UK Investor Education

Exchange risks 


Kraken allows clients to trade cryptoassets. It is not liable for any client trading losses nor the performance of any cryptoasset on the platform. 


Cryptoassets on the platform are reviewed by Kraken prior to making them available for trading. In conducting its review, Kraken generally considers the factors listed in the Due Diligence section of Cryptocurrency Asset Statements, available here. The fact that any particular cryptoasset is available for trading on Kraken is not an endorsement of the merits of that cryptoasset. Cryptoassets are still generally considered a high risk investment and you need to conduct your own due diligence before investing. Conduct your own research to understand the nature of any cryptoasset you wish to invest in and the risks associated with it.


Kraken does not guarantee an asset will deliver on any of its claims. Kraken’s marketing materials that feature a symbol or logo for a particular cryptoasset may mean this cryptoasset is available to trade on Kraken, but does not mean Kraken recommends this particular cryptoasset as a good investment.


A particular cryptoasset’s availability on multiple exchanges only means that it is available to trade on a number of platforms. It does not necessarily mean that it is a good investment.


Some clients of now-insolvent cryptoasset firms have suffered the complete loss of the cryptoassets they held on that platform. If the cryptoasset platform on which you hold cryptoassets goes bankrupt or insolvent, you might lose those cryptoassets.


Handling risks of cryptoassets 


Assets held on the Kraken platform are held in custody by Kraken. Cryptoassets held in custody are not immune to risk from cyber attacks, which may result in the loss of your cryptoassets.


Kraken invests heavily in the security features of its platform. However, Kraken is still subject to operational, technological and cyber risks. These could lead to adverse scenarios in which you may not be able to access your cryptoassets. Any cyber attack on any cryptoasset platform you use would subject you to such risk.

In addition, there are operational risks in using cryptoassets. If you use Kraken to make a transfer of cryptoassets to another wallet you control, but enter the crypto wallet address incorrectly or select the wrong asset (e.g., send bitcoin to an ether wallet address), you are fully liable for the fact that these cryptoassets may be lost permanently.


Similarly, If you withdraw from your Kraken wallet to a wallet you self custody, the safety and security of your wallet’s seed phrase or private key is your sole responsibility. If you lose it, your assets may never be recoverable.

Cryptoasset firms in the U.K. are not in scope of the Financial Ombudsman Service. Victims defrauded out of cryptoassets may never be able to recover any associated losses.


Regulatory risk


You should be fully aware of the regulatory status of any cryptoasset firm you use. Kraken is registered with the FCA as a cryptoasset firm. Kraken is not authorised to, and will not, give investment advice to anyone. No protection is provided for any losses incurred while trading cryptoassets on Kraken.


The assets held with Kraken are not covered by investor protection schemes and the Financial Ombudsman Service will not assist in disputes with Kraken. If Kraken were to declare bankruptcy you might not receive any of your investment capital held on the Kraken exchange back.


Cryptoassest trading is an unregulated service in the U.K. and your trading profits might be subject to capital gains tax. You are responsible for calculating and paying any taxes due from trading cryptoassets. 


Market and investment risks of cryptoassets 


Investing in and trading cryptoassets are high-risk investment activities and you must understand the risks prior to investing. 


You can sell your cryptoassets only when liquidity is available in the market and the market is operational. If Kraken’s platform services go down, you will only be able to buy or sell cryptoassets when the platform is back up, and prices may have changed during the downtime.


If there are no buyers in the market for a particular cryptoasset, you will not be able to sell it. Similarly, if the the nearest buy or sell order is far from the current price, your trading returns may be adversely affected. 


If a cryptoasset has risen in price dramatically in the last 24 hours, the asset could fall by even more than it had previously risen over the following 24 hours. Previous performance is not an indicator of future performance and any cryptoasset could increase or decrease in price in the future.


Even given a long timeframe, no cryptoasset is guaranteed to increase in price compared to current levels. Investing in the largest or most popular cryptoasset is still a high-risk investment. You should not invest in cryptoassets if you do not understand the risks associated with them. 


Investment strategy risk

When investing in cryptoassets, you should only invest money you can afford to lose. Diversifying your investment portfolio is important and means spreading your investments across different opportunities to reduce risk.


The FCA has categorised cryptoassets as high-risk investments, whereas stocks traded on the stock market are not classified in this way. The FCA suggests that retail investors should not invest more than 10% of their net assets in high risk investments. There is no guaranteed level of returns and you might lose all of your invested funds.


Asset-specific risks

Different cryptoassets carry different risks. Please see our cryptocurrency asset statements page for the risks associated with each asset.

These specific risks include but are not limited to:


  • The risk of ‘stablecoins’ depegging from the price of the fiat currency they were intended to track in price.
  • The risk of ‘physically backed cryptoassets’ depegging from the price of the asset they intend to track in price. 
  • The risk of investing in a cryptoasset linked to a company, network or protocol no longer being used and losing its value.