If you are thinking of opening an account with KuCoin or Binance.US for your crypto investments, maybe not.
While both of these exchanges offer the opportunity to buy and invest in popular cryptocurrencies, there are much better options available, and especially for beginner crypto investors. For starters, KuCoin and Binance.US are not as simple and user-friendly as major exchanges like Coinbase, eToro, or Gemini, all of which are included in our review of the best cryptocurrency exchanges.
As a decentralized exchange, KuCoin comes with a particularly steep learning curve. While Binance.US offers lower fees than other major exchanges, experts say the additional fees are worth the clear benefits of stronger security policies and protocols. Binance.US also has a history of regulatory issues that we believe investors should avoid.
But if you are a cryptocurrency investor who thinks that KuCoin or Binance.US make sense for your strategy, here is what you should know about these two cryptocurrency exchanges.
Before you start
No matter where you buy it, cryptocurrency is a highly volatile speculative investment. Only invest in cryptocurrency what you’re prepared to lose, and make sure you have other financial priorities in place first: save money in an emergency fund, contribute to retirement savings, and pay off high-interest debt balances.
side by side comparison
|Good for||Advanced traders who want access to altcoins not available elsewhere||Active trading with low fees|
|coins||600+ cryptocurrencies||More than 80 cryptocurrencies|
|Rate||Tiered creator/taker model, up to 0.3% depending on currency and level. Get a 20% discount when you pay fares with KCS.||Tiered maker/taker model. 0.1% commission on spot. You can get 25% discount on your fee if you have BNB|
|wallet storage||Store the coins on the KuCoin exchange or transfer them to your own wallet||Keep the coins in the Binance.US account or transfer them to your own wallet|
|security features||Various features including login restriction, two-factor authentication, offers security tips||Claims to keep assets in cold storage, two-factor authentication|
|Additional characteristics||• Stakeout
• Operating margin
• Trading robot
• Crypto loans
• Tax Portal
|Minimal operations||Cryptocurrency-based, with a minimum of 0.1 USDT for dollar-linked assets||$10|
Pros and cons: KuCoin vs. Binance.US
|advantage||• Access a large number of currencies
• Free USDT upon registration
• Advanced trading options, including margin
• Discount for using KCS for fares
|• Low rates
• Discount on trading fee for using BNB
• Tax return portal
• Identity verification process
|cons||• Not licensed or regulated in the United States
• You may already need to have crypto to use KuCoin
• Difficult to navigate for beginners
• Bad reviews on TrustPilot
|• Not available in Hawaii, Idaho, New York, Texas or Vermont
• Limited customer services
• History of regulatory issues
• Security information is not readily available
Both KuCoin and Binance.US offer the option to store coins on the exchange using a hot wallet. You can also transfer your coins from exchanges to an external wallet. KuCoin does not offer information about an internal wallet, but you can connect your own crypto wallet to the exchange and use it to send and receive coins.
Binance.US also does not provide any information about an internal wallet, instead suggesting that you use Trust Wallet, which is owned by Binance.
On its home page, KuCoin says that it has “the most sophisticated security technology and maintenance team, and constantly updates our security systems to ensure the safety of user accounts and assets.” Details are hard to find, but the site offers information on tools you can use to protect your account, including two-factor authentication and restricting your login IP.
KuCoin has been doing well with users when the exchange was hacked. In a 2020 incident, hackers stole users’ private keys, seized $250 million worth of crypto, and attempted to sell the coins on decentralized exchanges. KuCoin claims that users were compensated for the theft, with a combination of law enforcement and insurance coverage. Additionally, KuCoin says it has taken steps to reduce the chances of a repeat. Cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Crypto.com also suffered attacks and also refunded users and strengthened security protocols.
Binance.US mentions a commitment to security best practices on its home page, without much transparency about its methods. BAM Trading Services, the US partner of Binance.US, is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and Binance.US is a DBA under the BAM registry. The largest Binance covered customer losses from security incidents in the past, but there is no guarantee that this will apply to Binance.US losses.
Binance has faced regulatory issues before, and Binance.US is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding ties to the global company’s CEO and two trading firms that buy and sell on the platform. A spokesperson emailed us on behalf of Binance.US after our original 2021 review and stated that they operate separately, with Binance.US licensing the larger company’s trademarks, software, and wallet technology.
We reached out to KuCoin and Binance.US for comment on these issues and more information, but have not received a response. We will update this review if KuCoin or Binance.US contact us.
You may be better off looking for an exchange that is more regulated in the United States and more forthcoming about its security measures.
KuCoin offers access to more than 600 cryptocurrencies and Binance.US offers more than 80 cryptocurrencies, which is a relatively low number compared to other exchanges as well.
KuCoin (KCS) and Binance.US (BNB) offer native coins that can help you save on trading fees. BNB has a much higher market cap than KCS and could be a better investment on its own, plus it’s easier to get a discount on fees with it as just having BNB is enough. With KCS, you must specifically use the currency to pay the fare to see the discount.
If you want to use US fiat currency on KuCoin, you need to convert your fiat currency to Tether (USDT), a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar. US dollar prices on the exchange are listed in Tether.
Both KuCoin and Binance.US use a tiered maker/taker model for fees. When someone places an order that is not fulfilled immediately, he is considered a creator, since he is contributing liquidity to the exchange. When someone places an order that is immediately matched, they are considered a taker. In general, the policyholder fees are higher than the manufacturer fees at each level. Both KuCoin and Binance.US charge lower fees when you have a higher tier, indicated by monthly trading volume.
But even though KuCoin offers competitive fees, they are still not as low as the fees Binance.US charges. Additionally, you will see a higher fee discount of 25% as a BNB holder compared to the 20% discount offered to KuCoin merchants paying with KCS.
Binance.US has a maximum fee of 0.10%, while fees on KuCoin range up to 0.3% depending on the crypto asset class and its tier.
Stakeout, credit cards, other options
Both KuCoin and Binance.US offer you the opportunity to earn money by gambling when you have assets on the exchange.
KuCoin also offers a suite of products to increase your crypto wealth. This includes margin trading, which is when you trade on the exchange using borrowed funds, and the chance to enter a raffle and win more coins. You can also earn interest by lending your crypto to other investors on the platform. KuCoin offers a trading bot that helps you automate your trades, including investing smaller amounts on a regular basis (known as dollar cost averaging) and automating trades where you buy low and sell high.
One of the main problems with KuCoin is that it can be difficult to use US fiat currency on the exchange. Furthermore, it is decentralized and unregulated, making it even more risky. You can buy certain currencies, such as Tether (USDT), Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and PaxGold (PAX) using Fast Buy. You will need to verify your identity, after which you can link your bank card. You can then use fiat money to buy supported cryptocurrency coins so you can trade on the exchange. It is a roundabout way to use US fiat currency to participate in the KuCoin exchange, but please note that US residents cannot yet register to use the exchange.
Binance.US provides easy advanced tools for active traders, including real-time charts and an over-the-counter trading portal so you can match orders with other traders without going through a middleman. Binance.US also offers a tax portal designed to help you better report your crypto earnings and transactions to the IRS. (You may also want to check out a crypto wallet tracker for the same purpose.) The largest Binance offers useful information and tools that can be used to learn more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
How to decide between KuCoin and Binance.US
As mentioned, we recommend looking at other exchanges like Coinbase, Gemini, or eToro. KuCoin and Binance.US are more appropriate for intermediate to advanced crypto users than beginners, and each has accessibility or regulatory issues.
Compare fees, security, and your goals to choose a cryptocurrency exchange.
KuCoin is not licensed in the US, so if you are looking for a modicum of US-based regulation, Binance.US will be your choice. However, Binance.US is not currently available in Hawaii, Idaho, New York, Texas, or Vermont. If you are more interested in using crypto as a way to increase your wealth, KuCoin offers a variety of options to grow your crypto portfolio.