KuCoin Exchange Review: Is it Safe?
Although it may not be one of the oldest exchanges out there, KuCoin has proven to be one of the most trusted and well-known in the crypto world.
The Seychelles-based exchange started in 2017 and has grown to be one of the biggest players. In fact, KuCoin is not only one of the biggest, but it’s also one of the most trusted platforms to date.
KuCoin made its way to the top because of its emphasis on the quality of projects listed. This is achieved through their research department that does the heavy lifting, looking for quality projects to list on their exchange.
The platform is also well known for its low trading fees and abundance of different trading tools available.
This trust in KuCoin is reflected by its status in the exchange ecosystem. According to Coingecko and CoinMarketCap, the platform is in the top 5 of all exchanges. It receives over 11 million monthly visits and a daily trading volume of over $3 billion.
This is really easy to believe once you get to know the exchange, which you will after reading this KuCoin exchange review.
Those who won’t be able to take advantage of the services of the exchange are our American friends. At this time, the United States is at the top of the list of unsupported countries of the platform.
Other restricted locations are:
Mainland China, Comoros, Seychelles, Syria, Thailand, U.S. Outlying Islands, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe, East Timor, Cambodia, Laos, Tanzania, Serbia, Tunisia, Uganda, Mali, Afghanistan, Albania, Central African Republic, Somalia, Malawi, Mozambique, Kyrgyzstan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan (North), Republic of Guinea, Guinea South Africa, the Republic of Northern Macedonia, the Lebanese Republic, Kosovo, Libya, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Botswana, Ghana, Jamaica, Mauritius, Pakistan, Nicaragua, and Panama.
Now, that’s a long list. This means that you really should check out the local restrictions before you take the dive. For your convenience, the platform does list the countries not supported here.
In this KuCoin Exchange review, we’ll be taking a deep dive into all the features you can come to expect of the service.
The most important aspects that we’ll be covering are the following:
- Fee Structure
- Purchase/Withdrawal Methods
- Supported currencies (Fiat and Crypto).
However, we’ll first be giving you a brief review of what KuCoin is and a brief history of the platform. Let’s get started.
What is KuCoin?
KuCoin is an exchange founded in 2017 by Michael Gan and Eric Don. They created the service as part of an eight-part management team with extensive backgrounds in the blockchain space.
Now, the exchange we know and love today wasn’t built in a day. The service was in the process of being developed much before it was eventually launched. The technical architecture was already created in 2013 but needed that extra polish before being shown to the world.
In terms of funding, the founders were able to raise the funds to develop the platform fully through their initial ICO launch in 2017. This released their KuCoin Shares (KCS) tokens. The ICO was a total success and the platform was able to raise nearly $20 million in Bitcoin.
Marketed as ‘The People’s Exchange’, KCS token holders get a 50% share trading fee profits made by the exchange. This is on top of the already existing benefits of using the token in the platform such as discounted trading fees.
KuCoin Platform 2.0
Later on, in 2018, the service was able to raise another $20 million in Series A funding. This funding drive was headed by IDG Capital, Matrix Partners, and Neo Global Capital. The money raised was dedicated to bringing the KuCoin platform 2.0 to life.
These plans to bring the 2.0 platform came to fruition in February of 2019 when it was launched. That 2.0 version brought a new interface to users as well as other features. These extra features include the likes of advanced order types, a new API, and even an expanded support staff.
2020 Cyber Attack
If you have been reading the news, you will have noticed the 2020 cyber attack that the exchange suffered. This was the second-largest hack at the time of writing. The thieves were able to make away with around $275-$285 million in user assets.
This was more money than Binance (who we compared to KuCoin in this article) lost in their hack the prior year.
While not an ideal situation, what is remarkable is the quick response by the platform. Within a week, the funds were tracked and KuCoin was able to recover 84% of the stolen tokens.
The rest was covered by the exchange itself and the insurance fund, which means no user was really affected. On top of that, they learned from the experience, setting up the Safeguard Program to help others learn and avoid a similar situation.
While it’s had its ups and downs, it’s easy to see why the platform is among the most successful in the crypto space. It consistently hits the top 5 exchanges and is well-liked by most traders. This is not an easy feat in the cut-throat crypto market.
Now let’s get into the heart of the review. After you’ve read this KuCoin exchange review, we hope you’ll be able to see if the Seychelles-based exchange is the one for you.
Talking about the hack of the exchange leads us to look at what the security of KuCoin looks like today. If you have been a loyal user of the platform like we have, the changes are clear. It’s easy to see that the platform has grown and improved its security measures with time.
Cold Storage And Insurance
For one, like any other exchange, KuCoin holds the bulk of its funds in external cold storage. This means that should there even be a breach, the bulk of assets are not accessible at all. KuCoin has paired with Onchain Custodian, a Singapore-based crypto asset custody platform that does most of this safekeeping work.
Its funds are also entirely backed by insurance, provided by Lockton Insurance, the world’s largest private insurance brokerage company.
User Level Security Features
On the user level, to ensure the security of your account, KuCoin has also implemented other security features. These include such features as Two Factor Authentication and a Trading Password.
Let’s start with Two Factor Authentication (2FA). This feature means that when you log in, you are required to verify your access on a separate device. This is achieved either by the use of Google Two-Factor Authentication or by mobile phone Authentication. This means that people won’t be able to access your account from a new location without you first confirming it’s you.
One thing you will have to keep an eye on when setting up your Two-Factor Authentication is that phone verification is not supported in all countries. Those unsupported countries will be restricted to having to use the Google Authenticator, which is more secure than SMS 2FA. You can find the full list of supported countries here.
The other feature that we mentioned was a Trading Password. This is a password set up to confirm that you are the one acting for any transaction.
Once set up, this password would be required for any withdrawal, API verification, and trades. When referring to trades, this includes Spot, P2P Fiat Trade, and KuCoin Futures trading as well as any margin trade. While simple, this is a great way to add an extra layer of security to your account.
On top of that, you can access other features, such as IP Login restriction and an Anti-phishing Safety Phrase. The former will automatically log your account out should the IP the account is accessed from changes.
The latter is a safety phrase that you set up on your account. This is then used to confirm that any emails you receive are in fact from KuCoin. Should the Anti-phishing Safety Phrase be missing or otherwise incorrect, it would mean that it is a phishing attack. This really does add another safeguard layer that you would usually not think of.
All of KuCoin’s traffic is entirely SSL encrypted. This means that you’re safe even if you happen to be looking at your account in your local coffee shop. You can be sure that anyone intercepting your traffic won’t be able to see what you are sending. Anything that they do see will be total gibberish that is virtually impossible to decrypt
Know Your Customer (KYC)
While you are not necessarily required to, any user that creates a KuCoin account can go through a KYC or ‘Know Your Customer verification. You will, however, be required to do so if you want to deposit funds using their Simplex partner.
This complies with the Proceeds Of Crime Act, Anti Money Laundering, and Counter-Terrorist Financing legislation. This is there to ensure that no suspicious illegal activity does take place on the platform.
On top of that, users that complete the KYC1 and KYC2 verification get further bonuses. Those who do, gain access to higher daily withdrawal limits. This will also make the recovery of the account much easier should it ever be necessary.
For one, going back to the big hack, all the vulnerabilities that the hackers were able to abuse were entirely redesigned and their security system updated. It’s clear to see that the exchange has grown and improved, learning from its past history. The exchange has also introduced programs where security researchers can gain rewards for reporting bugs and vulnerabilities.
The platform gives you the tools to be able to ensure the safety of your account. On top of that, looking at their track record, it’s easy to see that should there ever be a big hack, their response is fast and efficient.
While you won’t be seeing all the massive amounts of different eccentric features offered by exchanges like Binance, you will have most of your trading needs covered in KuCoin. The platform centers around keeping the main features that users now expect from a trading service.
Among the key features we want to highlight are:
The Trading Platform
The KuCoin trading platform is very solid and intuitive. It’s been built from the ground up to help experienced traders and beginners alike. The understandable interface helps the newer traders while the advanced graphing tools and services provide that little extra that the veterans are looking for.
Buying Crypto Directly
With their partnership with Simplex, Banxa, and BTC Direct you’ll be able to buy your crypto directly over the KuCoin platform.
The buying service has an extensive list of over 50 different cryptos supported so you aren’t limited to just buying Bitcoin or popular stablecoins.
Do note that the prices change depending on the payment processor so it would be a good idea to keep an eye out on that. KuCoin does however highlight what the best offer is to make it dead-easy for you to pick the right one.
In terms of what payment methods are supported, you’ll be happy to know that users can take advantage of Visa, Mastercard, SEPA, and even Apple Pay. If you’re worried about what fiat currency you’re buying with, you’ll be happy to know that KuCoin supports over 50 different fiat currencies. This means that you’ll most likely be able to forego any exchange fees.
The other option you have to buy is through their ‘Fast Buy’ option. This lets you buy the most popular currencies at competitive prices in only one click.
The currencies supported are limited to BTC, USDT, and ETH. The fees that are charged are also exceptional at 0 fees. This means that if you are looking to buy one of the larger currencies, this is most likely your best bet.
For those not wanting to pull out their credit card, KuCoin does provide a fee-less peer-to-peer marketplace. This lets you buy and sell crypto directly from another user at a price that you both agree upon.
This feature does expand the different payment methods and lets you make use of the cash that you have in your PayPal account. The fact that KuCoin doesn’t tack on any additional fees is a massive bonus. Do note that the external service that you do end up using to complete the transaction may incur some fees.
Another popular feature is the implementation of the KuCoin trading bots. This lets you trade even while you are not on your device so that you can take advantage of market moves at all times.
Once you set your parameters, the bots will be able to follow the instructions you give them. The fact that the bots are also entirely free is another great boost.
Soft Staking is a process that allows users to receive staking rewards without locking their funds for a long time. This is great because it allows you to quickly send/sell your crypto on a moment’s notice if need be.
The rewards are distributed daily which means that you do not have to wait days or even months to receive your rewards. This allows for quicker and more efficient compounding which increases your profit potential.
Other features of note are:
- Crypto Lending: Lend your crypto out to gain interest.
- Futures and Margin Trading: KuCoin allows futures trading with up to 100x leverage.
- Leveraged Tokens: Trade leveraged tokens to earn more on your trades without debt or liquidation.
- Red Envelope: Send your crypto to your friends for free.
- KuCoin Crypto Friday: Special crypto events with interesting prizes.
Now, these are only a few of the different features that you can find on the platform. If we were to talk about all of them, we would be here until next week.
That being said, KuCoin offers a ton of different ways to make the most of your crypto. You won’t really be wondering what you can do with your coins. You will however see yourself limited if you’ve gotten used to the more eccentric side of crypto.
If you have any questions or concerns about your account or the different services that are provided, you should head to the KuCoin support page. This page is quite extensive and does provide you with the usual answers to their different products. Unfortunately, it does seem like many of their articles are stubs and would need some additional love.
One such example is their article on Soft Staking. This just redirects you to the announcement about it. This page then sends you back to the above page in the more information link. This is a bit lackluster and makes you have little confidence in their help center. However, it is still easy to navigate and more extensive than most of its competition.
Another thing that is conspicuous by its absence is an integrated academy platform to teach users about crypto. While there is a KuCoin Academy page on Medium that does cover some of these matters, it doesn’t seem to be updated as the last post was mid-2020.
It’s also a pity that this is hosted on a third-party site and not on the platform itself.
You may be thinking that this is not entirely necessary. I could agree with that but it is something that we have grown accustomed to with the larger exchanges. It’s merely worth pointing out as this is an in-depth KuCoin exchange review.
Should you not find what you’re looking for in their Help Center, you may contact their customer support directly. On the support page, you are greeted by a little chatbot that can answer some of your questions.
If you still have concerns, you will be redirected to a customer support staff that can address them directly in the chat. That being said, should the issue be more involved, you can submit a support ticket directly through a ticket form. Their Customer Support is available 24/7, which is a great plus.
Technical Support Channel
An additional great feature that they do have is their dedicated Technical Support Channel.
This service does provide more focused assistance to users that are seeing issues on a more technical side. You wouldn’t be contacting them about your missing trade or something but can be used if your mobile app is not working, for example.
All in all, it does seem like their support is a little more focused. While it doesn’t provide the extensive academy of other platforms, if you do need to come in contact with them, that should not be an issue.
One of the great driving forces of KuCoin is its fee structure. You can expect to pay very low fees when using the platform. This is great no matter how much you are trading! Let’s take a look at the fees you will be charged when using the exchange.
First, let’s look at their spot trading fees. In this case, they use a Maker/Taker model. If you place an immediate order, you are considered as a Taker and will pay a corresponding ‘Taker’ Fee. However, if you create an order that is not immediately matched, you are considered a ‘Maker’.
There can be a difference of up to 0.06% between the ‘Maker’ and the ‘Taker’ Fee. That can make it quite a significant factor to consider depending on how much you trade.
In addition, KuCoin structures the fees paid based on ‘Trading Fee Level’. What fees you end up paying depends entirely on the level that you are on. On the lowest level, level 0, both makers and takers pay a fee of 0.1%.
A person on the highest level, on the other hand, can be looking at fees as low as -0.005% and 0.025% for makers and takers respectively. Makers actually get a rebate on their trades.
Your level is determined by either the amount of their KCS token that you’ve been holding in the past 30 days or your trading volume in the past month. The more you hold or trade, the lower your fees are.
Another aspect that will reduce your fees is whether or not you’re paying for them with their KCS token using KCS Pay. This can reduce your fees quite significantly as they will bring them down by 20%. For example, if you were paying 0.1% on your trade, now it’s just 0.08%.
When it comes to futures, the fee structure is quite similar.
For one, a similar Trading Feel Level is applied but it’s quite reduced. As a level 0, you’ll be looking at rates of 0.02% to 0.06% as a maker and taker respectively. If you are top-level, however, you will be looking at fees of -0.015% and 0.03%. Also in this case do you get a rebate as a maker.
In addition to that, a funding rate will apply for futures. When the funding rate is positive, longs pay shorts. When the Funding Rate is negative, shorts pay longs.
Now, this funding happens every 8 hours. Should you be holding a position at the time of funding, you will either be charged or be paid depending on your position. Outside of those periods, none will apply.
Deposit and Withdrawal
For those wanting to deposit, you’ll be happy to know that you won’t have to pay any fees. Deposits are free for all clients and all currencies.
Those looking to withdraw on the other hand will have to pay a fee. How much you depend entirely on the crypto you’re looking at. This varies due to, in part, the network fees charged by the different networks.
The withdrawal fees that are levied by KuCoin are among the lowest.
This is one of the most attractive aspects of the platform. At the time of writing, you are looking at paying as little as 0.0006 BTC for your Bitcoin withdrawal, with a minimum of 0.0012 BTC to be removed.
The fees that you are charged for buying crypto are again variable. The platform proudly announces that their fast-buy option doesn’t charge any fees. This is very significant for anyone looking to buy and really something to take advantage of.
The other option that offers fiat to crypto is quite variable and depends on what service partner you go with.
These can change and vary quite a lot depending on the service provider. At the time of writing, making a purchase of $100 worth of USDT will give you 95.19 USDT with one partner and only 83.35 USDT with the other. That bridge between 5% and 16% is quite significant and something you should keep an eye on.
In any case, the trading fees charged by the platform are among the lowest out there. This is really what brings KuCoin to the foreground of the crypto world. One of the essential aspects of crypto is the trading of coins. The cheaper that is, the better.
When looking at the different cryptocurrencies supported, you’ll be happy to know that your favorite altcoin probably can be found on the exchange. At this time, KuCoin supports over 380 different cryptocurrencies. Among these, as a brief overview, you can find the following 20:
|Bitcoin (BTC)||Ethereum (ETH)||Tether (USDT)|
|Binance Coin (BNB)||Cardano (ADA)||XRP (XRP)|
|USD Coin (USDC)||Dogecoin (DOGE)||Polkadot (DOT)|
|Uniswap (UNI)||Bitcoin Cash (BCH)||Litecoin (LTC)|
|Chainlink (LINK)||Polygon (MATIC)||Theta (THETA)|
|Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC)||Stellar (XLM)||Internet Computer (ICP)|
|Ethereum Classic (ETC)||Filecoin (FIL)|
These are among the biggest and successful coins. This means that you should have all your bases covered if you want to take advantage of KuCoin’s low fees. Should you still be wondering whether or not your altcoin is on the list, you can find a full description of the supported coins here.
For Soft Staking, you’ll be happy to know that you can do so for the following 23 different coins:
|Cosmos (ATOM)||EOS (EOS)||Tron (TRX)|
|Internet of Services (IOST)||Neblio (NEBL)||DeepOnion (ONION)|
|Energi (NRG)||NULS (NULS)||TomoChain (TOMO)|
|EOSForce (EOSC)||Loom Network (LOOM)||Loki (LOKI)|
|V Systems (VSYS)||Wanchain (WAN)||IoTeX (IOTX)|
|Tezos (XTZ)||Elastos (ELA)||PIVX (PIVX)|
|Ontology (ONT)||Decred (DCR)||Terra (LUNA)|
|DAI (Dai)||Kusama (KSM)|
In terms of buying crypto, you also have most of your bases covered. While the fast buy option only lets you gain access to BTC, ETH, and USDT, you can get more with their vendors. This will bring the amount of different coins that you can buy directly to over 50.
This all means that whatever you decide to move to in the crypto space, your bases should be covered. If they are not, the list of supported currencies is also always expanding. Just check back in a couple of months and you may see that the altcoin you wanted to buy is there.
It’s easy to see how KuCoin has been able to carve its space in the ever-expanding cryptocurrency world. They provide competitive fees and all the services that you need or desire from a crypto exchange. On top of that, they provide an enticing platform and a great profit-sharing system to have people adopt their KCS token.
The platform is not entirely perfect though. For one, if you are a US-based trader, you can cut this one off your list. On top of that, their help center has room for improvement.
In terms of the big hack, you can see this as both a plus or a minus. For one, it’s bad that the platform was compromised in the first place even if no real harm was done. But on the other hand, the rapid response and compensation of users were commendable. They also clearly improved from the experience with the creation of their Safeguard Program.
If you want to make an account with them, their official website is: www.kucoin.com.
In conclusion, we can all understand that nothing is perfect. The places where KuCoin does fall a little are easily compensated by the places it shines. With over 450 different cryptocurrency pairings, it’s easy to see why the platform claims that it serves one in four crypto holders worldwide.
We hope that this KuCoin exchange review has been of help. We hope to have been able to give you a good overview of what you can expect when considering KuCoin as your exchange of choice. If you are not convinced about using KuCoin, we recommend you check some of our other reviews here.
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