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At first sight, KuCoin may seem ideal if you are an experienced and active cryptocurrency trader. The exchange offers access to hundreds of tokens, as well as the ability to trade futures products and use margin. Combine all that with relatively low fees, and KuCoin can be an attractive choice as a cryptocurrency exchange.
But there are some issues that make it less than ideal for most US crypto investors, and especially those more at the beginning of the spectrum. KuCoin is not licensed to operate in the United States, which makes things unnecessarily complicated for most US crypto investors. For starters, KuCoin has historically not allowed US investors to buy crypto with US currency – although it has recently introduced a feature the exchange says: allows this, albeit with some hoops to jump through. Plus, user reviews skewed heavily negative.
KuCoin launched in 2017 and claims to be the “exchange of people”. The company is based in the Seychelles and is not subject to US regulations.
Here’s what you need to know about KuCoin.
Pros and Cons of KuCoin
Access to more than 500 coins
Free Tether (USDT) Coins When You Sign Up
Ability to bet for profit
Advanced trading options, including futures and the ability to trade on margin
Relatively low cost
Not licensed in the United States
US-based investors must already have crypto
Difficult to navigate for new crypto investors and traders
Bad reviews on Trustpilot
KuCoin at a glance
Centralized, so transactions go through a third party, which can add security Over 500 currencies available Maker-taker model with tiered fees up to 0.10% Free deposits but withdrawal fees Up to $500 in USDT (Tether) available for users after making an initial deposit or transfer of at least 50 USDTO offers margin trading and leveraged coin options, which you can use to multiply your returns by borrowing Provides a Trading Bot to automatically trade for you Ability to trade cryptocurrency futures Stake allows you to earn extra coinsMultiple opportunities to earn extra tokens through cloud mining, pooling and crypto lending
Cryptocurrencies available on KuCoin
KuCoin provides access to over 500 cryptocurrency tokens. Some of the more popular coins offered on KuCoin include:
Bitcoin (BTC)Ethereum (ETH)Litecoin (LTC)Bitcoin Cash (BCH)Solana (SOL)Polkadot (DOT)Polygon (MATIC)Cosmos (ATOM)Chainlink (LINK)Decentraland (MANA)
KuCoin also offers a variety of trading pairs, including those based on BTC and on KuCoin (KCS), the original coin of the KuCoin chain and exchange, as well as altcoin pairs. US dollar trading prices are actually based on Tether (USDT), a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar.
KuCoin has a layered system, using a maker-taker model for spot and futures trading. With spot trading, you don’t actually “buy” a cryptocurrency, but exchange something you already have for another coin. Usually you can choose a “limit” or “market” order. With a limit order, you trade when the cryptocurrency reaches a specific price. A market order is immediately executed at the current price. And with futures trading, you buy or sell an asset with a predetermined date and price.
In a maker-taker model, creators usually get a lower fee as they provide liquidity to the market by providing two sides to the trade. Buyers, on the other hand, are those who simply buy at market prices.
KuCoin’s tiered system, which runs from levels 0 to 12, is based on your holdings of KuCoin tokens or your 30-day trading volume, as expressed in BTC. When you level up, you pay smaller fees. In addition, you can get 20% off the trading fee when you pay the fee with KCS.
The highest fee you will pay for spot or futures trading is 0.16%. However, if you are a maker, you may qualify for negative fees at certain levels, rewarding you for providing liquidity.
KuCoin also offers a trading bot that you can set up to execute your trades. You can choose from Classic Grid, to sell high and buy low; DCA, or dollar cost averaging, where you regularly invest small amounts instead of a lump sum; Futures Grid, where you can profit from and go short if you expect a currency’s price to fall or go long if you expect it to rise; and Smart Rebalance, which rebalances your positions to maintain your portfolio percentages.
KuCoin does not charge a deposit fee, but when you withdraw your tokens from the exchange, you pay a fee based on the specific coin. You may also be subject to a minimum. Here are some examples of withdrawal fees based on the token you choose. Minimum amounts and rates may change based on price fluctuations.
TokenKuCoin feeMinimum withdrawal amountBTC0.0005 BTC0.0008 BTCETH0.00625ETH0.01ETHSOL0.01 SOL0.2 SOLLTC0.001 LTC0.002 LTC
KuCoin Exchange uses industry standard security protocols to protect accounts, and you can also set up two-factor authentication. Since KuCoin is not licensed to work in the US, you have to go through a process to use it US dollars, and you will not have protection for cash deposits through FDIC-insured accounts, as you can get at other mainstream exchanges such as Coinbase†
In 2020 KuCoin was the target of a hack in which there was a leak of the private keys associated with hot wallets. A number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH, were stolen at a cost of approximately $285 million. After the hacker stole the crypto, they were able to turn around and quickly sell coins on decentralized exchanges.
KuCoin CEO Johnny Lyu said: in a statement that users were refunded for the theft of $285 million, through the chargeback of $239.45 million through law enforcement and other exchange platforms, and $45.55 million from the company’s insurance. In addition, KuCoin says it has taken steps to reduce the chances of this happening again, including re-deploying hot wallets and updating risk management protocols.
Who is KuCoin best for?
KuCoin is best if you’re an advanced cryptocurrency trader who wants features you can’t get on an exchange like Coinbase or Gemini, including access to hundreds of altcoins not available on other exchanges.
For US based traders in particular, we think more mainstream platforms like Coinbase, Gemini or eToro are better bets.
KuCoin can be a good choice if you are a more advanced crypto investor looking to earn additional tokens by lending your crypto to others, as well as trading cryptocurrency futures and leveraged tokens. This exchange is not ideal for beginners, who have to get used to the interface, which is not intuitive, and for those who are not crypto enthusiasts.
Open an account with KuCoin
Opening an account is quite easy and you can do it on your phone or via email. Once you’ve set up a login and password and verified the account with a code, you’re done.
You can also verify your identity by going through a more involved process and providing documentation with the KYC verification feature. Once you complete these steps, you will gain access to higher withdrawal benefits and trading features that may not be available otherwise.
KuCoin compared to others
KuCoinCoinbaseBinance.UScoins500+ cryptocurrencies150+ cryptocurrencies65+ cryptocurrenciescostUp to 0.1%, depending on level 0.50% spread, fee between 1.49% and 3.99% (or a flat fee of $0.99 to $2.99) 0.1% trading fee; Can get 25% off your fee if you own Binance coinsWallet StorageStore coins on exchange, keep them in a hot wallet, or transfer them to your own walletMinimum tradeDepending on the token$2$10
Frequently Asked Questions
Can US Citizens Use KuCoin?
KuCoin is not licensed in the US. As a result, citizens may have restrictions on how much they can withdraw and how much leverage is available. In addition, KuCoin’s process for using US dollars is a bit more complicated than other mainstream exchanges. The US “currency” used on KuCoin is USDT, which is a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, and not the US fiat currency.
Is KuCoin Legitimate?
Yes, KuCoin is a legit cryptocurrency exchange. KuCoin uses standard encryption and offers two-factor authentication. The company says it has an insurance fund designed to cover losses from hacking, such as the loss related to the 2020 hack of KuCoin’s hot wallets.
Is KuCoin better than Coinbase?
Coinbase is regulated in the United States and cash deposits are protected by FDIC insurance, so you have more security and can use US dollars to buy crypto more easily. Coinbase is also easier for beginners to use but has a higher cost. KuCoin is not licensed in the US, so you may be more at risk and not be able to use US fiat currency as easily. However, you will see more features for advanced traders on KuCoin and access to a wider variety of altcoins.