Kraken vs Binance vs Coinbase – which exchange tops 2020

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During the heights of the last bull run, in 2017/2018 new cryptocurrency exchanges were appearing on the scene almost weekly.

All fighting for our attention and our money.

Fast forward to 2020 and some are gone but many still remain. In a space full hacks, thefts, wash trading and fake volume we need to be able to trust our cryptocurrency exchanges.

At least more than we did in the past.

Often there are a few key cryptocurrency exchanges that get most of the attention and traffic. And we have decided to compare three of the most popular exchanges out there today in 2020 here in this article:

Kraken vs Binance vs Coinbase

Three of the most popular and biggest cryptocurrency exchanges out there today.
We will in this article judge each of these cryptocurrency exchanges based on the same parameters.

Which are:

  • How secure and reliable is it? 1-5*
  • How easy to use and user-friendly is it? 1-5*
  • How good is the selection of cryptocurrencies? 1-5*
  • How good liquidity do they have? 1-5*
  • And what are the current payment options available? 1-5*
  • And what are the fees? 1-5*

Based on these five important aspects there will be a winner.

Are you ready to learn more about each of these crypto exchanges and find out which one wins this round of tests done by us at Go CryptoWise?

Kraken

Kraken's website screenshot

Kraken proudly calls itself one of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges in the world. They were founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell, but they formally launched and went live in 2013.

Today it, of course, is more than just a Bitcoin exchange. They have currently today 32 cryptocurrencies available for trade on their platform and add to that six fiat-to-crypto trading pairs (USD, EUR, CAD, JPY, GBP, and CHF).

Kraken seems like a cryptocurrency exchange that has slowly and steadily built over the years.

Not like Binance that burst onto the scene in 2017 and kinda quickly became the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Kraken seems at the first look like a solid and user-friendly exchange.

At Kraken, you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies using a couple of different methods.

Traditional spot trading one cryptocurrency for another at the open market.

They also have margin trading, with added leverage up to 5x (this is fairly low compared to some other exchanges and something that I think is quite good. No need to have 100x leverage).

Futures trading, trade Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies when the price meets a future set target.

And they also have an OTC desk. Available for users that want to buy large sums of BTC or other cryptocurrencies. Kraken recently in 2019 acquired Circle’s OTC trading desk to enhance their OTC-offering.

  • Learn more about the acquisition of Circle’s OTC desk here

Kraken exchange staking feature screenshot

Kraken’s liquidity and trading volume is not in the top based on overall volume, but they score fairly high in Coinpaprika’s confidence score.

Kraken trading volume and confidence score using Coinpaprika

This is a measure put in place to showcase how accurate the actual trading volume really is.

  • Kraken has a confidence score of 83.13%
  • And an overall trading volume of 31 401.72 BTC

Kraken has also recently added staking as a feature for their users. This is not unique but it still is a welcome and appreciated feature amongst crypto holders.

By holding your coins on Kraken you could enjoy the benefits of staking them to participate in supporting the blockchain network and also earn rewards.

Currently, only Tezos is available for staking on Kraken. But DASH and ATOM will be added soon (read more about it here).

Sign up for Kraken screenshot

How secure is Kraken?

Well to best answer that question we should look into how many times they’ve been hacked or in other ways failed to secure our coins and tokens.

First off I would like to take my hat off to Jesse Powell and Kraken who repeatedly have warned its users from storing their cryptos on the exchange (CCN article about it).

But also the fact of the matter is that Kraken hasn’t been successfully hacked yet. Nor have had any big incidents.

95% of all the cryptos are stored in an offline capacity.

Payment options available on Kraken

Currently, you can deposit funds from your bank to Kraken, using a range of bank and wire transfer methods. You can also withdraw funds to your bank from Kraken. You can of course deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies.

Only Canadians can as of yet buy/deposit funds with a credit card or debit card and cash (find out more). It is not possible to withdraw funds for anyone to your card, or in cash.

Kraken fees

Kraken exchange cryptocurrency deposit fees and minimums screenshot

Kraken has fairly low trading fees for traditional spot trading and their maker fees are 0.16% for $0 – $50,000 and 0.26% in taker fee. And this goes down from here in larger 30- day volumes.

Kraken has deposit fees for cryptocurrencies and this is fairly standard although some exchanges don’t have them.

Kraken takes a fee for some bank (wire) deposits. From $0 to $5. And for withdrawals, this is from $0 to $35.

Additional information about Kraken:

Kraken scores

  • How secure and reliable is it? 5/5*
  • How easy to use and user-friendly is it? 5/5*
  • How good is the selection of cryptocurrencies? 3/5*
  • How good liquidity do they have? 3-5*
  • And what are the current payment options available? 4/5*
  • And what are the fees? 3/5*
  • The total score of = 23/30*

Binance

Binance cryptocurrency exchange photo

The other extremely popular alternative amongst crypto traders and investors and second on this comparison list between Kraken vs Binance vs Coinbase, is Binance.

Binance was launched in 2017.

That is crazy to think about. Since its launch in 2017 Binance has grown to become perhaps the biggest and most used cryptocurrency exchange in the world.

The founder of Binance is Changpeng Zhao or CZ.

A few of the things that I think Binance did very well was to quickly add a lot of new exciting altcoins. They launched their cryptocurrency exchange during the early days of the bull run of 2017.

So people were flooding the crypto markets. New users were coming onto the scene reading about Bitcoin’s price movements from about $800/900 – $20,000. And all the new altcoins that were bursting onto the scene.

Many giving some outrageous returns of investments to their ICO investors or early investors post the ICOs. This meant that there was a gap in the market for a quality exchange to come in and provide a simple way for the masses to buy both Bitcoin but also the new crop of exciting altcoins.

And Binance probably provided this opportunity better than anyone else.

AMA with CZ founder of Binance

Combined with an outspoken and meme-able founder and CEO the success was a fact. From $0 to a billion-dollar company in under, a year is nothing short of remarkable.

Today there are three different Binance exchanges available. Standard Binance, and then you have Binance Jersey a fiat deposit/withdrawal exchange for Europeans and Binance US, an exchange open for U.S customers.

Binance has like Kraken spot trading, margin trading, futures trading, and p2p trading.

Binance has one of the biggest selection of available cryptocurrencies. As mentioned this was a big draw factor for attracting users during the height of last bull run.

And still, today sets Binance apart from Kraken and others. They have more than 100+ coins and tokens available. And with several Fiat currencies and stablecoin trading pairs also available.

Binance trading volume and confidence score using Coinpaprika

Binance’s liquidity and trading volume are one of the best in the business. And this is true after Coinpaprika’s confidence score and reported trading volume.

  • Binance has a confidence score of 53%
  • And an overall trading volume of 230 550 BTC

Register at Binance

How secure is Binance?

I think everyone should follow Jesse Powell’s advice and never leave much of their holdings on any cryptocurrency exchange.

Instead invest in a safe hardware wallet, like the Ledger models or the Trezor models.

However, I think that Binance is one of the better options when it comes to security. They have been hacked a few times actually.

But what Binance has done that is very interesting is that they have created a security fund. And this fund will reimburse their users in the unlikely scenario of a successful hack.

This security fund is known as SAFU.

Binance SAFU (fund) screenshot

Otherwise, Binance is a reliable exchange with most of the common security features that you expect. From 2F-Authentication, offline wallets and many additional security features built-in their products.

But perhaps since they’ve been hacked which Kraken hasn’t there might be some work to do for the future here.

Payment options available on Binance

Binance currently has cryptocurrency withdrawals and deposits, and Fiat deposits for 8 fiat currencies, from EUR, GBP, HKD, RUB, etc.

Buy and sell cryptos on Binance with your card

You can also buy and sell cryptocurrencies on Binance with your credit card or debit card.

Binance fiat deposits

Additionally, Binance has its Jersey and US outfit too. Which offers additional payment options for EU and US citizens.

Binance fees

For spot trading, these fees apply at Binance: 0.10% in maker and taker fees up to 50 BTC over a 30-day volume. And then it goes lower from there.

But you can minimise your trading fees at Binance by buying their Binance Coin and use it for trading fees.

Then you can earn reduced fees of 25%.

Binance has margin trading fees (interest rates) that apply on a daily or yearly level, it differs from crypto to crypto

Additional information about Binance:

Binance scores

  • How secure and reliable is it? 4/5*
  • How easy to use and user-friendly is it? 4/5*
  • How good is the selection of cryptocurrencies? 5/5*
  • How good liquidity do they have? 4-5*
  • And what are the current payment options available? 5/5*
  • And how are the fees? 4/5*
  • The total score of = 26/30*

Coinbase

Coinbase exchange photo

And finally, it is Coinbase turn in this review of Kraken vs Binance vs Coinbase.

Coinbase is another U.S based cryptocurrency exchange like Kraken. And it was founded by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam back in 2012.

There are actually two Coinbase’s. Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. They have been created for two distinctive purposes and users.

Where Coinbase is more suitable for the basic and beginners, and Coinbase Pro is more tailored for the advanced traders.

Earn $166 with Coinbase Earn by learning about cryptocurrencies

Coinbase Pro was previously called GDAX (blog post about the branding change), and it was launched in 2015 to widen Coinbase’s offering and appeal to a wider group of crypto users.

Coinbase Pro an exchange tailored for the more experienced crypto traders

The main Coinbase is the one that most people know about. And it is a very user-friendly and beginner-friendly place to buy and sell cryptocurrencies.

It comes with a really nice UI and design. And with minimal fuss and overly complex trading views.

I believe that by honing in on the beginners and also creating a strong UX and user-friendly exchange Coinbase set itself apart from the competitors and managed to attract a very wide range of users.

Even the pickier and more experienced traders could use Coinbase from time to time just because it was really easy to use.

Coinbase doesn’t have the same type of available cryptocurrencies as Binance does. It also has fewer cryptos than Kraken. It has support on Coinbase for 19 right now. With the popular ones and a few Ethereum-tokens.

Coinbase liquidity is not easily compared to Kraken’s or Binance’s as they don’t work in the same way really. But they do have very big liquidity so there won’t be any issues buying or selling via Coinbase.

Coinbase Pro trading volume and confidence score using Coinpaprika

But we can compare Coinbase Pro with Kraken and Binance using Coinpaprika.

  • Coinbase Pro has a confidence score of 100%
  • And an overall trading volume of 46 419.88 BTC

So it has a 100% score in confidence, which is best in the business. But lower trading volume compared to Binance, but higher volume than Kraken. And with similar amount of cryptocurrencies like Kraken.

Coinbase available cryptocurrencies
  • Sign up for Coinbase here (you can use the same account for both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro – you will also get $10 worth of BTC for free when you buy for a minimum of $100 using that link)

How secure is Coinbase?

Ok, a very important question. How good of a job does Coinbase do to protect our funds, our privacy and data?

Coinbase have been under attack at times, from very serious threats (Coindesk article). However, there haven’t been any large hacks confirmed.

Sure individual users have been attacked and successfully hacked. But that has been more to do with how well they secured their accounts rather than any clear errors on Coinbase’s part.

So you can say what you want about other areas on Coinbase but their security so far holds up.

Payment options available on Coinbase

Coinbase has become so popular because of its wide range of payment options. Especially the possibility to deposit and withdraw fiat currencies (USD, EUR, GBP).

Currently, you can:

  • Deposit and withdraw funds via a bank transfer (wire transfer, ACH, SEPA, Ideal/Sofort)
  • Pay with your credit card or debit card (instant purchases) VISA and Mastercard *note Coinbase doesn’t accept new credit cards for US citizens to be added and used but cards linked in the past might still work
  • Sell via PayPal

Get help on using Coinbase at their online help centre

Coinbase fees

When it comes to fees this has often been mentioned by crypto users that they think the fees can be a bit high at Coinbase.

Yeah, the fees aren’t great. But truth of the matter their fees aren’t necessarily much higher than the competitors that offer similar payment options. Because the fees are higher for customers that want to buy instantly with their cards.

These are the fees that apply at Coinbase:

  • Coinbase charges a spread of 0.50% of all purchases and sales (learn more about the spread)
  • The fees to pay with a card is usually 3.99%
  • Standard buy/sell adds 1.49%
  • Bank transfers in are usually free, but $10 for Wire in
  • Bank transfers out range from free to £1 / $0.15 / $25 (Wire)

Save on fees by using Coinbase Pro

What you can do is use Coinbase combined with using Coinbase Pro.

  1. Then you could make a bank transfer in (SEPA or ACH) which would be free.
  2. Then buy the cryptocurrency you want at Coinbase Pro.
  1. Similarly, you could sell your cryptocurrencies at Coinbase Pro
  2. And then withdraw the funds out to your bank again when you want to sell.

Then you would only have a standard taker fee of 0.50% and potentially a smaller bank withdrawal fee (£1 / $0.15).

Coinbase Pro screenshot

Additional information about Coinbase:

Coinbase scores

  • How secure and reliable is it? 5/5*
  • How easy to use and user-friendly is it? 5/5*
  • How good is the selection of cryptocurrencies? 3/5*
  • How good liquidity do they have? 4-5*
  • And what are the current payment options available? 5/5*
  • And what are the fees? 1/5*
  • The total score of = 23/30*

Conclusion

We have a winner!

It is Binance with a total score of 26/30*.

Binance logo

The final score and order are:

  1. Binance 26/30*
  2. Kraken 23/30*
  3. Coinbase 23/30*

So even though we have a winner in this Kraken vs Binance vs Coinbase article, I think each of these crypto exchanges has their own unique benefits and advantages.

  • Binance is an all-rounder with a great selection of cryptos available.
  • Kraken is similar to Binance with lots of good features and very safe exchange.
  • And lastly, Coinbase is super-tailored for beginners and is really easy to use.

I hope you liked this article, and I thought it was to write and do the research. Obviously this is written by one person and with my own experience coming into play.

But I tried to take a neutral position and see it objectively from these fice areas selected.

If you have any questions about any of these exchanges or the article then feel free to leave a comment below. And we will get back to you as soon as possible!

If you liked the article then please share it with others!

Find other guides:

  1. Best way to invest in crypto
  2. Best Masternode coins
  3. Bitcoin investing guide
  4. How to short Bitcoin
  5. Best Ethereum wallets

Written by:

Per Englund – Founder of Go CryptoWise a cryptocurrency and tech fan that want to see better and smarter products and services that make our lives better and easier

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