KuCoin is one of the largest and best known of the cryptocurrency exchanges, as it’s been serving its clients and providing excellent service since launching in August 2017. There’s little surprise that traders like the exchange as it offers access to over 200 different cryptocurrencies, and more than 400 separate markets.
In addition to that it also sports very low fees, a platform interface that’s suitable for pros and beginners, bank level security, and a number of other services that can be difficult to find elsewhere. These include futures and margin trading, crypto purchases using credit and debit cards, instant exchange, peer-to-peer exchange, lending and staking services, its own utility cryptocurrency, initial exchange offerings for new projects, and even more!
Traders particularly like KuCoin because they tend to list some of the smaller cap cryptocurrencies that have massive potential upside. They also appreciate the wide variety of coins on offer, and the opportunity to earn and save on fees through the KuCoin Shares (KCS) tokens.
If you want to find out about how KuCoin stacks up against other major exchanges, feel free to check out our:
Page Contents 👉
- 1 KuCoin Features
- 2 KuCoin Background
- 3 Opening A KuCoin Account
- 4 KuCoin KYC Verification
- 5 KuCoin Fees Overview
- 6 What Are KuCoin Tokens (KCS)?
- 7 KuCoin Design and Usability
- 8 KuCoin Futures
- 9 Margin Trading
- 10 P2P Fiat Trading
- 11 KuCoin Fast Buy
- 12 KuCoin Earn
- 13 KuCoin Spotlight IEO Platform
- 14 KuCoin Security
- 15 KuCoin Customer Support
- 16 Conclusion
As mentioned above KuCoin has grown to one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, and it boasts that 1 out of every 4 cryptocurrency holders in the world is with KuCoin. In order to service all those clients (sover 6 million and counting), KuCoin has developed quite an impressive suite of tools and features. Below is a list of a number of those features:
- Buy and sell over 200 cryptocurrencies. As one of the top global cryptocurrency exchanges, KuCoin offers a large array of cryptocurrencies.
- Low fees. KuCoin has some of the lowest trading fees, even before the bonuses and discounts available.
- Buy crypto with fiat currencies, including USD, EUR, CNY, GBP, CAD, AUD. Altogether KuCoin lets you buy cryptocurrencies with more than 50 fiat currencies in a variety of ways that include debit and credit cards.
- Excellent customer support. Clients can get support via several channels 24/7.
- Bank-level security. KuCoin has a number of security measures in place to keep accounts and assets secure from attacks and hackers.
- Futures and margin trading. Kucoin was one of the first exchanges to offer margin trading and futures.
- Earn cryptocurrency. Kucoin offers lending and staking services that allow you to earn yield on your cryptocurrencies.
- Intuitive, beginner-friendly platform. The KuCoin trading platform was designed to make it as easy as possible for beginning traders.
- Robot trading. Automate your trading and benefit from markets 24/7, even while you’re sleeping.
- Optimized for mobile trading. KuCoin knows cryptocurrency traders are also active and on the go. They support this with fully functional mobile apps.
In short, KuCoin is an ideal exchange for traders of all levels and trading styles. Besides offering a wide variety of coins and tokens, traders can also enjoy futures trading and margin. Liquidity is high, which keeps spreads tight, and fees are always low. Plus, KuCoin doesn’t insist on KYC checks on users, making it an excellent choice for those who are conscious of their privacy.
KuCoin was launched in August 2017, but has a long history going back to 2011, which is when the founding team members first began working with the then budding blockchain technology. The actual architecture of the platform was designed back in 2013, but the team held off on launching for years, until they were able to polish KuCoin into the best version of itself.
Once launched, KuCoin branded itself as “The People’s Exchange” due to its heavy emphasis on user experience. Right after its launch KuCoin raised funds for ongoing development via an ICO that ran from August 13, 2017 through September 1, 2017.
The ICO was for the KuShares token, which uses the ticker symbol KCS. That utility token is used on the exchange as a way to share exchange profits, to access trading discounts and bonuses, and to receive special offers. It can also be staked to earn yield. The ICO was very successful, raising $20 million worth of BTC and the exchange issued 100 million KCS.
From those humble beginnings KuCoin has grown to a global powerhouse, employing more than 300 employees all across the globe.
After the 2017 launch the year of biggest change and progress for KuCoin was in 2019 when it upgraded to the current 2.0 version of its platform. That occurred in February of 2019 and it was a great way for KuCoin to kick off the year. The upgrade to 2.0 included a new API, advanced order types, a cleaner interface, and many other upgrades. However the improvements of 2019 didn’t stop there.
June 2019 is when KuMEX, now rebranded to KuCoin Futures, was launched. That went over so well that the exchange also launched margin trading with 10x leverage later in the year.
KuCoin continued growing and improving right into 2020. It added the Pool-X Liquidity Market, allowing traders to stake coins and earn yield, and also added KuCloud as a white label solution for others to create a world-class cryptocurrency exchange, however the service has since been discontinued.
Other successful feature launches in 2020 included an instant exchange service that made exchanging cryptocurrencies much easier for beginners. And during the entire time KuCoin was also busy adding new coins and support for new fiat currencies. Also making buying crypto easier was the start of the P2P marketplace in June 2020, the acceptance of purchases via Paypal, and the addition of allowing crypto purchases with debit and credit cards.
Thanks to its growth over the years KuCoin now has customers all around the world and provides its services in nearly all the countries of the world, including Australia, Canada, Japan, the U.K., India, Singapore, and many, many others. And to help support all the clients in all those countries KuCoin offers its website in 19 different languages, including of course English, but also various European languages, several southeast Asian languages, Russian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Hindi, and Arabic.
Now that you know the basics and history of KuCoin let’s move on to the details. The rest of the review will have a closer look at the various features of the platform, how to open an account and trade, the KCS token, and more.
Opening A KuCoin Account
Naturally if you want to trade through KuCoin the very first thing you need to do is to open an account. It’s really simple too, and won’t take up much of your time.
Begin by navigating to the KuCoin website. In the upper right corner you’ll see several buttons. One says ‘English’ and you can click that to change the website language, but the one we’re really interested in right now is the one that says ‘Sign Up’. Click that and you’ll be taken to the registration page for KuCoin, which as you can see below is downright simple.
Also note that you have the option of signing up using either a mobile phone number or your email address. The image above shows the mobile phone number sign up, but you can click to ‘Email’ if you prefer and sign up using your email address too.
Both methods are the same. Enter either your mobile number or your email address and click the green button to the right to send a verification code. Once you have that go ahead and enter it into the form along with a password of your choice, and add a referral code if you have one. Then click the green ‘Sign Up’ button at the bottom of the form.
If everything was entered correctly in the form that’s all it takes. You’ll be logged into your new KuCoin account and welcomed to the platform. You can go ahead and either buy some cryptocurrencies using a debit or credit card or other approved methods, or you can deposit some of your own cryptocurrency from an outside wallet if you like and get right to trading. Literally within seconds. We don’t know very many cryptocurrency exchanges that have you registered and ready to trade so quickly.
Once you’ve added coins to your account you should probably take a few minutes to secure your account by entering the “Account Security” section of your profile and setting up two-factor authentication, the various anti-phishing phrases, and a trading password that’s different from your login password.
You might also want to begin the KYC process at this time. While KYC is not required to trade with KuCoin, it does give some benefits such as increased withdrawal limits, increased trading limits, and the ability to use the fiat-to-crypto exchange service offered by KuCoin. The exchange also recommends completing the KYC process to speed up account recovery in the event that you forget your login credentials, or if the account would become compromised.
KuCoin KYC Verification
Since November 1, 2018 KuCoin has had a KYC verification process in place to help combat against money laundering and global terrorism. This KYC verification is completely optional at KuCoin, and you are able to deposit, trade, and withdraw even if you don’t complete it. In fact, most small traders won’t need to complete the KYC verification process because the withdrawal and trading limits on an unverified account are high enough that it won’t present a problem.
As you can see there are three verification levels for your KuCoin account.
- Unverified – This is the basic level account created as soon as you register. All that’s required is a valid email address or mobile phone number.
- KYC1 – This is the basic KYC verification level and requires you submit the ID number of your government issued ID such as a drivers license or passport. While it doesn’t increase your withdrawal limit it does give you access to fiat-crypto exchange services.
- KYC2 – Increases the withdrawal and trading limits significantly. Requires the upload of the front and back of your ID document. In addition it requires you provide a photo with your identity document (including portrait photo) and a handwritten note paper marked with a signature、 dynamic code generated specifically for your account along with the date held by hand and ensuring your face and the identity information are clear and recognizable.
In addition to these verification levels there is also the ability for companies to create an institutional account.
While KYC verification is not required by KuCoin, it is recommended as the KYC information is used in the event a client needs to recover their account for any reason. It is also a requirement for fiat-to-crypto exchange and fiat-to-crypto trading once it becomes available.
Since June 2020 KuCoin has partnered with the crypto surveillance and chain-analytics firm Chainalysis in order to provide even greater compliance and security.
KuCoin Fees Overview
One of the first factors traders are concerned with when choosing an exchange is the fees they will have to pay to trade. Since these fees are levied on each individual trade they can add up quite quickly. The great news is that KuCoin has some of the lowest fees to be found among major cryptocurrency exchanges. Plus the fee structure is transparent, straight-forward, and easy to understand so there’s no question about what you’ll pay in fees.
The most used feature is spot trading so the first set of fees we’ll cover are the spot trading fees. As you can see from the chart below the fees for trading when just starting out are going to be 0.1% for both makers and takers. However you can lower those fees in several ways.
One is through your 30 day trading volume. Another way, which is pretty easy, is by simply holding KCS tokens for a minimum of 30 days. And you can also use those KCS tokens to pay for your fees, in which case you get a significant fee discount.
There’s also the institutional investor accounts that were mentioned above, where organizations can get significant trading discounts.
Traders have found that the basic KuCoin fees compare favorably with other major exchanges, even before any discounts are applied. For example the fees are the same as those charged by Binance, and the discounts are also similar. KuCoin’s 0.1% fee is just half that of Bittrex, and it is very close to the fees at Poloniex. HitBTC does have a smaller basic fee of 0.07%, but that doesn’t begin to account for the discounts possible at KuCoin.
The fees for trading futures at KuCoin are also quite competitive and come with discounts based on 30-day trade volume, or holding KCS tokens for a minimum of 30 days as you can see from the chart below:
When it comes to futures funding fees, KuCoin Futures has adjustable The USD/USDT lending rate, as they adjust for the relative funding rates and can be either positive or negative.
With this adjustment, the lending rate gap between the base currency and quote currency of the perpetual futures funding rate will shift from 0.030% to 0%, which means the funding fee of the perpetual futures of KuCoin will become 0 during normal periods. KuCoin Futures funding occurs every 8 hours at 04:00, 12:00, and 20:00 UTC.
The final fees to consider are the deposit and withdrawal fees at KuCoin. Deposits are free, with no fees no matter what currency is being used. However there are fees for withdrawing cryptocurrencies, which varies based on which crypto is being withdrawn. These fees are basically due to the network fees imposed by the various cryptocurrencies. Both NEO and GAS are free to withdraw.
Because the withdrawal fees are tied to the network fees you’ll note that in most cases withdrawal fees on KuCoin match those on Binance. The listings above are just a small selection of the coin withdrawal fees. You can see the full list here.
One final consideration is for those who might consider purchasing cryptocurrencies using fiat currencies. KuCoin supports several methods for doing so, which includes their Fast Buy feature, P2P, and integrations with Simplex and the like. The fees on these transactions are going to vary based on the chosen method of payment, but in all cases should not exceed 7%.
Fees can also vary on a daily basis based on network traffic for the given crypto. Simplex typically charges a 3.5% fee, while Baxa is said to add 4-6% to the transaction amount. Purchases made on the P2P market place will incur fees that depend entirely on the payment method and processor rates, so potential P2P users need to keep this in mind when using that particular platform to buy or sell cryptocurrencies.
Taken altogether KuCoin is one of the cryptocurrency exchanges with the lowest available trading fees. The biggest competitor in terms of fees appears to be Binance, and in comparison the two have very similar fee structures, whether you’re talking about spot trading, futures, or withdrawal fees. Both also offer additional discounts for those holding their native utility tokens, and those discounts are very similar as well.
What Are KuCoin Tokens (KCS)?
As we mentioned above, KuCoin Tokens (KCS) are the native utility cryptocurrency of the KuCoin exchange. They were issued in an ICO that was used to fund the future development of the exchange after it was launched in August 2017.
In total there were 200 million KCS created and either sold to investors or issued to the founders and early private investors in the exchange. The funds issued to the founders and early investors were subject to 2 or 4 year lockup periods and the four year lockup ends on September 2, 2021.
Note that KuCoin Tokens were initially released as KuCoin Shares, but were rebranded in January 2021 to align with the upgrade of the KCS Smart Contract. Other than the name change very little changed and the KCS token still enables holders to enjoy a number of benefits.
KCS holders get to enjoy the all following benefits:
- Receive daily cryptocurrency dividends, which account for 50% of the collected trading fees.
- Get a trading fee discount (min. 1000 KCS for 1% discount; max 150,000 KCS for 95% discount). The system takes a snapshot of users’ KCS holdings daily at 00:00 (UTC +8) to calculate the applicable discount rate.
- More trading pairs, including BTC, ETH, LTC, USDT, XRP, NEO, EOS, CS, GO.
- Experience exclusive KCS holder perks and offers.
The holders of KCS tokens earn a portion (50%) of all the profits made daily by the exchange through staking. For example, if you hold and stake 10,000 KCS, and KuCoin collects 20 BTC in trading fees (0.1% of daily trading volume), you would receive 0.001 BTC converted to KCS per day (20 * 50% * (10000/100000000)). Note that it is required to hold a minimum of 6 KCS and you must also bind Google verification or phone number.
Users can also profit by referring people to KuCoin. When they deposit and trade you receive 20% of their trading fees as a bonus for the life of the member referred.
All together, the bonuses offered by KuCoin return 90% of the trading fees back to the community.
KuCoin Design and Usability
KuCoin’s trading platform was designed with ease of use in mind. Whether you’re an experienced crypto trader or brand new you’ll find that the platform is straight-forward and easy to understand. And that extends to every part of KuCoin’s website and account interface. It even extends to the support and FAQ pages.
In addition, the trading platform uses an advanced trading engine that’s capable of handling millions of transactions per second. KuCoin has also kept its older trading interface live, allowing you to switch between the two and choose the one you prefer. It’s like getting two trading platforms.
While there are several ways to trade and earn at KuCoin the most important and most heavily used remains the spot trading platform seen above. This is where you go to trade and exchange over 200 different cryptocurrencies, hoping to make a profit on each exchange and paying fees of just 0.1% or less.
Making a trade is downright simple too. Start by clicking the ‘Markets’ tab at the top of the website. This will take you to the full list of trading pairs available at KuCoin. There you can scroll through the list, or use the search function to find a specific pair. Clicking on the pair takes you to the platform interface, with the charts and order book.
The trading charts are provided by TradingView and include many advanced technical analysis tools. In addition to the trading tools you can also see all of the following information in the trading screen:
- Order placing window for buying (green) and selling (red). At the moment, KuCoin supports Limit, Market, Stop Limit, and Stop Market orders. Also, you can specify extra order characteristics such as Post-Only, Hidden, or Time In Force (Good Till Cancelled, Good Till Time, Immediate Or Cancel, and Fill or Kill) according to your trading tools and strategy.
- Markets window, which helps you to switch between different trading pairs in seconds. Markets with 10x mark are also available in KuCoin’s margin trading.
- Order book with all current buy and sell orders.
- Recent trades window where you can choose to see the most recent trades in the market or market’s depth.
- Your open orders, stop orders, order history, and trading history.
While the trading platform does look extremely busy and can be confusing to new traders who are unfamiliar with this type of trading interface, anyone who has any trading experience should be able to quickly find their way around the platform. New traders can spend some time investigating the different functions and features available and should also be able to figure things out pretty quickly.
The trading platform is both powerful and intuitive, and for those who prefer trading while on the go there’s also a mobile app available for both Android and iOS devices. You can easily download it and it will synch with your account, so any orders placed while using the web-based version will also show up in the mobile app.
KuCoin launched its futures platform as KuMEX in mid-2019 and later rebranded it to the more easily recognizable KuCoin Futures. On it users are able to trade a number of margined contracts, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and BNB with leverage that goes as high as 100x.
It also allows for shorting, which is very handy in bear markets. The platform comes in both a Lite version for beginning futures traders and a Pro version for those with more experience.
The Pro Futures platform not only provides additional insights into the futures markets and a more powerful trading and analysis interface, it also gives traders access to over 50 perpetual futures contracts on a wide variety of coins and tokens.
KuCoin Futures calculates the underlying spot price using the weighted price average from other exchanges like Kraken, Coinbase Pro, and Bitstamp.
The Futures Brawl is a promotion that began in August 2020. It’s become increasingly popular and as of April 2021 it is possible to win an iPhone 12 and 1 BTC if you become the Brawl champion.
It’s a pretty easy concept. You first decide how many USDT you’re going to wager in the brawl and then choose to go Long or Short on the price of Bitcoin. The system matches you with an opponent and you win points if you were right and win nothing if you’re wrong. The number of points increases for larger wagers, and it also increases when you’re on a win streak.
You can brawl once a day and there’s even a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ that you can spin each day for an extra points boost.
Margin trading is one of the other excellent features you’ll get when trading with KuCoin. This will allow you to go long or short more than 100 different pairs with leverage as great as 10x. That means you can control $10,000 worth of coin with just $1,000 of your own capital. Margin pairs are identified on the platform by the small green ‘10x’ sign next to the trading pair. You can also filter the list of pairs to show only pairs that allow margin trading.
Unlike the futures contracts the margin pairs trade on the spot market. The platform allows you to select margin trading pairs and trade orders with margin directly on the exchange. You are required to enable margin trading and agree to KuCoins terms and conditions before placing any margin trades.
P2P Fiat Trading
The P2P marketplace is another excellent service provided by KuCoin that allows users to maintain even more anonymity by trading off exchange with other individuals. The marketplace allows for buying and selling BTC, ETH, USDT, KCS and USDC directly with other users.
The marketplace supports a number of payment methods, although the most popular by far are ACH transfer and Paypal. The marketplace also supports a wide variety of currencies including USD, CAD, and CNY. One downside to the P2P marketplace is that users are required to complete KYC verification on their KuCoin account before using it, which sort of defeats the privacy aspect of a P2P marketplace. That could be why we saw so few orders posted there.
KuCoin Fast Buy
If you don’t want to be bothered with the intricacies of the trading platform you can still use KuCoin to do exchanges using the Fast Buy feature. This is more like a broker than an exchange and users can quickly and easily purchase BTC, ETH, and USDT with low fees.
Over a dozen popular fiat currencies are accepted and users are able to take their purchased cryptocurrencies and transfer them to the KuCoin platform to trade, or they can simply send them to their own wallet if they prefer.
KuCoin has a number of programs that can be used to safely lend or stake coins and earn yield rather than simply having the coins sitting idle in a wallet. We’ve already mentioned that users holding KCS on the exchange earn daily rewards for doing so, but there are three other earning programs offered. These are KuCoin Lend, Pool-X, and Soft Staking. Let’s have a closer look at each, because after all, who doesn’t like passive income.
Like the name implies this program lets you earn interest on your digital assets by lending them out to help fund margin trading on the platform. Currently there are 68 different coins that can be lent out and when we looked the annualized interest rate was as high as 73% for many of the coins, however USDT had loans with annualized rates as high as 730%!
While that sounds absurd, we haven’t heard any stories of people losing their coins by lending, so this might be a good source of passive income. Terms on the loans can run for 7 days, 14 days, or 28 days.
Pool-X is what you would think of as a staking pool, but KuCoin considers it to be the next generation staking pool. It’s designed to provide liquidity services for staked tokens and pays out excellent yields on many staking tokens such as EOS, TRX, ATOM, and many more. In total there are 37 coins available for staking rewards.
Pool-X is fueled by Proof of Liquidity (POL), a decentralized zero-reservation credit issued on TRON’s TRC-20 protocol.
Soft Staking is actually a component of Pool-X and it allows users to earn yield by simply holding a number of different coins and tokens. Payments are made daily, and the platform is extremely flexible and easy to use.
Plus the minimum holdings are small enough that anyone can participate. Most yields run between 1-10%, but there are some providing much larger annual yields. For example, when we were looking HYDRA was expected to pay out 147% to 180% annually with a minimum of just 1 HYDRA.
KuCoin Spotlight IEO Platform
Like some other large exchanges KuCoin has also gotten into the business of offering new tokens in the form of Initial Equity Offerings (IEO). It calls the platform KuCoin Spotlight. Unfotunately back in mid-2020 the Securities and Exchange Commission in the U.S. warned investors against participating in IEOs and since then the KuCoin Spotlight platform hasn’t been so very busy.
There was an offering in April 2021 so maybe KuCoin has found a way to offer tokens again without getting on the bad side of the SEC. Since it was formed the platform has launched a number of tokens successfully, with the latest being Polkadex.
Users must have a verified account to participate in the IEOs and the offerings use KCS tokens as the primary crowdsale currency.
KuCoin had an excellent security track record, right up until September 25, 2020 when the exchange was hit for $285 million worth of cryptocurrencies in the largest exchange hack ever. Here’s exactly what was taken:
The good news is that as of February 2021 KuCoin said they had recovered all but $45 million worth of the tokens that were stolen.
The hackers have been using mixing services and DeFi protocols to attempt to cover their trail, but many of the tokens were still able to be traced, and this allowed KuCoin and other exchange partners to recover the majority of the tokens. As of April 2021 the remaining tokens in the hands of the hacker or hackers are still on the move.
Even more good news is that thanks to the insurance held by KuCoin, they were able to reimburse all of the users who were affected by the hack, so no one other than the insurance company is out any funds.
The hack aside, KuCoin does use a broad mix of security procedures and protocols at the system and operational levels. The exchange is constructed according to financial industry standards and best practices for encryption technology. And on the operational side the exchange has a number of control departments in place who constantly monitor activity on the platform to ensure it remains secure.
Users can also help with security by securing their accounts in the following ways:
- Two-factor authentication.
- Security questions.
- Anti-phishing safety phrase.
- Login safety phrase.
- Trading password.
- Phone verification.
- Email notifications.
- Restrict login IP (recommended when keeping at least 0.1 BTC).
Users who take the time to set up all of these security precautions can feel confident that their account is secure. However, it is always best to pull any unused funds off the exchange and place them into your own wallet, preferably a cold storage hardware wallet.
Even with the hack most users feel that KuCoin is a secure and safe platform.
KuCoin Customer Support
Naturally KuCoin has a customer support team who can assist with any issues that users might have when using the platform. There are many different ways to contact the support team, and a number of online resources that can answer most basic questions. In terms of online resources there is a Help Center and an FAQ Center, and these should be the first stop for any questions about the platform and how to use various features.
In addition, the support team can be contacted in a number of different ways, including:
- Online chat
- Ticketing system
Support is available 24/7 from the official team. There are also a number of social media channels that can be used. If using these channels be aware that the community might answer your question faster than the official support staff.
KuCoin has Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit groups available in English, Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and Italian. In addition there are Telegram channels in all the above languages plus Chinese.
There’s no disputing that KuCoin is one of the top exchanges in the world. They continue to innovate and grow, adding new features to benefit their user base. If they are correct, then fully 25% of the world’s cryptocurrency users at least have an account with them.
Despite the September 2020 hack the exchange remains on top of security, and users should feel confident that their funds will remain safe when they are trading through KuCoin.
We also appreciated the lack of KYC for smaller accounts. It makes KuCoin one of the few exchanges where you can maintain anonymity and privacy, although anyone who wishes to use fiat currencies in any way on the platform does need to complete the KYC process.
The platform is complete, and while it initially appears complex, it is actually quite user-friendly and most people are going to pick up on how to trade effectively pretty quickly.
If you’re looking for an exchange with privacy, plenty of cryptocurrency pairs to trade, bonuses and promotions, and the ability to trade with leverage then give KuCoin a try. Millions of other traders can’t be wrong.
Featured Image via KuCoin