Kraken is a popular cryptocurrency trading exchange. You can trade a wide range of cryptocurrency pairs on Kraken, including not only major coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum but a large variety of altcoins as well, such as XLM (Stellar Lumens), Ripple, Zcash, Monero, and more.
However, Kraken does have some drawbacks. First, it requires a lot of documents to verify your information; not everyone will be comfortable giving over so much information.
- An ID or passport
- Proof of residence (bank bill, gas bill, etc.)
- Social security number
- A face photo that matches with your ID
Only US residents need to provide a social security number, and only US and South African residents need to provide a face photo.
Not only do you need a lot of information to verify your identity, but Kraken can sometimes be slow at verifying you. It’s a hit and miss; it can take a few minutes at some times, but at other times, your account may be pending verification for quite a while.
Also, Kraken is not available to residents of New York State or Washington State. That means more than 26 million people living in those US states will not be able to use Kraken and will need a viable alternative.
Even if you open an account, you won’t be able to use it properly or withdraw money, as you will need to verify your identity with a proof of residence bill, and that will show that you live in New York or Washington.
Finally, while Kraken has a large selection of trading pairs, there are some trading pairs that are not yet available for buying or for trading. In particular, residents of the US (all states), Australia, Canada, and Japan face many restrictions and can not trade, deposit, or hold many altcoins.
For example, US residents, according to Kraken:
“Cannot deposit, hold, or trade ANKR, AXS, BNT, CHZ, CTQ, EWT, FLOW, GHST, GRT, LPT, MINA, MKR, OGN, PERP, RARI, REN, SAND, SRM, SUSHI or ZRX.”
Kraken also doesn’t support smaller and newer coins and tokens, like Safemoon or HOGE.
Also, if you live in the US, you can only use the Kraken website, not the Kraken app.
Finally, Kraken does not support the Binance Smart Chain or BNB.
Fortunately, however, there are many amazing Kraken alternatives. Today, I will be showing you the 13 best Kraken alternatives that:
- Do not require identity verification (also known as KYC, or Know Your Customer)
- Allow New York and Washington State residents to create an account
- Have altcoins that Kraken does not support
- Allow US customers to use a mobile app
- Supports BNB or BSC (Binance Chain and Binance Smart Chain)
- Are superior to Kraken in any other way
Let’s get into it!
Also Read: Coin Vs Token – What’s The Difference?
1. Coinbase Pro
People often get confused between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. Despite the “Pro” in the name, Coinbase Pro is absolutely free.
The difference is simple. Coinbase is not an exchange; it is a website and app you can use to buy, store, receive, and send a few major cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Stellar Lumens.
You can not trade cryptocurrencies on Coinbase.
Coinbase Pro, on the other hand, is an exchange. It allows you to trade cryptocurrency pairs, view charts, and a lot more.
Unlike Kraken, Coinbase Pro is one of the few cryptocurrency exchanges available to residents of New York and Washington State. New York, in particular, is notorious for its extremely strict exchange licensing laws, so acquiring a license is out of the reach of smaller exchanges.
You can deposit money into your Coinbase Pro account via a bank transfer and start trading immediately.
Coinbase Pro’s mobile app is available to US residents, unlike Kraken’s mobile app. That allows you to trade cryptocurrencies on the go, within seconds.
Here’s another benefit of Coinbase Pro vs Kraken: Coinbase offers a cryptocurrency card that allows you to spend assets from your crypto portfolio on everyday purchases. The card is offered in partnership with Visa.
You will need to transfer money from your Coinbase Pro account to your Coinbase account to be able to spend the money via your card. However, transfers of cryptocurrencies from Coinbase Pro to Coinbase take place instantly.
Explore: Best Bitcoin Alternatives
Binance is one of the largest and most well respected cryptocurrency exchanges, and it’s an excellent alternative to Kraken and most other similar services. There are actually two Binance sites and apps: Binance, and Binance.US.
Binance.US is for US residents. Unlike Kraken, it offers a mobile app to US residents, and it is also available to Washington State residents (though not to residents of New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Texas, and Vermont).
One of the major reasons to use Binance instead of Kraken is that you can buy BNB on Binance. Binance Chain is Binance’s own blockchain, and BNB is the blockchain’s native token.
The Binance Smart Chain is a parallel blockchain to the main Binance Chain that allows users to trade altcoins and new tokens using smart contracts.
You will need BNB to trade smart contracts on the Binance Smart Chain. A popular decentralized exchange on the Binance Smart Chain is PancakeSwap, though there are many others.
Anyone can launch a new token on the Binance Smart Chain. Once they add liquidity to PancakeSwap, anyone who owns BNB on the BSC can connect PancakeSwap to their BSC wallet and trade their BNB for the new token in real time.
It’s the epitome of DeFi (Decentralized Finance). That’s because PancakeSwap works in an entirely decentralized manner, unlike traditional exchanges.
Think of it as peer to peer trading on an exchange.
Since you need BNB to trade on PancakeSwap, having a Binance or Binance.US account is a good idea, as it allows you to get BNB at the cheapest price.
Finally, Binance (not Binance.US) does not require KYC or identify verification to deposit, trade, or withdraw cryptocurrencies. You will still be blocked from the regular Binance site or app if your IP address is in the United States.
Check Out: Best Coinbase Alternatives
KuCoin is an awesome exchange that is emerging as one of the leading exchanges in the market. Unlike Kraken, it does not require KYC (identity verification).
It is also available to US residents; it won’t block you based on your IP address. You will be able to buy crypto with a credit card, trade crypto, deposit crypto, and withdraw crypto in the US, even without KYC.
However, if you live outside the US, you will be able to verify your identity and get access to higher withdrawal limits and additional crypto purchasing methods.
Another reason to use KuCoin over Kraken is that KuCoin recently released the KCC, or the KuCoin Community Chain. It is KuCoin’s own blockchain for launching and trading smart contracts, and its native token is KCS.
There are a few decentralized exchanges on the KuCoin Community Exchange. The most popular one is KoffeeSwap, but there is also Kandy Swap and some others.
All of these exchanges are very new! I’m talking about just a couple of weeks old or less as I am writing this.
Indeed, the KuCoin Community Chain was only released on June 16, 2021. The decentralized exchanges were released shortly to a few weeks after.
KCC is still in its infancy, but it looks very promising, and I can see it becoming very popular in the near future. You need to hold KCS to trade on any of the decentralized exchanges on KCC, such as KoffeeSwap, and the only place to get KCS is on KuCoiin.
You can either deposit a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or BNB to KuCoin and exchange it for KCS or buy KCS directly on KuCoin with a credit card.
The price of KCS as of this writing is only around $10, though that fluctuates greatly, so check its updated price on CoinGecko. The time to buy KCS is now, when the KCC is still in its infancy, so create a KuCoin account and buy a bag.
Bisq is an interesting alternative to Kraken because it’s entirely decentralized. While Kraken is not a bad exchange, it is entirely centralized.
One of the main reasons people use cryptocurrencies is precisely because they are decentralized. There is no CEO of Bitcoin, and no bank has control over your money on the blockchain.
Centralized exchanges like Kraken go counter to the ideals of Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakomoto. Satoshi envisioned a decentralized currency that no one person can control; but if you hold funds in your Kraken account, they do have control over your funds, and they can decide to restrict you from withdrawing your money.
Bisq is different. It’s a peer to peer exchange; all users run Bisq on their own machines, similar to Bitcoin, in which transactions are tracked by each node.
Bisq doesn’t hold your funds, so they can’t restrict access to it. Instead, your funds will be held in 2 of 2 multisig wallets (multi signature wallets require two private keys to transfer funds instead of one private key, so no one person can control the funds in the wallet).
You also don’t need to provide any identity verification for Bisq, unlike Kraken.
Bisq is even open source! Unlike Kraken, you can review the source code to make sure it doesn’t have any flaws.
Bitstamp is one of the few exchanges to have a BitLicense, allowing it to operate in New York and offer services to New York State residents, unlike Kraken. It’s been around since 2011, and it is a reliable exchange with reasonable fees.
You can buy cryptocurrency on Bitstamp directly with your credit card and cash out to your bank account. Its mobile app allows you to trade crypto on the go; you can unlock the mobile app with your face ID or fingerprint, if your phone supports one of those methods.
Bitstamp doesn’t offer as many currency pairs as Kraken, but it’s one of the few good options if you live in New York. You will need to verify your identity to use Bitstamp.
Gemini is a safe and secure cryptocurrency exchange and an excellent alternative to Kraken. Unlike Kraken, it holds a BitLicense; it was one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to be available in New York State.
Gemini also allows you to make up to 10 withdrawals of any size for free per month. You will be charged a fee for every withdrawal after that.
Kraken, on the other hand, does not offer any free withdrawals; you will have to pay a withdrawal fee on every asset you withdraw.
If you only need to make a few large withdrawals a month, Gemini allows you to avoid withdrawal fees. When transferring out GUSD, or Gemini Dollar, you will never have to pay fees, regardless of how many times you withdraw per month.
GUSD is a stable coin that is tied to the price of the USD. One GUSD will always equal one USD.
Gemini holds most of your assets in cold storage. In other words, your assets are not held in digital wallets but in hardware wallets that are kept offline for the most part, keeping them safe from hackers.
The portion of your assets that are stored in digital wallets is fully insured, so you never have to worry about losing your crypto.
Crypto.com is one of the best ways to buy and use cryptocurrencies. Unlike Kraken, it offers a credit card that is linked to your cryptocurrency portfolio funds, allowing you to spend your Bitcoin on everyday purchases, such as groceries.
The card comes with some really cool benefits, such as:
- A whopping 8% rewards on your purchases
- 100% cash back on:
- Amazon Prime
- 10% cash back on Airbnb and Expedia bookings
- Free airport lounge access in more than 400 airports
- Free ATM withdrawals (up to $1,000 a month)
In other words, you can use Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon Prime for free if you have the Crypto.com card.
Crypto.com supports a wide range of coins, including Binance Coin (BNB)! If you’re looking for a Kraken alternative to buy BNB, consider using Cypto.com (keep in mind that BNB purchases on Crypto.com are not available in certain states).
Some other coins you can buy include ALGO, LINK, ZRX, DOT, DOGE, and around 100 others. Click here for a full list of supported coins and to see which coins are not available in the US or Singapore.
bitFlyer is based in Japan and is the #1 cryptocurrency trading platform in Japan based on trading volume. However, it is also very popular in the US.
Unlike Kraken, bitFlyer offers its mobile apps to US customers as well.
While bitFlyer does not support as many altcoins as Kraken, it does support MonaCoin, or MONA. Kraken supports many altcoins, but MONA is not one of them.
bitFlyer allows you to set up recurring purchases, while Kraken does not offer that feature at this moment. That makes bitFlyer a better choice for DCA.
DCA, or dollar cost averaging, is when you split up your investment and buy a cryptocurrency at different price points to average out your investment.
Let’s say you want to invest $1,000 into Bitcoin, and the price of Bitcoin is $40,000. If you put in all of your $1,000 at the $40k price point, you may lose out if the price of Bitcoin ends up falling to $30k.
However, if you wait, you may lose out if the price of Bitcoin rises to $60k.
The solution to the dilemma is dollar cost averaging. Buy $200 worth of Bitcoin now, and if the price of Bitcoin falls to $30k, put more money in at a lower price point.
Another way to DCA is to simply buy $100 worth of Bitcoin (or any other amount) every single month. That way, you will inevitably get some of your Bitcoin at lower price points, as the price fluctuates often.
One more thing: bitFlyer is licensed and available in both New York State and Washington State, while Kraken is not available in those two states. That makes bitFlyer an excellent choice for New York residents.
itBit by Paxos, unlike Kraken, is licensed to operate in New York, and it is available to New York residents. It only offers a few coins, but it is secure and reliable.
Also, you can buy both Paxos Gold (PAXG) and Paxos Standard (PAX) on Paxos. On Kraken, you can only buy Paxos Gold, not Paxos Standard.
Paxos Standard, or PAX, is a stable coin tied to the USD. One PAX equals one US dollar.
In the future, Paxos wants PAX to be used just like the dollar for everyday purchases.
Paxos Gold is even more unique. It is a stable coin that is tied to the price of gold.
It’s a digital asset; you don’t own any actual gold. However, all Paxos Gold tokens are backed by solid, physical gold in Paxos’ reserves.
Each PAXG token is backed by one ounce of physical gold.
The benefit of owning PAXG is that you own an asset tied to the price of gold without needing to own real gold.
While gold ETFs do exist, they are often harder to buy and out of reach for many retail investors; PAXG is easy to buy, and you can buy it directly, without any broker.
Gold ETFs have higher minimum purchases and take a few days to get to your account. You can buy as little or as much of Paxos Gold, and it will get to your account instantly.
The minimum purchase of Paxos Gold is only one percent of a token/ounce of gold, which is around $15, depending on the price of gold.
It combines the benefits of digital currency with the stability that an asset backed by gold offers.
WhiteBIT is an awesome alternative to Kraken if you are looking for more niche tokens and altcoins. For example, over the past few months, there has been a lot of hype about Safemoon.
What makes Safemoon so special? They were the first to introduce distribution into their contract.
Whenever you sell Safemoon, a certain percentage of your sale is deducted from your transaction as a tax. It is then distributed to all Safemoon holders.
In other words, you earn free Safemoon tokens just by holding Safemoon! Every time someone sells Safemoon, you get some.
It’s a pretty unique concept, and it has since been copied by thousands of other tokens.
WhiteBIT lists Safemoon, as well as other cool tokens like HOGE, while Kraken doesn’t list those smaller niche tokens. You can find a lot of interesting new tokens on WhiteBIT, and it also does not require any identity verification to withdraw crypto, unlike Kraken.
CoinTiger, based in Singapore, is another excellent Kraken alternative for lesser known and newer tokens. For example, recent listings include GSX, FSHIB, and OSM (Supermoon).
Hotbit, unlike Kraken, does not require any KYC or identity verification for depositing, trading, and withdrawing. It also supports many small altcoins and tokens, including Safemoon.
13. Cash App
The final Kraken alternative on our list is Cash App. Cash App is owned by Square, and it is the best alternative to Kraken if you are looking for a simple way to buy Bitcoin in the US, without any hassles.
Kraken has a lot more features, but it can be complicated for beginners. Cash App, on the other hand, is extremely simple to use, and it allows you to buy and sell Bitcoin easily, with low fees.
You can keep your Bitcoin in the Cash App wallet, sell it for USD, or send it to an external wallet.
Cash App also allows you to send and receive USD from friends, spend your USD with your Cash App card, and buy and sell stocks. It is only available in the US.
The best Kraken alternative, in my opinion, is Coinbase Pro. It is easy to sign up and create an account, even if you live in the US, and it is also available to New York residents.
Verification takes a short time, and you can fund your account with a wire transfer and trade instantly (you will only be able to withdraw five days after your wire transfer). It supports a wide range of currencies and trading methods, and it has a sleek and intuitive mobile app.
You can also transfer assets to your Coinbase wallet instantly and use the Coinbase card to spend your crypto on everyday purchases.
Ben Levin is a Hubspot certified content marketing professional and SEO expert with 6 years of experience and a strong passion for writing and blogging. His areas of specialty include personal finance, tech, and marketing. He loves exploring new topics and has also written about HVAC repair to dog food recommendations. Ben is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in computer science, and his hobbies include motorcycling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai.