Comparing Kraken vs bitFlyer in 2024. Which Cryptocurrency Exchange Is Better?

Anton Ioffe - January 8th 2024 - 6 minutes read

In the dynamic landscape of cryptocurrency trading, two behemoths, Kraken and bitFlyer, are vying for supremacy in 2024. As traders grapple with the pivotal decision of which exchange to entrust with their digital assets, this article presents an in-depth comparison that could tip the scales. Join us as we meticulously evaluate and contrast their security fortifications, scrutinize the nuances in fee structures, pit the diversity of their crypto offerings against each other, and measure the finesse of the user experience they provide. Whether a seasoned trader or a curious newcomer, prepare for a comprehensive showdown that may well influence your next strategic move in the crypto arena.

Security Measures and Compliance Standards

Both Kraken and bitFlyer have implemented robust security measures to ensure the safety of their users' funds and personal data. Kraken uses a variety of security protocols, including two-factor authentication and no single point of failure in their infrastructure to protect against internal threats and external breaches. Furthermore, Kraken has different tiers of verification for users, increasing security measures with each level. For instance, at Tier 2, home address verification is required, bolstering the exchange's compliance with international tax laws.

On the other hand, bitFlyer touts an impressive record for security, having never suffered a major hack. It enforces stringent password requirements, requiring a minimum of nine characters with complexity elements. Like Kraken, bitFlyer also utilizes two-factor authentication, offering an additional layer of security through the necessity of a second form of verification. Moreover, the exchange locks and times out accounts after periods of inactivity, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access. bitFlyer also takes advantage of multi-signature technology, demanding several keys for a transaction, which drastically reduces success chances for potential hackers.

As for compliance, both exchanges show a serious commitment to adhering to regulatory standards. bitFlyer was the first cryptocurrency exchange to gain licensing in Japan, the U.S., and the EU, ensuring its operations meet stringent legal criteria. Additionally, as a platinum member of the Japan Blockchain Association, bitFlyer aligns with rigorous trade restriction measures required by the association. In comparison, Kraken's adherence to compliance is highlighted by their tiered verification system, which aligns with international laws and security protocols, further solidified by their reputation for integrity through their long-standing presence in the industry. Both platforms encrypt user data with the highest industry standards, although it's worth noting that an independent crypto exchange security evaluator rated bitFlyer the lowest on cybersecurity among its peers. Despite this, both Kraken and bitFlyer showcase a staunch approach to security and compliance, ensuring user protection remains at the forefront of their operational ethos.

Fee Structures and Hidden Costs

Understanding the fee structures of Kraken and bitFlyer is paramount for traders considering which platform offers a more cost-efficient experience. Kraken's fees are relatively attractive, especially to high-volume traders; it scales down fees based on the account's trading volume, starting with a baseline of 0.2% for makers and 0.5% for takers. This could decrease significantly as trading activity increases; a notable drop to 0.02% is achievable for those who surpass $50,000 in trades, making it a potentially more lucrative choice for individuals trading high volumes. Despite this, Kraken also introduces a 1.5% fee for instant buys, which is something traders may want to be conscious of when seeking faster transactions.

bitFlyer, on the other hand, presents a more nuanced fee schedule. For regular transactions on their instant buy/sell platform, there are no direct fees. However, traders are subject to spread pricing fees ranging from 0.10% to a steep 6%, which vary by market conditions and can considerably inflate the cost of a trade. Moreover, while bitFlyer boasts zero fees on their Lightning Exchange for maker and taker trades below $50,000, the tiered fee structure kicks in beyond that threshold, rewarding higher trading volumes with lower fees much like Kraken. It’s important to note that bitFlyer's fee advantage is particularly strong against competitors in smaller transaction brackets due to its low entry costs.

When comparing the exchanges, traders must be aware of possible hidden costs beyond the apparent transaction fees. Kraken's charges for instant buys and bitFlyer's variable spread fees both demonstrate supplementary costs that might not be immediately evident. Additionally, the effectiveness of volume-based discounts is contingent on a trader’s investment capacity and frequency of trades. For those transacting in substantial volumes, Kraken's reductions could prove advantageous, whereas bitFlyer's enticing low-to-no upfront fee model may attract those executing less frequent or smaller trades. The true competitiveness of each platform is ultimately determined by individual trading behaviors and preferences, underscoring the importance of a thorough cost-benefit analysis.

Cryptocurrency Portfolio and Trading Options

Kraken and bitFlyer offer distinct collections of cryptocurrencies to cater to different investor profiles. Kraken, known for its extensive portfolio, provides access to approximately 130 crypto assets in the US, including a myriad of altcoins, stablecoins, and tokenized assets. This variety allows traders to diversify their portfolios and engage in various trading pairs across major and less established cryptocurrencies. bitFlyer, while maintaining a focus on the more established cryptos, lists around 11 different cryptocurrencies, targeting those who prefer trading in the realm of well-known and widely accepted digital currencies such as bitcoin and ether.

When it comes to trading options, Kraken stands out with its riskier and advanced trading features like margin trading and on-chain staking, catering to the needs of both novice and experienced investors. These additional tools offer leverage, potentially multiplying gains, but also increasing the risk of loss. Traders can benefit from these options if they are proficient in managing complex trading strategies and understand the associated risks. Conversely, bitFlyer positions itself as more accessible for beginners, with a straightforward fee-free spread-based basic platform and the bitFlyer Lightning Network for more active traders, albeit with fewer advanced options.

Both exchanges provide different avenues that are beneficial depending on the trader's approach and experience level. Kraken's vast selection and advanced trading capabilities offer a dynamic trading environment for those looking for breadth and depth in their trading experiences. In contrast, bitFlyer's simplified offerings are tailored to streamline the entry for new crypto enthusiasts and those preferring a focused and possibly less intimidating introduction into the world of cryptocurrency trading. This contrast presents a trade-off between the versatility and complexity of Kraken and the straightforward, narrowed focus of bitFlyer.

User Experience and Platform Performance

Navigating either Kraken or bitFlyer platforms, users will find distinct experiences tailored to varied preferences and skill levels. For beginners, bitFlyer offers a streamlined, intuitive interface that simplifies the buying and selling process, much as one would expect from a user-friendly stock trading application. Its dashboard is straightforward, allowing for quick access to account balances, transactions, and trading options, with a particular emphasis on guiding new users through Bitcoin and other supported cryptocurrencies trading. Conversely, Kraken embraces the needs of a wider user spectrum, providing an interface that's rich with information yet manageable. The platform not only caters to entry-level users with basic trade functionalities but also to seasoned traders who demand advanced tools and detailed analytical charts for strategic trading.

In terms of accessibility, both exchanges deliver mobile applications that extend the trading floor to the palms of users’ hands, ensuring on-the-go management of assets is as seamless as possible. The reliability of these apps reflects the commitment to responsive design and operational performance, but differences may emerge pertaining to platform uptime. Kraken has historically strived to fortify its system against outages, particularly during peaks of market volatility, ensuring users can trade without interruption. bitFlyer also boasts an efficient mobile experience, featuring dedicated sections for different cryptocurrencies, making the transition from desktop to mobile fluid for its user base.

When it comes to customer support, the role it plays in user experience cannot be overstated. Efficient, timely, and helpful customer service can significantly elevate the trading experience, especially when one encounters technical issues or requires guidance. Both Kraken and bitFlyer have leveraged help centers, live chat, email, and ticket systems to address customer queries. The robustness of these support channels and the speed at which they operate can vary, but it contributes to a comprehensive trading experience for users on both platforms, enabling beginner and expert traders alike to invest and trade with greater confidence.


In the comparison between cryptocurrency exchanges Kraken and bitFlyer in 2024, key takeaways include both platforms prioritizing security and compliance standards, with Kraken implementing two-factor authentication and tiered verification, while bitFlyer has never experienced a major hack and utilizes multi-signature technology. In terms of fees, Kraken offers volume-based fee reductions and charges for instant buys, while bitFlyer has a tiered fee structure and spread pricing fees. The exchanges also differ in cryptocurrency offerings, with Kraken offering a wider range of assets and advanced trading options, while bitFlyer focuses on more established cryptocurrencies. User experience and platform performance vary, with bitFlyer providing a streamlined interface for beginners and Kraken catering to a wider range of users with advanced tools and detailed charts. Both platforms offer mobile applications and customer support channels.