If you want access to Bitcoin and Ethereum, while at the same time trading some of the newest crypto coins on the market, KuCoin is right up your alley. With access to over 600 crypto for trading, a massive amount of trading features (including trading competitions), and very low fees, KuCoin has emerged as the place to look for the hidden gems of the crypto investing world.
KuCoin is a cryptocurrency trading platform that offers a bit of everything. From crypto trading to futures and derivatives trading, to NFT launches, to crypto trading competitions, and even raffles, KuCoin covers a lot. While this might be an experienced trader’s dream, new crypto investors may feel overwhelmed with all the choice. KuCoin does offer a simple “Buy Crypto” option for newbies, but it’s really advanced traders who are going to extract the most value out of this platform.
We’ve reviewed every nook and cranny of the KuCoin platform and can help you evaluate the trading tools, security, fees, features, and everything else you need to know to decide if KuCoin is for you.
Note: KuCoin is not currently licensed in the United States, which limits the features U.S. residents can access. KuCoin is ideal for non-U.S. crypto traders. If you’re in the U.S. we recommend Gemini or Coinbase to trade crypto.
What is KuCoin?
KuCoin is a cryptocurrency exchange based in the Seychelles that is available globally in most countries. It was founded in 2017 as “The People’s Exchange,” placing an emphasis on listing up-and-coming crypto coins before they hit the larger exchanges. The CEO, Michael Gan, is a bit of a crypto legend himself, mining Bitcoin as early as 2012, and coming up with the idea for KuCoin in 2013.
KuCoin has since become one of the largest crypto exchanges (by volume) in the world, boasting over 10 million users, and over $1 trillion in transactions processed to date. Over time, KuCoin has evolved from a simple crypto exchange to a full-featured crypto platform that offers crypto lending, token launches, crypto mining, NFT launches, and even competitions and raffles to earn crypto rewards.
Simply put, KuCoin is a fantastic exchange for advanced crypto traders looking for the “next big thing” in crypto, but new investors may struggle to use a majority of the platform.
How does KuCoin work?
You can sign up for a KuCoin account using an email address and a password. No name or address information is required (yet).
After verifying your email address, you can immediately sign in and begin using the platform. KuCoin does not require “Know-Your-Customer” (KYC) identity verification to use the platform but limits many of the features until you have done so.
Note: As mentioned earlier, if you are a U.S. resident, you will not be able to verify your identity and unlock all the features KuCoin has to offer. Passing KYC involves providing the following information:
- Full name.
- Identification number.
- Picture of a photo ID (like your passport).
- A selfie of your face.
You may also be required to take a selfie while holding your identification card and a hand-written sign with the date and a one-time code on it (yes, really).
There are three main tiers of identity verification:
|Level||Withdrawal limts (per day)|
|KYC 1||1 BTC|
|KYC 2||200 BTC|
Unverified: This is the initial level when you first create your account. This is also the only tier U.S. residents can operate under.
KYC 1: This tier involves submitting your name, birth date, country, phone number, and street address.
KYC 2: In addition to the KYC 1 info, you will need to provide a picture of a photo ID (like your driver’s license) and take a selfie of your face.
Identity verification may take a few days due to the volume of requests that KuCoin receives.
Once you create an account and verify, you can fund it by depositing cryptocurrency from your digital wallet to the platform. Under your account settings, you can choose “Deposit” and select “Deposit Crypto.” Select which crypto you would like to transfer and the amount. You will need to transfer the crypto from your digital wallet directly to the KuCoin wallet address listed.
Warning: Make sure to deposit to the EXACT address listed, as sending the wrong crypto to the wrong address will lose it forever.
Once your account is funded, you can begin trading. KuCoin offers a wide selection of trading platforms, including spot trading, margin trading, futures trading, leveraged tokens, and even a customizable trading bot. Each platform offers a different approach to cryptocurrency trading, and allows users to buy, sell, and exchange supported cryptocurrencies.
Related: How to invest in cryptocurrency: a beginner’s guide
KuCoin offers very low trading fees and no fees for crypto deposits. This makes it one of the best places for high-volume traders to keep costs low. It does, however, charge a surcharge to purchase crypto with a debit or credit card.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the fees on KuCoin:
While there are no deposit fees for crypto, KuCoin does charge a 3% fee for depositing fiat currency. Since KuCoin is mostly a crypto-only platform, depositing fiat may not be worth the cost.
KuCoin charges a fee to withdraw crypto from the platform, and each cryptocurrency has its own minimum withdrawal amounts and fees. Instead of listing all 600+ here, you can view the withdrawal fees on the KuCoin help center.
KuCoin offers very low trading fees, with most trades being charged 0.3% or less. There are multiple tiers of fees for different types of coins. The most popular coins are “Class A” coins and enjoy the lowest fees. The smaller coins with less trading volume are “Class B” and “Class C” and charge slightly higher fees.
A full breakdown of KuCoin trading fees can be found on the KuCoin website.
KuCoin utilizes a maker-taker fee model, with maker fees being charged when your trade order is not matched immediately, and taker fees are charged when your order is matched against an order already on the order book.
Here are the basic fees for Class A cryptocurrencies on KuCoin. You’ll notice the fees are given a discount based on the monthly trading volume:
|30-day trading volume (measured in BTC)||Maker / taker||Taker fee|
There are also discounts given to users who hold a certain amount of the native KuCoin token (KCS). In addition, users paying their trading fees with KCS tokens receive an additional 20% discount on trading fees.
Bottom line: Even in the highest fee bracket, KuCoin charges lower fees than other exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini.
KuCoin offers a wide range of trading features and tools for even the most experienced crypto traders. From spot, futures, and margin trading, to crypto lending and crypto mining, KuCoin has something for every crypto trader. Here are a few of the standout features of the platform:
KuCoin trading platform
KuCoin offers all the bells and whistles advanced crypto traders expect, including built-in TradingView charts, live order books, and multiple order types (market, limit, and stop-loss). Since there are so many cryptocurrencies to choose from, KuCoin organizes the coins by type, including Altcoins, DeFi, Metaverse, and NFT crypto.
You can also create a list of favorites to quickly access the coins you are interested in. KuCoin offers a news feed, as well as customized alerts to keep you up to speed on the market. Overall, KuCoin offers a decent trading experience with a lot of built-in tools for quick access to what you need all in one window.
KuCoin offers margin trading to all account holders, even if you are an “unverified” user. This allows you to borrow against your holdings to place trades with up to 10x margin. This means that you only have to put up 10% of the collateral for a trade, increasing your gains (or losses) on a trade.
Margin trading carries the risk of liquidation if your debt ratio reaches 97%. When you trade with 10x margin, your debt ratio starts at 80%, and if the value of your trade drops too drastically, KuCoin will liquidate your open position to repay the debts owed. The high risk of margin trading means it should be reserved for advanced crypto traders only.
Options and futures trading
KuCoin offers futures trading on select cryptocurrencies with up to 5x leverage for unverified accounts, and up to 100x leverage for KYC-verified accounts. There are two types of futures contracts: delivery futures and perpetual futures.
Delivery futures contracts are an agreement to buy or sell crypto at a specific price on a future date. The contracts expire on the last day of the specific month of the contract (for example, the December delivery futures contract expires Dec. 31). These contracts are also tradable until expiry.
Perpetual futures are a Bitcoin futures contract with no expiration date and can be traded at any time. Both long and short positions are available, and profit is made based on the direction of the price of Bitcoin for that contract (long = up, short = down).
Overall, KuCoin derivatives are an advanced trading product that is ideal for experienced crypto investors and professional traders.
Users that want to earn interest on their crypto can become a lender for margin accounts on the KuCoin platform. You must deposit the crypto you want to lend on the platform, select the term length (7, 14, or 28 days), as well as a minimum interest rate to charge.
Once the borrowing rates rise above your selected interest rate, your crypto will be lent to a borrower, and interest will be paid out daily. To withdraw your lent assets, you will need to wait until the loan is closed and the borrowed amount is paid back.
You can also set up the “auto-lend” features, which allows you to reserve a certain balance in your main account, and any funds above the reserved amount will automatically be lent out to earn interest.
If you don’t want to lend your crypto, but still want to earn interest, the KuCoin Earn feature allows you to deposit your crypto into a savings account or staking program to earn crypto rewards. There are several types of savings accounts available, and some of the less-known coins offer much higher interest rates for short-term savings promotions.
You can also “stake” your crypto, which locks your crypto into the blockchain to help secure the network and process transactions, and in turn, you will receive interest payments.
KuCoin has recently launched its trading bot feature, allowing you to set up a bot that executes trades on your behalf. There are several types of bots available, all with their own parameters and settings to help you make profitable trades without actively monitoring the market.
- Spot grid bot: This bot sets specific buy and sell levels to help buy when prices drop and sell when they rise.
- Futures grid bot: This bot buys and sells futures contracts at specific levels to maximize profits (long or short positions).
- Smart rebalance bot: This bot buys several assets and rebalances over time.
- DCA bot: This bot sets up recurring purchases on a regular schedule.
- Infinity grid bot: Available on the KuCoin app, this bot is similar to a grid up, but with no upper-limit on how high the price can go.
Crypto bots are an advanced strategy and are reserved for more experienced crypto traders.
My experience with KuCoin
KuCoin is designed for advanced crypto traders, but even as a novice, I was able to navigate all of the features and gain a basic understanding of how they work. Having traded cryptocurrency on platforms like Coinbase in the past, KuCoin’s trading interface was familiar, and I was able to place basic trades with no issue.
The futures trading platform was too complicated for me, but there is a “Futures Lite” version that made it a bit less complicated. Not one to gamble my money with leverage, I opted not to trade futures, but felt that I could understand the process on the “Lite” platform. I would love to have seen a test trading account for the futures platform to help me get more familiar with the process.
Overall, KuCoin is fairly intuitive for intermediate to advanced crypto traders, and offers a whole lot more coins than most crypto exchanges.
Who is KuCoin best for?
Experienced crypto traders
KuCoin, like its parent platform, is designed for advanced traders, through and through. With a huge selection of customizable trading tools, low trading fees, access to margin and derivatives trading, and even a bot programming platform, experienced crypto traders will feel right at home on this platform.
Crypto “hidden gem” seekers
KuCoin offers far more coins than most crypto exchanges (600+), with a ton of “hidden gem” crypto investments that have not hit the mainstream just yet. For investors looking for that next “big thing” in crypto, trading on KuCoin may help them get in early on an up-and-coming crypto project.
Who shouldn’t use KuCoin?
New crypto investors
While KuCoin is a fairly intuitive platform overall, new investors that wander over to the “trade” section will quickly be overwhelmed with all the choices. Add to that the dozens of other trading and investing features on the platform, and crypto newbies may be scared to click anything on the platform.
If you’re new to crypto, Coinbase or Gemini™ may be a better starting point. Each platform offers a simpler user experience, and the ability to buy crypto without needing to understand charts or complicated orders.
Pros & cons
- Advanced crypto trading tools. TradingView charts, live order books, and even a trading bot, giving advanced traders access to all the tools they need.
- Access to margin and crypto derivatives trading. Multiple types of futures contracts, up to 100x margin, and even futures trading competitions make KuCoin ideal for leveraged trading.
- 600+ cryptocurrencies. One of the largest selections of crypto on the market makes KuCoin ideal for those looking for less popular crypto to trade.
- Very low fees. KuCoin charges rock-bottom fees even for the most basic trades, all the way down to 0.0% for high-volume traders or those that hold large quantities of the KCS token.
- Not licensed in the U.S. As an unlicensed exchange, there is more risk for U.S. users when using the platform. U.S. users cannot verify their account, limiting some of the features on the platform as well.
- Too advanced for beginners. The amount of trading features is overwhelming, and new users may quickly run for the hills (or, ya know, a simpler crypto exchange).
KuCoin vs. competitors
|Fees (maker/taker)||Up to 0.00%/0.30%, depending on 30-day trade volume or KCS balance.||$0.99–$2.99, for orders below $200.|
1.49%–3.99% for trades over $200.
Advanced: Up to 0.60%/0.60%, depending on 30-day trade volume.
|$0.99–$2.99, for orders below $200.
1.49%–3.49% for trades over $200.
|Trading options||Buy/sell, margin, futures/derivatives, lending, NFTs, interest accounts.||Buy/sell, staking.||Buy/sell, earn interest.|
|Funding options||Debit card, credit card, crypto deposit.||Wire transfer, ACH, debit card, PayPal, crypto deposit.||Wire transfer, ACH, debit card, crypto deposit.|
|Currency selection||600+ crypto, 70+ fiat||160+ crypto, 5 fiat||90+ crypto, 7 fiat|
|Verification process||2–3 days||2–3 minutes||2–3 minutes|
Coinbase is the most popular U.S. crypto exchange, with a selection of over 160 cryptocurrencies and a simple platform designed for beginners. The Coinbase app makes it easy to buy and sell crypto, as well as earn rewards through its educational programs.
Coinbase charges fairly high fees for smaller transactions, with minimum fee amounts costing up to 9%. Coinbase also charges a 3.49% fee for crypto purchases with a debit or credit card, but to be fair, KuCoin charges about 3%, so it is fairly close. Unlike KuCoin, Coinbase offers a Visa debit card, allowing you to make purchases with your crypto balance. Overall, Coinbase is great for beginners, but charges higher fees than most.
Get started with Coinbase or read our full review.
Gemini™ is an easy-to-use crypto exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins (of Facebook infamy) that focuses heavily on security and user experience. With access to 90+ crypto, an intuitive mobile app, and one of the only exchanges with insurance on their digital wallet, Gemini™ is a great option for beginners.
Like Coinbase, Gemini™ charges higher fees to casual investors on the platform who simply want to buy crypto, charging up to 3.49% for credit card purchases, and 1.49% for standard trades. While the fees are high, the user experience is perfect for newbies, making it a decent choice for those just getting into the crypto world. Overall, Gemini™ offers a simple and secure way to invest in crypto.
Get started with Gemini™ or read our full review.
KuCoin is a great place to hunt for the next huge project in crypto, offering way more coins than most popular exchanges. Add to that the huge selection of trading tools and platforms, as well as access to several ways to earn interest on crypto holdings, and KuCoin is a great all-in-one platform for experienced crypto traders.
KuCoin is not licensed in the U.S., which is a bummer, because some of the advanced trading features and withdrawal limits are only available to non-U.S. investors. There is also the risk that U.S. users could lose access to their crypto holdings on KuCoin should U.S. regulators block unlicensed crypto exchanges from operating in the country. This risk may make U.S. residents think twice about using KuCoin or keeping their crypto on the platform.
Overall, KuCoin is an immensely popular crypto exchange for non-U.S. traders that want all the trading features at their fingertips, and access to one of the largest selections of crypto on the planet.
Featured image: Vladimir Kazakov/Shutterstock.com