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Uphold vs. Kraken: What Works Better For Canadians in 2024

Oleg Galeev

Last updated May 25, 2024

In this comparison, we’ll be taking a detailed look at two widely recognized cryptocurrency exchanges, Uphold and Kraken. While both platforms offer a broad spectrum of cryptocurrencies and have a robust security infrastructure, differences in fee structures, feature offerings, and market restrictions could sway a user’s preference.

Description

Uphold is a multi-asset platform that allows you to trade more than 66 cryptocurrencies, 50 US stocks and four precious metals. You can trade crypto for stocks or stocks for crypto, instantly.

Kraken is a Canada-friendly, but US-based crypto exchange that has been operating since 2013. Kraken has a strong reputation due its security and compliance with US regulations. Kraken aims to accelerate mass adoption of cryptocurrency and offers a wide range of coins.

Coins

70+

90+

Fees

  • 1.8% spread on crypto for Canadians
  • 3% spread for precious metals
  • 1% spread for US equities
  • 3.99% credit card fee
  • $3.99 withdrawal fee to US/EU/UK banks
  • Free deposits from US/EU/UK banks
  • Free debit card purchases
  • nstant buy incurs a 1.5% fee (0.9% for stablecoins) plus: 
  • 3.75% and€0.25 card processing fee or,
  • 3.75% + €0.25 digital wallet processing fee or,
  • 0.5% online bank transfer fee

Pros

  • Wide range of cryptocurrencies
  • Trade stocks and precious metals 
  • Swap crypto for stocks or metal in seconds
  • Recurring buy/sell orders
  • 50 simultaneous Limit orders allowed
  • Free debit card purchases
  • Wide range of coins
  • High fees when not using Pro
  • Good for beginners
  • Free CAD deposits
  • Advanced tools with the Pro platform
  • Staking

Cons

  • High spreads
  • Uphold debit card not available to Canadians
  • Bank deposits/withdrawals not available for Canadians 
  • 3.99% credit card processing fee
  • Lack of search filters for equities
  • No Interac e-Transfer
  • Deposits can take 1-5 business days
  • Extremely high trading fees
  • Tend to freeze accounts for no apparent reasons
  • Slow support

Account Limits

Low

Low

Methods to buy

Debit card

  • Wire transfer
  • Debit card

Security

  • 95% of coins held in cold storage
  • Servers monitored 24/7 by armed guards
  • 2FA available
  • Confirm withdrawals via email
  • Fully Audited

Mobile and Desktop Trading

Uphold and Kraken both offer mobile apps, which are well-rated and appreciated for their user-friendliness. Kraken has two mobile apps: the regular Kraken app and Kraken Pro for experienced traders, both of which receive high ratings on App Store and Google Play. Similarly, Uphold's mobile app has been positively reviewed for its easy-to-use interface and smooth functionality. As for desktop trading, both platforms have intuitive and accessible designs, with Kraken Pro offering advanced features for seasoned traders.

Uphold

Uphold’s app has a 3.5-star rating from 5,000 reviews on the Apple App store and a 3.2-star rating from 18,000 reviews on Google Play. Some reviewers have said the app is slow and buggy, with the verification process being particularly slow.

Uphold is easy to use for beginners. There is a quick trade option called “Anything to Anything”. All you need to do is enter the asset you want to trade, the amount, and the asset you wish to swap it for. You can trade crypto to stocks, stocks to metal etc. in just a few clicks. 

Uphold desktop trading app screenshot

Uphold desktop app

Uphold mobile app screenshot

Uphold mobile app while trading

Reviewing Uphold crypto exchange app and asset types for trading

Uphold main screen app

Kraken

Kraken's app is well-designed and offers tools for both beginners as well as advanced tools for more experienced traders.

Kraken has an “Instant Buy” option, where users can purchase crypto in seconds with their card or from funds in their fiat wallet. Instant Buy, while convenient, incurs high fees. There is a standard purchase fee plus an additional fee depending on the method of payment. Still, the Instant Buy option is suitable for beginners and is easy to navigate.

Kraken Pro has more reasonable fees based on the maker/taker method. However, the interface could be confusing for beginners. It shows advanced charting and offers more trading tools and order types.

Kraken’s mobile app has a 4.5-star rating from 3000+ reviews on the Apple App Store and a 2.2-star rating from over 13,000 reviews on Google Play. A lot of users say the app has trouble loading, certain funding or purchase options are unavailable and it is generally not user-friendly.

Kraken desktop interface

Kraken desktop interface

Kraken Pro screenshot

Kraken Pro Trading view

Kraken app interface #1

Kraken app interface

Kraken app interface #2

Kraken app interface while trading

Security Compliance

To secure your Uphold account, you can enable two-factor authentication.

Uphold trading platform utilizes cold storage for your safety.

Kraken keeps 95% of users’ funds in cold storage. All account information is encrypted, their servers are locked in cages under 24/7 surveillance by armed guards. 

To help secure your Kraken account you can use two-factor authentication. You will receive an email notifying you of any withdrawal, and there is an account timeout for added protection.

Both Uphold and Kraken emphasize security. Uphold is certified by the CryptoCurrency Security Standard (CCSS) and keeps a majority of customer assets in offline storage. On the other hand, Kraken stores over 95% of its digital assets in cold storage and has high-security measures, including encrypted account information and server cages monitored by armed guards. Both exchanges also offer two-factor authentication.

Regulatory Compliance

Uphold is fully regulated in the USA. They are compliant with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and record keeping regulations with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). It's Canadian-friendly as well.

Kraken is fully compliant with US regulations. The exchange is independently audited to show that customers’ funds are properly held. Canadians can use the platform as well.

Uphold is compliant with Canadian federal laws. Kraken, while it operates worldwide, has certain services unavailable in Ontario due to the Ontario Securities Commission regulations. Thus, it appears that both platforms operate within their respective legal boundaries but may not be fully regulated by Canadian authorities.

Customer support

Uphold has good reviews about their customer service teams. They offer help centres on their website and within the app. 

You can contact Uphold’s customer support via their online ticketing system on their website. 

Kraken offers a 24/7 live chat and email support. It also offers a good amount of learning documentation and helpful articles on its website. Unfortunately, many people say Kraken has poor customer support with tickets taking a long time to be resolved if ever.

Uphold provides customer support via email and social media channels, but does not have a live chat feature. On the contrary, Kraken offers 24/7 live chat and email support and has a help center with useful articles for troubleshooting.

Conclusion

Although both Uphold and Kraken are reputable crypto exchanges offering a wide range of features, the winner here is Uphold. While Kraken offers a large array of cryptocurrencies and lower trading fees, its services are not fully accessible to all Canadians, and it imposes deposit and withdrawal fees. Uphold, on the other hand, offers a transparent fee structure and unrestricted access to its services for all Canadians, making it a more convenient choice overall.

We recommend choosing Uphold over Kraken for your cryptocurrency trading needs. By opting for Uphold through our referral link, you support us in conducting comprehensive independent analyses of crypto trading options for Canadians.

If you find that neither Uphold nor Kraken meets your requirements, we encourage you to explore our monthly-updated list of the best exchanges for Canadians to trade crypto. This list provides a range of alternative options that may better suit your specific needs and preferences.

Author

Oleg is a Canadian citizen & crypto expert who has been trading since 2016. He started out with Coinbase, Kraken and Peer-to-Peer exchanges. After some time, centralized exchanges started charging crazy fees to their users.

He decided to review different crypto exchanges that operate in Canada and start a Youtube channel in order to educate Canadians on what kinds of things are going inside each one while giving them unbiased advice. On top of that, Oleg also has experience with NFT, airdrops, and crypto staking and he is constantly checking on new crypto assets.

His writing has been featured in popular Canadian media sources such as Toronto Sun and Ottawa Citizen.