two-factor authentication enabled. You need to submit your name, address, and birthdate to have a basic account.
Enhanced accounts have a daily withdrawal limit of 100 BTC when they have two-factor enabled. To get an enhanced account, you need to upload identification and a selfie.
Operating as U.S. companies, Kraken and Bittrex uphold to the high standards and regulations of the SEC and U.S. government.
Kraken is headquartered in San Francisco and operated by its parent company, Payward, Inc. Many reputable investors, including Blockchain Capital, have given the company over $6 million in funding. The user base on the exchange has also increased dramatically since its launch in 2013 – doubling about every 5 months.
Bittrex was launched in 2014 by a team with extensive knowledge and experience in security and product development. The founding team previously worked at notable companies such as Amazon, Blackberry, Microsoft, and Qualys. Now headquartered in Seattle, Bittrex is recommended time and time again by community members as the best way to trade altcoins.
Although the exact amount isn’t specified, Kraken states that they keep the majority of crypto assets offline in encrypted hardware wallets. The only coins they keep online are those used to keep liquidity on the exchange. The company also keeps full reserves to prevent any risk of a bank run.
Bittrex has 80% to 90% of all funds held offline using an elastic, multi-stage wallet strategy. The platform also uses 2-factor authentication, email alerts, and IP address detection to further protect your account during log-ins.
WARNING: Bittrex is commonly the focus of hackers attempting to phish and get users’ login information. Always navigate to the website by typing “bittrex.com” directly into your navigation bar. Do not google “Bittrex” and click on a link from the search results. Oftentimes, phishers will buy ads that have a similar URL and website design as the official Bittrex website to trick traders into giving up their login information.
Both Kraken and Bittrex provide good customer support and ample resources to help new investors with common issues that may pop-up.
I haven’t experienced this personally, but Kraken has recently received some criticism for slow support response times and occasionally ignoring support tickets. I don’t think this is malicious but rather a hiccup for a rapidly growing company.
Bittrex has a robust support site comprised of FAQs, announcements, news, and an area to report issues.
This past week, many community members reported that they were suddenly unable to log-in to Bittrex or withdrawal funds because of verification issues on their account. After a couple days of silence, Bittrex released a statement explaining that the account disabling was due to compliance reasons and only affected 0.01% of accounts.
I agree with the majority of the community in that Bittrex could have given a warning and provided better support to those whose accounts were affected. Hopefully, the company will learn from this mistake and provide a better experience the next time a similar event occurs.
There’s good reason why Kraken and Bittrex are two of the most popular exchanges in the industry today. You really couldn’t go wrong with choosing either one for your altcoin trading.
If you’re looking for a platform to deposit fiat and trade a wide variety of coins all in one location, Kraken is for you.
Are you interested in trading an even wider variety of coins on an exchange with far-reaching community support? Choose Bittrex.