Bitfinex vs Kraken

Compare these two leading exchanges across available cryptocurrencies, payment methods, fees and features.

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Bitfinex and Kraken are two popular cryptocurrency exchanges that operate very differently based on their regulatory obligations. Bitfinex started as an unregulated margin lending platform and offers many more cryptocurrencies than Kraken which is highly regulated. Kraken is one of the oldest and largest cryptocurrency exchanges available and is known for its robust security having never been hacked. Let's take a look at which of these exchanges is right for you.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

At a glance: Bitfinex vs Kraken

Bitfinex
Kraken
Locationregistered in the British Virgin Islands, headquartered in Hong KongCalifornia, US
Supports fiat currencies?
  • USD, EUR, GBP, JPY
  • USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUD
Range of cryptocurrencies?190 cryptocurrencies86 cryptocurrencies
Features
  • Advanced customizable GUI.
  • More than 50 trading pairs.
  • Multiple order types such as kill or fill, market-stop, and stop-limit.
  • Customizable user interface.
  • Peer-to-peer margin trading and funding allowing traders to borrow and trade with 3.3x leverage.
  • Over-the-counter trading facility.
  • Offers derivative trading.
  • High liquidity.
  • Advanced trading features.
  • Dedicated accounts manager for high-volume traders.
  • Allows staking.
  • Over the counter services for high volumes.
  • Offers a dark pool for high-volume investors.
Fees0% to 0.2% maker-taker fees0% to 0.16% maker-taker fees
Account minimum varies by cryptocurrency
Customer supportTicket-based support center, 24/7 email support, email24/7 customer service, live chat, email
User interfaceAdvanced. Offers complex features such as margin trading, multiple order types and leverage.Beginner-Intermediate. Offers a good range of educational resources for beginners, but also includes advanced features for more experienced traders.
Set-up for new users and advanced verification steps
  • Email address
  • Full names
  • Government-issued ID
  • Photo ID
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
Supported countriesGlobal (except the US, Bolivia, Kyrgyzstan, Ecuador and Bangladesh)The US (except New York and Washington), EU and Japan
Learn more
Go to Bitfinex's website
Go to Kraken's website

Features

Bitfinex

  • Advanced trading platform with the most liquid order book.
  • High volumes which ensure a low spread.
  • An advanced and customizable GUI.
  • Offers numerous order types such as scaled orders, limit, step-limit, fill or kill, and training stop.
  • Customizable trading interface.
  • Offers access to advanced charting functionality and API access.
  • Peer-to-peer margin trading and funding platform which allows users to borrow and trade with up to 3.3x leverage.
  • Over the counter trading facilities for amounts of more than $100,000.
  • Offers derivatives trading which allows traders to speculate on asset prices without buying or selling.
  • Offers staking and lending services.
  • Has its own token known as LEO. Token users gain additional benefits on the Bitfinex trading platform.

Kraken

  • Advanced trading features such as margin trading, cryptocurrency short sales, and stop orders.
  • Offers a dark pool where high-volume investors can trade anonymously.
  • Allows staking of coins so users can make profits.
  • Offers 3 levels of verification: starter, intermediate and pro-level.
  • Offers over-the-counter services for high volume trades of more than $100,000.
  • Dedicated account manager for frequent high-volume traders.

Trading Fees

Bitfinex

Bitfinex uses a taker-maker fee model. Those who offer to match existing orders are called takers and those who place new orders are known as makers.

Fees for takers start at 0.2% but can drop as low as 0% for large maker orders. Large orders conducted through the OTC desk do not attract trading fees.

A 0.1% deposit and withdrawal fee is charged for bank wires. These fees can get to 1% for expedited withdrawals.

Crypto deposits are free but withdrawals are charged depending on the cryptocurrency.

Kraken

Kraken also uses a maker-taker fee structure, giving reductions to those with large trading volumes.

Cryptocurrency withdrawal and deposit fees vary depending on the currency. Funding fees range from $1 to $150 while maker-taker fees start at 0.16% for volumes below $50,000 to 0.00% for volumes above $10,000,000.

Stablecoin trading fees range from 0.2% to 0% and dark pool fees range from 0.36 % to 0.2 %.

Payment methods

Bitfinex only allows bank wire transfers and cryptocurrency payments.

Kraken allows payments made through SWIFT, domestic transfers, wire transfers and SEPA. Deposits and withdrawals take between 1 to 5 days. SEPA payments are free, which makes Kraken a convenient service for people in the EU.

Security

Bitfinex

Bitfinex uses 2-factor authentication to enhance security on its platform. It also stores 99.5% of its customers' funds in cold storage and has DDoS protection, whitelists and an on-site security team.

However, Bitfinex was hacked in 2015 and 1,500 Bitcoin were stolen. In 2016, the platform was hacked again leading to the loss of 120,000 Bitcoin. This hack still stands as one of the largest Bitcoin heists in history second only to the MT Gox theft of around 750,000.

Bitfinex fully compensated all those who were affected by the theft, especially those who held its token.

Kraken

Since its launch in 2013, Kraken has never been hacked. The platform is generally recognized as a leader in security, and also as the most secure cryptocurrency exchange.

According to Kraken, 95% of its cryptocurrency assets are kept in cold storage to prevent theft. The platform also undertakes external proof of reserves audits.

Additionally, Kraken servers are kept under 24/7 surveillance and any sensitive data is encrypted at the data and system level.

Kraken also has a security team that regularly conducts penetration tests along with the Bounty Bug Program.

Regulation

Bitfinex is not regulated. In the past, the exchange has been accused of operating in a legal grey area especially when it comes to the Tether Stablecoin.

Kraken, on the other hand, works closely with regulators to ensure it adheres to the rules in its jurisdiction.

Verdict: Should you use Bitfinex or Kraken?

Both Bitfinex and Kraken have been around for a long time but they operate in different ways.

Since Bitfinex is not highly regulated, it offers a more diverse list of cryptocurrencies and features. It also has less strict Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements which allows users to set up an account in a short time.

Bitfinex is more suitable for advanced traders who want a diverse list of crypto coins and advanced trading features. However, those in the US will have to look elsewhere because the exchange does not serve residents of this region.

Kraken, on the other end, is highly regulated. The exchange has fewer cryptocurrencies because every asset has to be thoroughly vetted before it is allowed on the platform. Customers are also required to go through strict KYC requirements before transacting on the exchange.

Kraken is suitable for experienced traders who are more concerned about security features. The exchange is also good for people in the US (except New York and Washington DC) and the EU.

1 - 2 of 2
Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Bitfinex Professional Trading Exchange
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, Bank Wire
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY

190
cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are a highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Spot trade all of the major cryptos on this full-featured exchange and margin trading platform.
Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, Wire transfer, Osko, SEPA, Apple Pay, Google Pay, SWIFT
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUD

86
cryptocurrencies

Buy, sell and trade a range of digital currencies on this high-liquidity exchange – suitable for beginners right through to advanced traders.
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Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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