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

Anton Ioffe - January 8th 2024 - 6 minutes read

In the ever-evolving realm of cryptocurrency, choosing the right exchange can be pivotal to a trader's success and peace of mind. As we delve into 2024, two titans continue to dominate the conversation: Kraken, with its sturdy reputation and global reach, and Bithumb, an Asian powerhouse renowned for its local market dominance. In this comprehensive analysis, we'll pit these behemoths against each other across critical facets such as market position, cost efficiency, security robustness, and the overall trading experience. Join us as we dissect their offerings, juxtapose their strengths, and uncover the subtleties that could sway your decision on which platform, Kraken or Bithumb, might best align with your digital currency endeavors this year.

Understanding the Market Position: Kraken vs. Bithumb

Navigating the influential terrain of cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken and Bithumb stand as significant players, each with a unique stronghold in their respective markets. Kraken, based in the US, boasts a formidable arsenal of over 650 trading instruments, demonstrating its versatility with a multitude of EUR and GBP-denominated pairs in addition to the staples like BTC-USD and BTC-USDT. Its impressive volume, falling in league with industry giants, signals a favored spot among intermediate to advanced users, predominantly in the US and Europe. Kraken's aspiration for an IPO underscores its robust financial health, further bolstering its global market position.

Bithumb, on the other side, carves its eminence in the South Korean exchange market, where it strategically aims to disrupt Upbit's dominance by preparing for an IPO. Bithumb's volumes predominantly spring from altcoin transactions, a stark contrast to Kraken’s more Bitcoin and Ethereum-centric trade flow. Despite holding a smaller slice of the global trading volume compared to Kraken, Bithumb has recently shown a resurgence, doubling its market share within a short period—a testament to its local market influence and a harbinger of its rising international profile.

The two exchanges also cater to remarkably different customer demographics and liquidity needs. Kraken's expansive offerings resonate with a demographic seeking diversity beyond major cryptocurrencies, mirrored by its substantial presence in various jurisdictions. Bithumb's growth trajectory targets a concentrated regional user base with the KRW-denominated market at its core. While Bithumb offers nearly 250 trading pairs, a number comparable to Kraken’s, the depth of liquidity in each market and the geographical significance of each platform highlight the distinctive spaces they occupy within the complex ecosystem of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Fee Structures and Transaction Costs Comparison

Kraken and Bithumb adopt distinct fee structures that can affect traders differently depending on their activity level. Kraken is recognized for its competitive fees and employs a maker-taker fee schedule, which caters to varying levels of trading activity. Makers, by adding liquidity, often enjoy reduced rates as an incentive, while takers pay a premium to access this liquidity. For high-volume traders, the advantage is a potential for their fees to scale down appreciably, incentivizing large-scale transactions. This approach finds favor with a comprehensive range of users—from those who trade sporadically to the institutional investors engaging in substantial deals.

Conversely, Bithumb maintains a flat trading fee structure, setting the cost at 0.25% per transaction. This flat rate approach is straightforward, yet it doesn't benefit active or large-volume traders who could otherwise capitalize on scaled fees. Without distinction between makers and takers, Bithumb's system may discourage the especially active participants who contribute significant liquidity from engaging more fully, as the single-rate fee might outweigh the benefits of their heavier trading volume.

Funding accounts and withdrawals also incorporate additional fees, critical factors in the overall trading costs. Both exchanges offer a variety of deposit methods, including bank transfers and credit card facilities, though related fees are not uniform. Bithumb has updated its withdrawal fees to the industry norm, charging 0.001 BTC for Bitcoin transactions, which represents a reduction from earlier fees. However, users must remain meticulous regarding total cost impacts on their portfolios, considering all aspects of the exchanges' fee infrastructures—from trading expenses to ancillary charges.

Security Protocols and User Trust

When assessing the security protocols of Kraken and Bithumb, a keen eye on their historical track records can be illuminating. Kraken has long been seen as one of the industry's most secure platforms, having avoided significant breaches with their comprehensive security measures, including two-factor authentication, multi-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, and extensive cold storage of digital assets. It has become a benchmark for security in the industry, with a reputation for rigorously adhering to regulatory standards and prioritizing user safety.

Bithumb, on the other hand, boldly claims to house the "Most Secure System in the Industry," referencing their ISMS certification and adherence to the 5-5-7 regulation. With separate wallets and robust security solutions, Bithumb instills confidence among users, especially in the Asian market. However, the platform has faced criticism and setbacks from past security breaches, affecting its trust quotient. The commitment to improving governance and transparency, especially as Bithumb contemplates an IPO, showcases its efforts to repair and rebuild the exchange's credibility.

Both platforms demonstrate an acute awareness of the critical nature of security within the crypto exchange space, translating into user trust. Kraken's consistent security performance has consolidated its position among users valuing peace of mind when trading, while Bithumb's proactive strides towards enhanced security protocols and management transparency are pivotal in regaining user trust. Potential users should weigh these factors when deciding where to trade, recognizing that while no platform can guarantee absolute security, the presence of rigorous protocols and a history of their effective implementation are fundamental indicators of an exchange's trustworthiness.

Special Features, User Experience, and Customer Support

Kraken and Bithumb both offer an array of special features appealing to various types of cryptocurrency traders. Kraken's robust offering includes options for staking, which enables users to earn rewards by holding certain cryptocurrencies. Additionally, the platform has extensive facilities for margin trading and a diverse suite of derivative products, appealing to those looking for more sophisticated trading options. On the other hand, Bithumb makes its mark with a strong focus on altcoins, providing traders the feeling of exploring uncharted territories through early access to emerging tokens.

When it comes to user experience, both platforms present unique interfaces that cater to their audience segments. Kraken delivers a seamless experience with a sophisticated interface that houses advanced trading tools and analytics, designed for the more experienced traders seeking granular control over their trades. The exchange is known for its reliable real-time pricing and straightforward buy/sell processes. Conversely, Bithumb offers an interface that is highly intuitive, making it comfortable for new users while still providing all the necessary information such as order books, price charts, and trade histories. Despite the differences, both platforms maintain a balance between simplifying user experience and offering the depth needed for informed trading decisions.

Customer support is a vital aspect of a cryptocurrency exchange's service, and both Kraken and Bithumb strive to provide exemplary support. Kraken boasts a comprehensive support system with live chat, email, and phone assistance, ensuring that users can quickly find resolutions to their inquiries or issues. Bithumb also prioritizes customer service, offering assistance through similar channels. The responsiveness and availability of the support from both exchanges accentuate their commitment to user satisfaction, making it easier for traders to navigate the often complex landscape of cryptocurrency trading.


In this article, the cryptocurrency exchanges Kraken and Bithumb are compared across various aspects, including market position, fees, security protocols, and user experience. Kraken is known for its global reach and diverse offerings, catering to intermediate to advanced users, while Bithumb dominates the South Korean market with a focus on altcoin transactions. Kraken offers a maker-taker fee structure that benefits high-volume traders, while Bithumb maintains a flat trading fee that may discourage active participants. Both platforms prioritize security, with Kraken's robust measures and Bithumb's efforts to rebuild trust after past breaches. Kraken offers special features like staking and margin trading, while Bithumb focuses on altcoins. Overall, both exchanges prioritize user satisfaction with their customer support services.