KuCoin Exchange Review
KuCoin is only about 3 years old, but in that time they have made a name for themselves as a secure and dependable exchange that can be accessed by nearly anybody not located in the United States. With users in over 100 countries and an average daily trading volume above $100 million, KuCoin is currently poised to challenge Binance, providing support for customers in countries and territories not supported by Binance.
Of all the crypto exchanges out there, KuCoin is #7 in terms of most trading pairs supported, and its rapid growth spurt is showing no signs of slowing down.
Update Nov. 19, 2020: USA customers need to be aware – although many Americans have been able to sign up and trade here, KuCoin claims they do not accept U.S. residents. There is a contradictory grey area here that makes us hesitant to recommend KuCoin to those in the United States.
Why Choose KuCoin?
KuCoin manages to combine a lot of positive aspects about cryptocurrency exchanges while keeping registration hurdles to a bare minimum. With over 330 trading pairs, the KuCoin exchange supports scores of coins that can’t be found on other exchanges of its magnitude, also allowing for instant crypto purchases and conversions in which no knowledge of trading is required. They also have very few requirements for registration, meaning just about anybody can trade there.
Brief History of KuCoin
KuCoin opened in 2017 after having raised 5,500 BTC through an ICO in which 100 million of their native exchange token, KuCoin Shares (KCS) were sold. The ICO ran for a period of just over 2 weeks and managed to raise about $20 million by its conclusion on September 1st, 2017. KuCoin’s founders, Michael Gan and Eric Don, had been working on blockchain-related projects since 2011 and developing the exchange’s software since 2013.
At first, KuCoin was highly reminiscent of Binance in terms of its design and layout, but carried a selection of smaller coins which Binance did not. In February 2019, KuCoin completed an overhaul of its exchange, giving it a unique style that was 100% original. The version features an advanced application programming interface (API), a broader range of security solutions, margin and leverage trading, a tiered trading fee, and the separation of funds between Main, Trading and Lending accounts. Later that year, they added a 4th type of account: Margin (for margin trading).
By 2020, KuCoin’s popularity had exploded thanks to a diligent marketing campaign, attracting users from all corners of the globe. According to their estimates, 1 in 4 crypto holders worldwide has registered with KuCoin, and with a significant amount of partnerships being formed on a near-monthly basis, there’s no doubt they plan on increasing their market share in the near future.
Basics of Getting Started at KuCoin
KuCoin is a bit different from other exchanges in that pretty much anybody anywhere in the world is allowed to register for an account, and it is completely up to the user to make sure they are complying with the laws of their country/jurisdiction when using the exchange.
How to Register an Account on KuCoin
Creating a KuCoin account is very simple. After clicking “Sign Up” toward the upper-right hand corner of the home page, choose between setting up an account using a phone number or an email address. Keep in mind that you must always have control of one or the other in order to log into your account. We recommend signing up via email because not all country codes are supported by phone signup and you can always add your phone number later to your Profile.
After entering your email address, you will have to pass a quick Captcha then verify your email by entering a 6-digit code sent to it. After you have received and entered the code, create a strong password (a combination of letters, numbers and special characters works best) and click the green “Sign Up” button. And that’s it! Your account has been created and you can begin trading immediately (after making a deposit).
Note: On KuCoin, you can perform up to 2 BTC worth of withdrawals and make 1400 USDT worth of trades every 24 hour period without completing the KYC process, which makes KuCoin perfect for those who would rather not have to go through the hassle of account verification. To increase your withdrawal and trading limits, as well as receive other benefits, complete the KYC process by clicking “KYC Verification” under the settings menu (represented by the 1st 2 letters of your email address on the main screen).
Funding Your KuCoin Account
After registering your account, you’ll be presented with a screen that displays 2 initial options through which you can fund your account. Select “Buy Crypto” if you want to use a bank account or a credit card to make a crypto purchase or “Deposit Funds” if you want to move coins to KuCoin from other addresses.
If you selected “Buy Crypto”, you will be presented with different payment channels which are displayed according to your geographic area. These are 3rd party services that allow for the easy purchase of crypto using a credit card. 2 of the most common of these are Simplex and PayMir. Note that there is a pretty sizeable fee for each purchase, of somewhere between 3.5% and 4.2%. This fee is independent of the size of the purchase that you are making (single purchases can be made up to $20,000 in value).
Note that you will need to generate a deposit address for the coin which you plan to purchase from the “Deposit” screen before you can make a purchase. From the “Deposit” screen, use the search tool to find the coin you are purchasing and click on it. This will instantly create a KuCoin deposit address for you. To get back to the payment channel screen, select “Buy Crypto” from the main dashboard and then “Buy with Credit Card”.
As of now, the following cryptos can be bought through this option: BTC, ETH, USDT, LTC, XRP, BCH, TRX, ATOM, DASH, NANO, NEO, LUNA, and EOS. Fiat currencies supported by payment channels include USD, EUR, RUB, AUD, KRW, DKK, NOK, NZD, PLN, SEK, TRY, ZAR, HUF, ILS, HKD, CAD, MYR, NGN, SGD, TWD, BGN, BRL, MAD, RON, UAH, MXN, JPY, AED, ARS, AZN, CLP, COP, CRC, DOP, GEL, INR, KZT, NDL, NAD, PEN, PHP, QAR, UYU, UZS, CHF, CZK.
There are 2 other ways through which you can buy (or sell) crypto without having to place orders on the exchange, and like for credit card purchases, both are found by clicking on the “Buy Crypto” menu option:
- P2P Trading Desk. Here is where you can buy a few select coins (BTC, USDT, ETH, PAX, CADH) from other users on the site at set rates, using KuCoin as escrow. At the moment there are very few sellers here and it is recommended to just purchase using credit card or via making trades at the exchange.
- Fast Buy. This is a lot like buying through the normal credit card option but supports 3 fiat currencies not available for credit card purchases: CNY, IDR, and VND. Enter the fiat amount of BTC, USDT, ETH or PAX you wish to purchase, select the payment method you wish to use, and click “Buy”.
If you are funding your account via depositing crypto from elsewhere, go back to the Deposit screen, search for the coin which you are depositing, and copy the generated address to your clipboard to put into your send transaction. If you are depositing Bitcoin (BTC) from an outside address, it will be credited to your account after 2 confirmations (other coins have varying amounts of confirmations required before the deposit will appear in your Main Account balance).
Trading on KuCoin
After buying some coins or having transferred them to your KuCoin address, the first thing you’ll need to do to start trading is transfer them from your Main Account to your Trading Account. To do this, click on “Main Account” from the main screen, then use the search feature to find the coin you wish to transfer. Next, click the “Transfer” operation next to the coin, which is the right-most column of the screen. Make sure you have selected the appropriate transfer direction and coin, then enter the amount and click “Confirm”. Now your moved coins will be available for trading.
There are 3 types of trading on KuCoin: Spot, Instant Exchange, and Margin.
- Spot. This is the traditional exchange trading where a candle chart is shown along with an order book, list of recent trades, etc. KuCoin supports Market, Limit and Stop Limit spot trading, as well as Futures trading for both BTC and ETH (with up to 100x leverage). There is a huge array of technical analysis tool available for Spot trading, as well as chart drawing tools, visualization options, and even a snapshot tool. There are currently over 170 different coins and tokens that can be traded using Spot trading.
- Instant Exchange. This type of trading is great for those who don’t want to bother with placing orders and would rather just buy or sell any amount of coins instantly. Simply enter the amount of the coin you wish to trade, the coin you are buying it with or selling it for, and click “Buy” or “Sell”. The only drawback is coin selections are limited to BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, and XRP, which can only be traded for BTC or USDT. Prices are about as fair as they get, however, with the spread between Buy and Sell being relatively minimal.
- Margin. This type of trading will allow you to borrow up to 10x of the amount deposited in your Margin Account to trade on margin. This means that your trades can have up to 10x the buying/selling power they normally would. But this also means that your margin balance can be wiped out quickly if a coin’s price should move sharply in the wrong direction.
For Spot trades, the easiest way to find the coin or coin pairing you want to trade is by opening your Trading Account, selecting the coin from there, and then clicking “Trade” in the right column. This will open up a list of all the pairings available for that coin. Just select one to go to its particular trading screen.
KuCoin Trading and Withdrawal Fees
Trading fees on KuCoin start at a flat 0.10% for both Taker (market order) and Maker (stop or limit order) trades for new accounts (VIP 0 level). Fees can be reduced through 1 of 2 methods: holding certain amounts of the exchange’s native token, KuCoin Shares (KCS) in your account, or by trading above certain levels across a 30-day period. The more KCS you hold or the more trades you make each month, the higher your VIP level will go, and the bigger discount you will get on trading fees.
For example, if you hold between 1,000 and 10,000 KYC in your account, Maker fees are reduced to 0.07% and Taker fees to 0.09%. Similarly, if you have traded the equivalent of somewhere between 50 and 200 BTC in the last 30 days, fee reductions are the same. This tiered fee structure goes all the way up to trading 80,000 BTC or more in 30 days or holding more than 150,000 KCS, in which case Maker fees are -.005% and Taker fees are 0.025%.
You can also use KCS to pay for fees at a discount, in which case tiny amounts of KCS are deducted to cover the trading fee, resulting in 0.08% Taker/Maker fees for VIP 0 level accounts.
Crypto withdrawal fees are quite variable on the KuCoin exchange. For Bitcoin, the withdrawal fee is 0.0004 BTC, which is not too high, but not too low either. The withdrawal fee for Ethereum is 0.004 ETH, which is considerably cheaper. While some other top-tier coins will also have low withdrawal fees, most coins and tokens with smaller market caps will have comparatively bigger fees. As a whole, KuCoin withdrawal fees tend to be a little bit higher than other exchanges, which is a price to be paid for offering relatively obscure coins that aren’t traded on other exchanges of similar size.
Making a Withdrawal on KuCoin
Withdrawals can only be made from your Main Account, which means that you will have to transfer coins there from your Trading or Margin accounts if you move them off the exchange. To find your different accounts, click on the “Assets” menu at the top of the main screen and select the account you want from the list below. Coins are moved by clicking the “Transfer” button on the very right of each coin name. After readying coins for withdrawal, go back to your Main Account, find the coin you wish to withdrawal, and press “Withdraw”. After entering the amount you are withdrawing and the address to which they are being withdrawn, press “Confirm”. You will be asked to enter in a code received by email and text message before each withdrawal.
KuCoin Exchange Security
Coming off the heels of a somewhat major hacking incident, KuCoin takes the security of their exchange very seriously. They also take security of their customers seriously as well, making it extra hard for unauthorized withdrawals from your account. As mentioned above, not only will you have to enter in codes from both email and text message to make a withdrawal, but you also have to create a trading PIN and enter it each time you want to make a trade. Other security measures that can be enabled include restricting IP logins, setting an anti-phishing security phrase, and requiring 2-FA by phone upon login.
KuCoin Mobile App
There is a KuCoin mobile app available for both Android and iOS devices for those who want to check up on their balances and make trades on the go. It has generally favorable reviews compared to many other crypto exchange apps, though it can freeze on devices with limited amounts of memory. Pretty much everything that can be done on the desktop version of the exchange can also be done through the app, with a few exceptions.
Benefits of KuCoin (over competitors)
- Huge selection of coins/tokens and trading pairs.
- Easy to register, available worldwide (including the U.S.).
- No KYC process for trading up to 1400 USDT per day.
- Excellent range of trading tools and indicators available for Spot trading.
Limitations of KuCoin
- Limited fiat deposit options, high fees for credit card purchases.
- Poor liquidity for smaller coins.
- Cannot search for coin pairings from trading screen.
- Tight security measures can seem overbearing.
Wrapping it up
In all, KuCoin is a great exchange that has experienced tremendous growth over its mere 3 years in existence. Thanks to their supporting of U.S. customers, they have become quite popular in that demographic, allowing them to buy smaller coins that they might not otherwise be accessible. Even though KuCoin charges quite a bit for fiat deposits (and is rather limited in options in this regard), they make up for this by having very fair trading (and for the most part) withdrawal fees. They are a perfect exchange for those looking to do some light trading without having to go through the hassles of KYC and offer a huge coin selection that includes cryptos that can’t be found on exchanges of similar magnitude.