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BeginnerIntermediateAdvanced

Bittrex vs Kraken: Contrasting Two Crypto Exchange Beasts

With the number of trading platforms on the crypto market today it can be hard to decide which exchange is best for you. Bittrex and Kraken are two of the biggest exchanges today, but which is best for you? Our comparison will look at trading fees, pairs, security, and more in order to help you decide which meets your crypto needs.

Kraken Quick Overview

Kraken is one of the most trusted exchanges on the market today and is often one of the top five exchanges by trading volume. Although the company behind the platform was founded all the way back in 2011, the exchange has never faced a serious security incident to this day. To learn more check out our comprehensive Kraken review.

Kraken Exchange Homepage

Kraken Pros & Cons

Pros

  • One of the original cryptocurrency exchanges

  • Never been hacked

  • Support for a variety of different funding options

  • High trading volumes

Cons

  • Not available to New York residents

  • Slow account verification

  • No support for credit/debit cards

Bittrex Quick Overview

Bittrex is a cryptocurrency exchange oriented towards more experienced traders. Based in Seattle, U.S., and Lichtenstein (Bittrex Global), they offer over 250 digital assets via their powerful cryptocurrency trading engine with a sleek interface and numerous trading pairs. Bittrex also has a set of its own API keys which can be used for automated crypto trading with bots. Launched by former employees of Microsoft and Amazon, another one of its biggest draws is its robust security.

Bittrex Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Tons of trading pairs

  • High liquidity

  • Fiat deposits and withdrawals

Cons

  • No margin trading

  • Extensive verification

Kraken vs Bittrex at a Glance

Headquarters
San Francisco, USA vs Seattle, USA
Company Type
Exchange vs Exchange
Fees
Low (0% to 0.26%) vs Low (0% to 0.2%)
Security
High vs High
Beginner Friendly
No vs No
Verification Required
Yes vs Yes
Available Cryptocurrencies
47 vs 250+
Proprietary Token
No vs No
On-Site Wallet
Yes vs Yes
Buy/Deposit Methods
Bank Transfer, Crypto vs Bank Transfer, Crypto, Visa Debit/Credit
Sell/Withdraw Methods
Bank Transfer, Crypto vs Bank Transfer, Crypto
Year Established
2011 vs 2014
Fiat Trading
Yes vs Yes
Gold
PAX Gold (PAXG) vs Universal Gold (UPXAU)

Beginner Friendliness

Fees

When comparing Bittrex vs Kraken trading fees there is not much to separate the two exchanges. The difference in fees is negligible.

For Kraken, maker fees, meaning you create an order, start at 0.16% and go down from there, turning to 0% if you have $10 million or more in trading volume in the past 30 days. Taker fees, meaning you accept an existing order, start at 0.26% and go down from there, turning to 0% at $10 million trading volume as well.

For Bittrex, maker fees start at 0.2% and go down from there, turning to 0% when you have $60 million in trade volume for the past 30 days. Taker fees also start at 0.2% and go down from there, turning to 0.08% when you hit the $60 million volume mark.

Withdrawal fees for fiat on both platforms vary depending on what type of funds you are sending to your bank account.

Features

Comparing Bittrex vs Kraken features yields little difference between the two platforms, as they both offer similar capabilities, however, each has one notable feature.

Kraken’s stand out feature is Cryptowatch, which is their own creation. Cryptowatch is a trading platform that allows you to trade across multiple exchanges even on mobile. This allows you to find the best rates for the trade you are looking to execute.

Bittrex’s stand out feature is more just something that it offers that Kraken does not, and that feature is the ability to fund your account instantly with a credit or debit card. The caveat to this is that they only accept Visa debit or credit cards, all other credit or debit cards will not work. Still, the ability to fund your account instantly is something you cannot do with Kraken.

Security

When comparing the security of Kraken vs Bittrex we find that they are both extremely secure exchanges. Neither exchange has ever been hacked. They both offer Two Factor Authentication (2FA). The only real difference between the two exchanges is the amount of funds they keep on the exchange at one time.

Kraken only holds 5% of assets on the exchange, keeping the other 95% in cold wallets that are air gapped. They also hold a full reserve in case anything ever happens.

Bittrex holds between 10-20% of assets on the exchange.

Kraken is the superior option as they hold less online, therefore they are less of a target for hackers, in addition, they regularly have experts test their security looking for weaknesses.

Available Currencies

This is one section of the comparison that has a clear and obvious winner, as Kraken only supports 47 cryptocurrencies whereas Bittrex supports over 250. If you are looking to have an extremely diverse portfolio with lesser known assets, then Bittrex is the choice for you. However, if Kraken has the assets you are interested in then there is no specific reason to choose to sign up for Bittrex instead of Kraken.

Trading Power

Both Kraken and Bittrex are considered top cryptocurrency exchanges with high liquidity, however, Kraken tends to have much more volume than Bittrex, in the last 24 hours alone they have moved 10x the volume as Bittrex. While Bittrex is still a top 20 exchange, Kraken is a top 5 exchange.

Any asset that is supported on both Bittrex and Kraken is better to sell on Kraken, as they do volume. Unless the asset you have is solely on Bittrex and not Kraken, Kraken is the better option between the two exchanges.

Ease of Use

Both Kraken and Bittrex would be considered intermediate to advanced trading platforms, therefore not that suited for beginners. Registration for both exchanges is simple but the limited options for instant funding of accounts means they are both better suited to users who already own crypto assets. Both interfaces are easy to navigate and provide many options for customizing trades.

Beginners may find it easier to use a platform that allows instant crypto purchases using credit cards or debit cards, such as Coinbase. That will allow them to get started quicker than Kraken, and while Bittrex does accept credit card funding its only through Visa, which limits many users.

Conclusion

When you take into account all the factors that make an exchange worth using, it is hard not to say that Kraken is better than Bittrex. They have lower fees, stronger security and better liquidity. In addition, Cryptowatch is a much better feature than anything Bittrex offers. The only reason to pick Bittrex would be for their superior asset support or credit card funding option, but their lack of support for anything but Visa means there are other brokerages, like Coinbase, that are better.

Evan Jones Headshot

About the Author

Evan Jones

Evan Jones was introduced to cryptocurrency by fellow CryptoVantage contributor Keegan Francis in 2017 and was immediately intrigued by the use cases of many Ethereum-based cryptos. He bought his first hardware wallet shortly thereafter. He has a keen and vested interest in cryptos involving decentralized backend exchanges, payment processing, and power-sharing.

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