Monday, June 26, 2017

Kraken Exchange: Part 1


Kraken is a well known exchange in the crypto world. On top of being one of the few big well-known names that does coin-crypto conversions, they have a lot more crosses (cryptos) that can be traded.

I thought that a Kraken account would take some time to verify. I read that it could take up to 4 weeks. It took just 10 days for me to reach Tier 3 verification!

I wasn't too shocked that my account was verified for basic Tier 1 (crypto-only) trading after 3 days. However, I was pretty surprised to it took only 2 more days to get Tier 2 verification ($2000 deposit limit) and even more surprised that 4 days after that I got Tier 3 verification ($25,000 deposit limit). Good job Kraken.

The MAIN plus point about Kraken is the large amount of crosses available to trade. Let me give some comparisons:

Coinhako (2): BTC/SGD, ETH/SGD
Coinbase (3): BTC/SGD, ETH/SGD, LTC/SGD
Gemini (3): BTC/USD, ETH/USD, BTC/ETH

As for Kraken? HUGE. It has the obvious BTC/USD, ETH/USD and BTC/ETH crosses that Gemini has, but on top of that it has support for a lot of currencies in either BTC or USD as the base currency. This gives you direct access to some of the better, but less accessible currencies, such as:

DASH, ETC, LTC, XMR, ZEC and even DOGE. Yes, even DOGE.

This means that quite often you would be able to trade USD directly for these less popular cryptocurrencies, instead of going through an additional step and changing it into BTC.

While I am a long term believer of cryptos, I still prefer pricing in fiat, such as USD or SGD as compared to BTC. This is because I find that BTC is itself too volatile and just looking at BTC/whatever is not a good gauge for someone to decide if they should change more fiat into cryptos to take advantage of price weakness.

Kraken does have one particular issue which I am not sure how to get around. To fund them in USD, you need to send USD to their bank in Japan. I'm not sure how to do this properly and if remit will work, since the country is NOT USA, but Japan instead. I have a feeling that because of this, I will not be able to send over USD without incurring the normal extra charges for cable fees and such.

I will be trying to think of how I will tackle this, but this limitation seems like it will make Kraken not as useful as I thought it would be, especially if the only way I can fund it is through BTC from another exchange like Gemini. Or through USD, if I can figure out the exact charges that I will be having to pay. Kraken does looks like it would have no problems trading out the major cryptos into USD and then cashing out the amount in USD back to me.

While I will be thinking of where exactly Kraken will fit into my strategy, I am still happy to have it. It is always good to have extra options, especially in terms of cashing out. Most likely I will be using Gemini + Bittrex if there are no screw-ups by Gemini to receive money.

I'll be posting a part 2 when I eventually use Kraken for something, haha.

Does anyone have experience funding Kraken? How did you do it? I'm quite curious about the cash and work flow of other users when buying, trading and selling cryptocurrencies. Let me know in the comments below, or send me an email if you prefer!

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