TL;DR- while the formal answer to this question is “no”, the more accurate answer would be “partially”. In the US, you can register a KuCoin account and trade on the platform, but you’ll be unable to be complete the full registration process. The good news here is that you live in the US (any state) you can get access to all the exotic alt coins on KuCoin. Below I’ll show you how.
How is KuCoin ‘partially’ available in the US?
You won’t be able to connect KuCoin to your bank account- meaning you’ll need to buy your coins on one of Coinbase, Gemini, Kraken, Binance.US, or Voyager. You’ll then send these funds to your KuCoin wallets for those specific cryptos. Likewise, to cash out you’ll need to send your coins back to the exchange you purchased them on. This can suck depending on the exchange- for instance, Coinbase has astronomical fees.
There are additional limitations on accounts that haven’t completed the full Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process (which you can’t do if you’re in the US).
Leveraged trading on KuCoin futures is limited to 5x, instead of the 20x available to verified users. In all honesty, this is probably a good thing. Using leverage in crypto is the definition of insanity. The asset class is already so incredibly volatile that applying leverage dramatically increases your chances of losing all your money. I do speak from personal experience here.
If you’re ready to get started, follow my tutorial for setting up and funding your KuCoin account.
Is KuCoin Legit?
KuCoin is one of the world’s largest crypto trading platforms, with one in four crypto traders wordwide using their platform. KuCoin’s headquarters are in Seychelles, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Most of KuCoin’s staff operate in Singapore.
My experience with KuCoin has been awesome. I love that they have hundreds of exotic altcoins, allow futures trading (complete with shorts and using leverage), have functionality to set stop losses and take profits, and provide a staking platform.
Regardless, cryptocurrency is still an asset class that’s 12-15x more volatile than stocks. So don’t ever wander around the cryptosphere thinking you’re ‘safe’. It’s a jungle out here. Someday it won’t be, but returns will be much lower when that day comes. We are the ones who will reap the greatest rewards for being early.
There are rumors throughout crypto that KuCoin is in talks with US regulators to introduce a US-specific trading platform. This would be akin to Binance.US, which is great but is a watered-down offering of Binance. The thing that make KuCoin most attractive is its robust coin offering- any reduced version of this would remove most its value to US users.
Risks of using KuCoin in the US
There are a few risks when using KuCoin in the US. First, KuCoin does not offer the same level of support for unverified accounts for fraud, theft, or hacking. Second, the US could take steps to crack down on unlicensed exchanges operating in the US and freeze accounts. Implementation of this would be tough though, and counter to free-market principles popular with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
How to safely use KuCoin in the US
First and foremost is to always practice good cybersecurity hygiene. Setting up two-factor authentication (2FA) is a must with all your crypto accounts including KuCoin. Choosing a strong password is crucial as well. When you set up your account, make sure you also set up your KuCoin trading password. KuCoin does have decent customer service, but dealing with any lockout issues is often painful and requires a few days of email ping-pong.
Not financial advice, but I wouldn’t have all my crypto portfolio eggs in the KuCoin basket. KuCoin is a way for me to invest in smaller altcoins like LUNA, AVAX, and others. Small caps make up a small percentage of my portfolio- my main holdings are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano. I hold these large caps in my hardware wallets.
The IRS now requires reporting of gains and losses on digital assets. While Coinbase keeps track of this and provides a form to help you with your tax filing, with KuCoin you’ll need to view your trade history and take inventory. Since KuCoin doesn’t officially operate in the US, they aren’t required to report anything to the IRS.
With FUD, fraud, and financial turbulence, cryptocurrency is an innately dangerous game. There are also a lot of fees. I like Warren Buffett’s adage about trading and portfolio activity- “with investing, as motion increases, returns decrease.” Don’t just do something, stand there! KuCoin can be a great exchange to add some alts to your portfolio.