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

Anton Ioffe - January 8th 2024 - 6 minutes read

In the tumultuous realm of digital currency, the choice of where to trade can be as crucial as the assets you hold. As we set sail through the competitive waters of cryptocurrency exchanges in 2024, two titans continue to stand out: Kraken and Bitstamp. In this deep dive, we'll navigate the robust trading features, compare the fortresses of security and public trust each platform has built, and weigh their treasure chests of assets against one another. But the voyage doesn't end there, as we'll also explore the lifeboats of customer support and the flags of community engagement that signal which exchange might be the worthy captain of your crypto journey. Chart a course with us as we dissect these digital galleons, providing insights that could well be the compass to your investment destinations.

Comparative Overview of Kraken and Bitstamp's Trading Features

Kraken and Bitstamp both offer trading interfaces catering to different levels of trader expertise, but they approach user experience quite distinctly. Kraken's platform is praised for its robust feature set that includes detailed charting capabilities, a variety of order types, and a user-friendly design, facilitating both simple and complex trading strategies. This makes it a solid choice for beginners and professionals alike. Beginners can navigate the basic trading interface with ease, while more advanced traders can use the professional suite, which includes margin trading and futures.

On the other side, Bitstamp's interface is notably streamlined and somewhat more oriented towards traders who appreciate simplicity and efficiency. The core of Bitstamp’s appeal lies in its integration with Tradeview, offering a professional-looking candlestick chart and plenty of analytical tools. However, the absence of margin trading may be seen as a limitation by those who seek to leverage their positions. This focuses the platform more towards straightforward purchase and sell orders rather than intricate trading strategies, potentially influencing traders who prioritize such features to look elsewhere.

The impact on users varies based on their trading needs and preferences. Kraken's comprehensive suite of tools can be overwhelming for newcomers but is a boon for those seeking in-depth analysis and varied trading options. Conversely, Bitstamp's more limited, but neater setup may appeal to traders who value a clutter-free and intuitive trading experience. Although limited in advanced features, it delivers a solid, focused trading experience which can be just the right fit for users looking for a no-nonsense approach to their trading endeavors. Both platforms thus attract different trader archetypes on the spectrum from novices to seasoned investors, emphasizing the importance of aligning platform choice with individual trading style and requirements.

Assessment of Security, Regulation, and Public Trust

When assessing the security measures of both Kraken and Bitstamp, one must closely consider their track records and responses to past breaches. Kraken distinguishes itself with a high security rating, ranking second on CER's crypto exchange security review site, and boasts a clean history with no major hacking events. The exchange underscores its security commitment, employing sophisticated measures such as two-factor authentication, SSL encryption, and comprehensive surveillance. However, it is not immune to criticisms, as there are anecdotal instances of compromised individual accounts, suggesting even robust platforms can be vulnerable at the user level.

Bitstamp, conversely, suffered a significant blow to its reputation due to a 2015 hack, resulting in a loss of over 19,000 Bitcoins. Since then, the exchange has instituted major security upgrades, reportedly storing 98% of funds in cold storage and enhancing its digital asset protection strategies. While these efforts signify a pivotal shift towards prioritizing security, the historical incident still casts a shadow over its image, which Bitstamp has worked diligently to repair, bolstering user trust through transparency and indemnification of affected users.

Both Kraken and Bitstamp exhibit compliance with regulatory standards, albeit not without ambiguities. Kraken's base in San Francisco implies adherence to stringent US regulations, though details of such compliance are sparse. Bitstamp similarly advocates for regulatory adherence and earns confidence through annual audits by a "Big Four" accounting firm, emphasizing a commitment to legality and financial transparency. These measures are crucial in an industry beleaguered by regulatory scrutiny, with both exchanges striving to navigate the complexities of international financial legislation to offer secure and compliant cryptocurrency trading environments.

Understanding Fees, Liquidity, and Asset Diversity

Kraken's fee structure is notably more intricate, offering a tiered system that rewards higher volume traders with lower fees. This model provides an incentive for liquidity providers, often referred to as "makers," by giving them reduced charges compared to "takers," those who take liquidity away from the market. In contrast, Bitstamp applies a flat fee schedule without differentiation between makers and takers, which could potentially result in less liquidity as there's less incentive to provide large order volumes. The absence of a maker discount means traders on Bitstamp might face wider bid/ask spreads, inadvertently raising the cost of trading when market conditions are volatile.

Liquidity is a cornerstone in the evaluation of a trading platform as it affects the speed and stability with which an investor can enter or exit positions. Kraken, with its depth in liquidity pools, generally offers tighter spreads and more substantial volume, facilitating large trades without notable price slippage. Bitstamp, while reliable, often trails in terms of liquidity when compared to Kraken. This can particularly impact traders looking to execute larger trades or operate in less common trading pairs, as the likelihood of slippage increases in markets with thin order books.

Moreover, the assortment of cryptocurrencies available for trading on an exchange can heavily influence an investor's decision. Kraken boasts a broad range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and over 14 other coins, with plans to add more, showcasing its commitment to providing a diverse trading environment. Bitstamp, on the other hand, offers a more conservative selection with major players like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. This limited choice could be a hindrance for traders aiming to dive into less mainstream altcoins or those betting on the potential of emerging cryptocurrencies. The exchange's hesitance to rapidly expand its currency offerings reflects a cautious approach, which may be appealing to a certain segment of traders prioritizing stability over variety.

Evaluating Customer Support and Community Engagement

When evaluating customer support, Bitstamp has historically been commended for its customer-first approach, especially during crisis management following a significant wallet hack. This incident showcased Bitstamp's commitment to its users, as it ensured no customer funds were lost. The platform's support team maintains a considerable presence on social media platforms, including Reddit, where they actively engage with users and address individual concerns. This responsiveness to customer complaints and direct communication on social channels underscores Bitstamp's strong focus on customer care.

On the other hand, Kraken's customer support has faced scrutiny for slower response times, which has been a common grievance among users. While Kraken's team is indeed accessible via social media and they do eventually address user inquiries, the delay in communication can be a source of frustration for customers who expect prompt assistance. However, it is important to acknowledge the scale of operations for an exchange like Kraken and the challenges it imposes on timely customer service.

Both Bitstamp and Kraken make efforts in community building; Bitstamp employs a proactive support model to effectively address and publicly resolve user issues, showcasing their transparent customer relations. Kraken, in spite of feedback about response times, maintains avenues like social media for user interaction. The importance of active community engagement is front and center for both, playing a pivotal role in user experience—a factor customers should consider when selecting their preferred cryptocurrency exchange.


In this article comparing Kraken and Bitstamp as cryptocurrency exchanges in 2024, key takeaways include the analysis of their trading features, with Kraken offering a comprehensive suite of tools suited for both beginners and professionals, while Bitstamp focuses on simplicity and efficiency. In terms of security, Kraken has a higher rating and no major hacking events, while Bitstamp has made significant security upgrades since a 2015 hack. The fee structure and liquidity differ, with Kraken offering a tiered system and higher liquidity, while Bitstamp has a flat fee schedule and potentially less liquidity. The asset diversity also varies, with Kraken offering a wider range of cryptocurrencies compared to Bitstamp. Lastly, customer support is strong for both exchanges, with Bitstamp praised for its customer-first approach and direct communication, while Kraken has faced criticism for slower response times. Community engagement is emphasized by both exchanges, playing a crucial role in user experience.