KuCoin seemed to appear out of nowhere, emerging quietly on the crypto scene in 2017. At the time, buying altcoins (basically anything that’s not bitcoin) meant heading to shady exchanges and hoping for the best. KuCoin exploited this unfilled niche, offering potential buyers a way to acquire obscure altcoins on a legitimate exchange with low fees and an (at the time) unparalleled referral programme. KuCoin quickly became one of the world’s most popular exchanges, with a global user base of 6+ million.
A good selection of altcoins is KuCoin’s main redeeming feature. For traders just looking to work with established coins (BTC, ETH), it might be better to use exchanges like Kraken. If you want to scout for the next Dogecoin, KuCoin is a great place to start. Users can also get a piece of the KuCoin pie by buying KuCoin Shares, the native token. Holders are entitled to reduced fees and extensive dividends.
The poor security and privacy concerns are major blows against KuCoin. The exchange was hit with a $281 million hack in 2020. While the perpetrators were identified and the money either recovered or reimbursed by KuCoin’s insurance, the fact that it happened at all is worrying. However, KuCoin’s solid selection (200+) of altcoins and low fees bring it back from the brink.Learn more
Pros / Cons
- Has been hacked
- Lack of transparency
- Website interface is cluttered and difficult to navigate
- Customer service is hard to reach
- Limited KYC compliance
- Solid selection of altcoins
- Plenty of perks
- Heavily insured
- Has its own cryptocurrency, KSC
- Low trading fees starting at 0.1%
- Users can trade anonymously
- Diverse financial services
It’s impossible to talk about KuCoin’s security without acknowledging that it has been hacked. On September 25th, 2020, the exchange was hacked to the tune of $281 million. Hackers obtained the private keys to one of the exchange’s hot wallets, leaving cold wallets unaffected. Cold wallets are not connected to the Internet, and are generally considered more secure than hot wallets.
KuCoin was reportedly able to recover 84% of the lost funds, though they faced heavy criticism for their methods. The other 16% was reportedly covered by insurance. The North Korean hacker crew dubbed Lazarus Group is accused of carrying out the heist.
What measures are KuCoin taking to ensure further hacks are prevented? There is an ongoing bug bounty programme that rewards security researchers who find and disclose vulnerabilities. Users can also set up two-factor authentication via Google Authenticator. KuCoin also launched the vaguely defined Safeguard Programme in 2020, which is apparently dedicated to providing “comprehensive protection and support for individuals and institutions who are affected by “security incidents”. This includes […] assistance with technical support, evidence retention, asset confirmation and offering preferential policy.”
Beyond what’s listed, it’s difficult to find further information about KuCoin’s security measures. Given the astonishing amount of capital they handle, that’s not very comforting.
Users who hold sufficient amounts of KuCoin Shares can earn dividends and enjoy lower fees.
Interested in finding exciting new projects to invest in? Check out KuCoin’s IEO (Initial Exchange Offering) platform Spotlight to discover new opportunities.
KuCoin is a dynamic exchange that’s constantly adding new features. To keep current with what’s happening, check out their blog to learn what’s coming next.
KuCoin is regulated in Seychelles, and has four major offices in China, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. There was a minor scandal early in 2020, when the company’s mailing address in Hong Kong was found to be an empty office. After this came to light, KuCoin’s mailing address was locked by order of a Singapore court.
It is unusually difficult to find information on KuCoin’s locations and regulation, especially since the exchange has a bad habit of deleting blog posts. The company does nominally adhere to KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti-money laundering) legislation, though it is possible to open an account and trade small amounts without providing identifying documents.
KuCoin’s jurisdiction and lax privacy standards count as a major strike against it in our book.
Like most exchanges, KuCoin does collect identifying personal data about its users, and is regulated under Seychelle’s Data Protection Act of 2003. Privacy-oriented potential users might be interested to know that the Data Protection Act, at the time of writing, is not yet in force. There are also no breach notifications stipulated under Seychellois law, which is pretty nerve wracking considering a. how many crypto exchanges are viewed as high-profile targets for hackers and b. that KuCoin has already been hacked.
Personal data can be used, disclosed, and/or processed for a very long list of purposes, from marketing to due diligence to “understanding user preferences” to market research. KuCoin can disclose personal information to law enforcement and to third parties worldwide. User personal data is, thankfully, ot sold, traded, or rented with others.
KuCoin is vague about the data collection and storage security measures taken to protect personal information, specifying communications over SSL secured channels and compliance with PCI (payment card industry) security standards. Concerned users looking to access, correct, or prevent use of their identifying data for marketing purposes can email KuCoin at email@example.com. European residents will be pleased to note that Seychelles is subject to GDPR.
Using KuCoin at times felt very similar to playing an MMORPG – plenty of challenges, games, and interactive opportunities to get free money and increase time spent on the website. Users who enjoy gamification will have a blast – I just developed a headache.
The website can be confusing to navigate, and the explanatory copy is often written in semi-garbled English. The Help Centre is particularly guilty of this. I cannot speak for the quality of the website in any other language. On Trustpilot, there are also reports of the website lagging and leading to losses.
One major bonus is the separation between the trading account and the main account. This adds an extra layer of security, particularly for users who want to utilise third-party APIs.
How does KuCoin compare?
The main reasons to use KuCoin is the selection of altcoins and opportunities to win prizes. If you mainly want to get up and coming tokens, Gate.io offers a better selection, with 650+ tokens.
If you’re ok with sacrificing altcoin selection for increased security, Crypto.com has 100+ coins and a proven track record for keeping customer funds safe. They also offer plenty of perks, particularly their visa card.
KuCoin operates a 24-hour support chat available in English and Mandarin. If you’re clever, you can eventually get to a human, though you’ll have to answer quite a few questions from the bot. While there is a support centre, the documentation is poorly laid out and it can be difficult to find solutions.
If you want to get in touch with a human first, you can submit a ticket via the KuCoin help page. Prepare for a long wait – due to a high volume of requests, responses can take over a week.
Users with technical issues can contact the technical support channel at tech-support@KuCoin.com. There is also an API support group on Telegraph at https://t.me/KuCoin_API. Customer support reps are also frequently active on the KuCoin Reddit.
On Trustpilot, KuCoin currently has an abysmal rating of 2.0, with multiple complaints about the quality of customer service. Gripes include the long waits for responses, lack of transparency, and subpar support. While KuCoin is by no means the worst when it comes to customer support, it still has a long way to go.
Opening an Account and Trading
Signing up for a KuCoin account is incredibly easy. To open a KuCoin account, visit the KuCoin signup page. Once there, you’ll be asked to verify your email and phone number. After that, choose a strong password and you’re set.
Once you’ve made your account, you can set up two-factor authentication by clicking the profile avatar on the upper right corner and choosing “Account Security” from the dropdown menu. This is also where you can go through the KYC process to access higher withdrawal limits. KuCoin is less strict about customer identification than some other exchanges, so the last step is optional.
Once security is set up, you’re ready to trade. The first step is funding your account. Unlike other exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase, KuCoin separates your account into a ‘main account’ and a ‘trading account’. The main account is generally used for storage, as APIs can only access the trading account. If you want to use third party APIs, you can be extra careful by keeping the majority of your funds in your main account.
In order to trade, you need to fund your main account by purchasing crypto with fiat, or sending crypto to your KuCoin account from an external wallet. From there, transfer the funds to your trading account and you’re ready to start trading.
If you want to withdraw your funds, you’ll need to send crypto from your trading account to your main account.
Like many other exchanges, KuCoin uses a tiered maker/taker fee structure. However, at 0.1% for both maker and taker, their fees are substantially lower than industry standard. Fees are also different for spot trades and futures. Deposits are free, withdrawal fees are adjusted based on market conditions. Each cryptocurrency has its own minimum withdrawal and withdrawal fees, so check the fee page before trading to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Fees are additionally discounted based on KuCoin Share (KSC) holdings. KSC is the native currency of the exchange, and users that pay with it can expect a 20% fee reduction. The number of KSC that users hold determines their fee schedule, or VIP level.
KuCoin has kept a low profile in the news after last year’s big hack, but a few stories have cropped up. Recent token listings that got coverage include Telos’ TLOS token and Student Coin. KuCoin’s native token, KCS, has also been listed on other exchanges including Poloniex and AscendX.
Which countries can use KuCoin?
Due to the lax KYC protocols, you can use KuCoin from almost anywhere.
Does KuCoin have a wallet?
KuCoin does have a wallet.
What coins are available on KuCoin?
A better question might be which coin’s aren’t on KuCoin. With 268 coins at time of writing, if you’ve heard of it it’s probably on KuCoin.
Is KuCoin safe?
As evidenced by the 2020 hack, KuCoin probably isn’t the safest exchange around.
How do I open a KuCoin account?
Visit https://www.kucoin.com/ and click the “Sign Up” button on the upper right hand corner. From there, you’ll be asked to verify an email and a phone number.
How do I access KuCoin support?
KuCoin operates a 24-hour support chat available in English and Mandarin on the website. There is also a support centre.
Residents of all countries can use KuCoin, but without KYC verification are restricted to withdrawing no more than 2 BTC per day.
Diverse financial services
Joining the ranks of exchanges like Kraken and Gate.io, KuCoin supports margin and futures trading. Currently, the highest leverage KuCoin Futures offers is 100x. This is a boon to experienced traders looking to maximise their profits. KuCoin has even gamified their futures trading services with Futures Brawl, a platform where users can team up to win prizes. KuCoin also currently offers three order types: Limit Order, Market Order, and Stop Order.
KuCoin has opened a peer-to-peer lending market, where users lend assets in exchange for interest. Currently, the lending service supports 50 tokens. Busy traders can avail themselves of the auto-lend service. Users only need to set a reserve amount, terms, and minimal daily rate, while the rest is automated away.
Margin traders can lend limited amounts of crypto to other customers in order to fund markets, all while charging interest.
KuCoin API users are eligible to get perks such as trading fee discounts, interest-free loans, a referral bonus, and access to a SandBox trading contest where competitors are eligible to win bonuses and larger trading fee discounts.
Proof-of-stake fans rejoice – Pool-X is a service that provides liquidity for staked cryptocurrencies. Pool-X also supports an NFT (non fungible token) trading service; great news for anyone who participated in the recent NFT boom.
Traders looking to invest in KuCoin can purchase KuCoin Shares, the exchange’s native token. KCS holders get benefits that include discounts on trading fees (1% off for every 1,000 KCS held) and dividends, with 50% of all trading fees paid by KuCoin users set aside and distributed equally among all KCS tokens. Not bad!
KuCoin has long been a supporter of DeFi, or decentralised finance, projects. The exchange currently runs a DeFi trading board that supports 18 popular DeFi projects and 36 trading pairs.