Kucoin Review – Is It The Best Exchange For You?

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Summary

KuCoin has established itself as a one-stop-shop for all types of crypto operations. Over 200 cryptocurrencies are available on the exchange, making it one of the most active crypto hubs online. You can earn cryptocurrency by lending, staking via Pool-X, participate in new initial exchange offerings (IEOs) via KuCoin Spotlight, and much more. It has bank-level security and a streamlined interface that provides a  good user experience.  In this review, we will dive into all of their offerings so you know exactly what KuCoin is and why it’s a great choice for you.

What Exactly is KuCoin?

KuCoin is a secure and user-friendly platform to trade cryptocurrency that is headquartered in Seychelles. It is run by iBoxPay and Ant Group veterans, and CoinMarketCap has rated it as one of the top 10 crypto exchanges in the world.  

They refer to themselves  as “The People’s Exchange” and one of their core principles is to be “Business Oriented & User-Centered“.  According to their site, they are used by one out of every four crypto holders worldwide.  

Kucoin Shares (KCS) is their native token that is available for spot and margin trading. Holding KCS will also earn you daily interest and can save you a significant amount on trading fees.

Target Audience

KuCoin offers a lot of features for active trading and investing that are great for beginners and advanced users alike.  In addition to having a lot of coins listed, there are also many different ways to invest and trade.  

For beginning users, the trading interface is easy to use and has a helpful tutorial to walk you through navigating the site.  Staking and lending options are well documented and plentiful, which makes it easy to jump right in.  There is also a lot of information available in their blog and FAQs.  

One area that makes KuCoin more difficult for beginners is a lack of options to move fiat currency to and from their bank.  Purchasing currency on KuCoin requires using a third party, often with high fees.  Many people use another exchange such as Coinbase to purchase and transfer coins because of this.

There are also a lot of great features for advanced users such as integrated TradingView charts, Stop Limit/Market orders, Futures trading, and even a  mining pool.  Another great benefit for advanced traders is their low per-trade fees, which get lower the more you trade.

Core Features of KuCoin

If you are still unsure about whether KuCoin is right for you, let’s dive in and review its main features in more detail

User-Friendly and Interactive Platform

Modern and interactive, KuCoin’s interface enables traders to review a wealth of information and options that flow in a logical manner, making it much easier for people of all skill levels to pick up.

Rapid Processing

It is capable of handling millions of transactions per second, so when there are wild swings in the market, their servers continue to operate.

Advanced-Level Charting

With KuCoin’s partnership with TradingView, you have access to very powerful and easy-to-use charting tools to review past and current trends.

Non-custodial Trading 

By partnering with Arwen, KuCoin now allows traders to choose a non-custodial option that allows trading directly from their wallet, thereby increasing the security of their assets. If you select Non-Custodial Trading, the exchange platform acts as a broker and does not have custody of your assets.

Margin Trading

By leveraging the funds of the exchange and other KuCoin users, investors and traders can increase their own capital. KuCoin margin trading offers many different trading pairs, including KCS/USDT, ETH/BTC, and SHIB/USDT. Both short and long trades can be made with margin up to 10x.  Trading Futures allows a sliding margin scale up to 100x as well.

Strong User Base

According to the company, one in four crypto investors use KuCoin’s platform . One of the biggest benefits of having a large customer base is that it provides liquidity to the market, making it easier and safer to execute trades.  

Wide range of coins

KuCoin offers more cryptocurrencies than most other exchanges or brokerages. You might want to consider KuCoin if you want to diversify your cryptocurrency portfolio into something less mainstream. Furthermore, it has a Spotlight section where users can learn about and buy new currencies before anyone else. 

Earn interest on your crypto

KuCoin Earn offers multiple ways to earn interest on cryptocurrencies: either by staking them through Pool-X, a KuCoin-backed company, or by lending them out and receiving interest payments. 

Kucoin Futures Trading

KuCoin has officially began trading futures contracts in July 2019.  Users can trade standardized financial asset future contracts without having to take control of the underlying asset.

The leverage offered by margined contracts can be up to 100X. This means that even if a user only has $100 in their account, they can trade contracts worth up to $10,000.  This carries with it a great level of risk, however, and is recommended only for seasoned traders.

Futures trading is available in two versions: a beginner’s version (lite mode, also called Futures Brawl) and an advanced version (pro mode).   Having two modes makes it easy for beginners to review KuCoin’s implementation, while giving advanced traders full access to all the necessary tools.

The Lite Mode is a gamified version of futures trading where you basically bet on whether the price will go up or down over the very short term.  After placing your bet, you are then matched with an “opponent”.  Winning or losing will cause a small gain or loss of your “wagered” money.

Pro Mode gives more advanced traders the full trading experience with full charting, order books, and ordering features.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Used by over 8 million people
  • You can save on trading fees by holding and using KCS
  •  A mobile app is available for iOS and Android
  • You can choose from more than 250 cryptocurrencies
  • Services like crypto-lending, automated trading, and margin and futures trading

Cons

  • Transaction costs are high when purchasing cryptocurrency with fiat currency 
  • Moving money to and from the account either requires paying high fees or using a separate exchange to transfer the funds
  • Reporting can be tedious and time consuming if you have a lot of orders

Costs/Fees

KuCoin trading fees are based on a sliding scale determined by your “VIP” Level.  You can increase your VIP level by either holding a certain amount of KCS, or by a high trading volume.  For spot and margin trading, depending on the coin, the fees start at between .1%-.3% per trade.  At the lowest VIP level, both maker and taker orders have the same fees.  Futures trading starts at .02% for maker and .06% for taker per trade.

You can reduce your trading fees in several ways.  The easiest is to use their native KCS token to pay for the fees, which results in an immediate 20% discount.  Increasing your VIP level is a way to reduce the fees further.  At the highest VIP level, you  can have fees as low as 0% for maker and 0.025% for taker orders.

Depending on how it is done, deposits can have fees as well. Deposits from an external wallet are completely free. However, depositing via fiat currency (conventional money) is not. KuCoin’s integration with third-party providers allows it to figure out the best offer for you based on your deposit amount and payment preference. Using a credit card, for example, can result in conversion fees ranging from 1% to 3%. There is a $15 service fee if you make a deposit of less than $500 using Google Pay.  We recommend doing a thorough review of all the options that KuCoin offers to deposit funds before picking one.

Withdrawals to an external wallet also have a nominal fee attached, which vary from coin to coin.  For example, at the time of this writing, the fee for withdrawing Stellar (XLM) is .02 XLM, Bitcoin (BTC) is 0.0005 BTC, and Ethereum (ETH) is .006 ETH.

Portfolio Management

By default, your assets are divided into one of six “accounts” within KuCoin.  While this can be confusing for new users, once you get used to the system, it becomes easy to review your assets.

While it is nice to be able to keep your assets separated, this does make it difficult to keep track of the average cost.  Unfortunately, that is not a metric that is tracked, except in the trading bots.

Main Account

This account is used for all external deposits and withdrawals.  This is also the account that is used for the crypto lending program.

Trading Account

The trading account is used for all spot (non-margin) trades.  This account can hold any of the coins offered on the exchange.  In order to spot trade, you will first have to transfer coins into this account.

Margin Account

The margin account is used for all margin (non-spot) trades.  The only coins allowed in this account are ones that can be traded on margin.  In order to margin trade, coins will have to be transferred into this account first.

Futures Account

This account is used for all futures trading.  There are a limited amount of coins that can be held in this account (At the time of this writing, it is limited to USDT, BTC, ETH, DOT, and XRP).  In order to trade futures, coins will have to be transferred into this account.

Pool-X Account

Pool-X is KuCoin’s staking offering, also called KuCoin Earn.  The only coins allowed in this account are the ones that can be staked.  They have several forms of staking coins: Staking, Flexible Staking, and Promotions.

Flexible staking is done by simply transferring coins into the account.  These coins are always available and can be transferred whenever needed.  At the time of this writing, the highest 7-day APY for flexible staking is 52.09%.

Staking (referred to in the rest of the article as “standard staking”) locks up your coins for a certain period of time.  This redemption period can be anywhere between 1 to 28 days.  What this means is that after you initiate a request to redeem your coins, you have to wait that period of time before the coins are available to you.  At the time of this writing, the highest 7-day APY for standard staking is 46.46%

Promotions are special, time- and space-limited staking options.  They are similar to the standard staking offering, but with typically higher yields and longer redemption periods.  There are two promotion types, flexible and fixed.  While the wording is similar to the other staking options, flexible promotions are different from flexible staking.

Flexible promotions have shorter redemption periods and typically lower APY (1-3 days for redemption and up to 100.46% 7-day APY at the time of this writing).

Fixed promotions have longer redemption periods and usually higher APY (60-100 days and up to 56.17% 7-day APY).

Sub-Account

Sub-accounts are a little different than the other types of accounts.  You can have any number of sub-accounts that typically have a “main” and “trading” account inside them. 

While you can manually create the accounts for whatever purpose you need, their main purpose is for trading bots.  Each bot that you create will have its own separate sub-account that is used to keep its assets.  This way, the coins used for the bots won’t be grouped with your other funds.  

Reporting

You are able to export a .csv file of all trades, deposits, and withdrawals from within the KuCoin web interface.  Each type of report (ex. open orders, stop orders, trade history, order history, etc.) is a separate tab under each type of market (spot, margin, futures, etc.).  This can make pulling and collating the data tedious as you may have to run multiple reports to get all the data.  

There is also a limit of 5 exports per 24 hour period, and 100 days per export.  If you’re gathering records for tax purposes, it is advised to make sure you start early so you can get them all in time.

Educational Offerings

KuCoin has a fairly robust support section. It includes tutorials on how to use each feature that they offer in quick, easy-to-read formats.  It is a great place to go if you have any questions about how certain features work.

While they do not offer a dedicated educational section, their blog is fairly active and covers a wide range of topics from current affairs, education on various crypto projects, trading, and many more topics.

Customer Service

KuCoin has a staffed, 24-hour support team ready to review any issues.  There are several ways to contact them: via e-mail, a contact form on their site, or live chat.  They do not currently offer any direct telephone support.

Another standout feature they offer is their “Official Media Verification” tool.  The link is in the Tools section of the footer on the main site.  With this tool, you can enter a domain, e-mail, phone #, online handle, and more.  It will then search their database and let you know if it’s a legitimate KuCoin contact or not.  While this may not seem like a big thing, there are a lot of scammers out there.  This is an easy way to find out if a site or person is a legitimate KuCoin contact.

Security

Site Security

KuCoin partnered with Onchain Custodian to safeguard the assets held on its exchange.  This also means that assets are insured by Lockton.

A thorough review of the KuCoin site using developer tools shows that they authenticate with TLS 1.3, X25519, and AES_128_GCM.  This can give us a lot of confidence that any communication with the site is secure.

User Security

KuCoin utilizes several methods to ensure your account is secure.

  • 2FA – While technically optional, some features (such as KCS interest) aren’t available without it
  • Trading Password – This is required prior to performing a trade or withdrawal
  • Safety Phrases – These are user-defined phrases that appear at login, withdrawal, and any e-mail communications.  This way you know it’s legitimate

Data Breach

Near the end of 2020, there was a breach that compromised their security.  As well as responding quickly, the KuCoin team was completely transparent about what happened.  In addition to reaching out to all parties, the CEO of the company gave assurances that any losses were covered by insurance.

Our Kucoin Review Final Thoughts

Using KuCoin’s cutting-edge application programming interface, trading has become even more pleasant, transparent, and interactive.  It offers a large number of trading pairs and investment tools.  They have certainly positioned themselves as a great option for both beginner and advanced traders and investors.

What do you think of KuCoin?  Do you still have any outstanding questions?  Do you use them already?  Let us know in the comments below!