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KuCoin

KuCoin is a  operating in more than 200 countries. KuCoin is a full-featured spot trading platform for many digital assets and , including , , , , and more. The exchange has its own , known as KuCoin Shares (KCS).[1]

History

Beginnings

KuCoin was founded by and Eric Don, both early blockchain enthusiasts, who recognized the potential of to democratize finance. Inspired by the complexity of existing platforms, they sought to create a user-friendly exchange accessible to all.

In late 2013, they initiated KuCoin's development, aiming to establish a "People's Exchange" for participation. KuCoin officially launched on September 15, 2017, with collaboration from Top Lan, Kent Li, John Lee, Jack Zhu, and Linda Lin.[34][35]

‘Empty Office' Rumor

In August 2018, the Medium user known as Jackson Wong discovered that the crypto exchange KuCoin had an empty office in Hong Kong. KuCoin responded to an "empty office" claim, asserting that its operational headquarters were in fact in Singapore. The company’s response stated:

“In fact, KuCoin’s public address in Hong Kong is merely a mailing address of one of KuCoin’s many subsidiary companies. KuCoin Headquarters is in Singapore. KuCoin has always been a global firm, with over 300 employees and four major offices in China, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.”

The exchange’s current geographic situation is not clear. On its website, the company profile states it “operates in Seychelles,” a jurisdiction not mentioned in its 2018 blog post. Unlike , and , KuCoin did not file with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to request a deferral of the requirement to operate without a payments license. Without a license or a deferral, KuCoin cannot legally operate in Singapore. [3]

$20million Venture Capital Funding

In November 2018, KuCoin secured $20 million in funding from notable venture capitalists like IDG Capital, Matrix Partners, and Neo's venture capital arm. This equity-based investment aimed to support KuCoin's global expansion, technological advancements, and the establishment of an investment division.

Former CEO viewed this funding as a catalyst for new opportunities. It was said to primarily facilitate team expansion and platform enhancements geared towards professional traders.[40]

Corporate Restructuring

On October 14, 2019, directors of Singapore-based PhoenixFin Pte Limited, the legal entity behind KuCoin, resigned without public announcement. Co-founders and Tang Ke, along with Lian Meng representing financial backers IDG Capital, stepped down. Two days later, the KuCoin trademark was transferred from MEK Global to FortuneIcon, both Seychelles-based entities.

New directors, including You Au, were appointed after the co-founders' departure. On November 20, 2019, ownership of PhoenixFin Pte Limited shifted from PhoenixFin Limited to You Au, though his prior relation to KuCoin is unclear.

On March 17, 2020, KuCoin announced a corporate restructuring, forming KuGroup with three business groups: KuCoin Global, KuCloud, and KuChain & KCS Business Group. This came shortly before investigations by U.S.-based law firms Schall and Chase Williams into alleged false statements and selling of unregistered securities, respectively. [5]

Singapore Court Restrictions

In April 2020,  reported that KuCoin.com, the primary web domain of the KuCoin exchange, was locked since the end of March by order of the High Court of Singapore. The court issued a temporary injunction on March 24 barring KuCoin from moving its assets, including its website, from the country. A March 30 email from domain registrar GoDaddy provided to showed that GoDaddy was complying with the court order. [4]

Hacking Incident

On September 26, 2020, the KuCoin exchange team said in a statement that it detected large withdrawals of , and other  tokens to an unknown wallet beginning at 19:05 UTC time on Friday, September 25, 2020. In a live stream Chief Executive Officer, said that one or more hackers obtained the private keys to the exchange’s hot wallets. KuCoin transferred what was left in them to new hot wallets, abandoned the old ones, and froze customer deposits and withdrawals. He also claimed that KuCoin’s cold wallets were unaffected. He did not disclose the number of cryptocurrency assets that were stolen but said that KuCoin would release the hacker’s wallet address and a list of stolen funds. This is what he said additionally in the statement.

“We are in contact with many major crypto exchanges such as Huobi, Binance, OKEx, BitMax and Bybit, as well as blockchain projects, security agencies, and law enforcement to work on this. Some effective measures have been taken, and we will update with more details soon.”

Reports on the various portals estimate the breach to have affected $150 million USD in user funds. Later on the same day, the KuCoin team released information and suspicious addresses involved in hacking activity. It confirmed that the damage was worse than was initially thought, closer to $200 million. Some of the other tokens were also affected, including Velo, VIDT, SNTR, and . According to the update,  company froze the assets of the 20,000,000 withdrawn from KuCoin and helped KuCoin to recover funds. [2]

On September 28, 2020, CEO Johnny Lyu announced that the KuCoin team worked with , KAI Chain, NOIA Network, VELO, VIDT Datalink, #Silent Notary, , Opacity (OPQ) &  to resolve the incident, and the affected tokens of these projects are safe or in a position to be recovered now.

Commenting on the hack, Charlie Cai, the media manager at KuCoin, told CoinTelegraph that a total of 130 million of the stolen digital tokens had already been secured or in the process of being recovered by the KuCoin security team. In this regard, Cai further stated that Tether (USDT) had successfully frozen a total of 22 million USDT stablecoins that were compromised while Velo Labs, too, announced that it will redeploy and replace each of the VELO tokens that were transferred as part of the heist. He added: “The 122 million VELO tokens (about $75.7 million) that were affected will be invalidated.”

According to data from crypto transaction tracking service Whale Alert, on September 28, KuCoin hackers kept sending thousands of dollars worth of Token (SNX) to . Alongside using to send stolen SNX tokens, KuCoin hackers also moved $5 million in and SNX to unknown wallets, according to Whale Alert data. A spokesperson at Whale Alert elaborated to  that at least $4.2 million out of this amount was actually converted into using and . Analysts at Whale Alert were able to identify at least three addresses containing dirty coming from the KuCoin hack. [1]

On September 27, artificial intelligence and data service  announced that it had migrated from its old token address to a new one to thwart the KuCoin hacker’s attempts to offload 21 million OCEAN tokens worth some $8.6 million. According to a Sept. 27 blog post from the team:

“At 1600 GMT, a new contract was instantiated reflecting the balances of OCEAN as of block height 10943665 on the Ethereum mainnet. The new smart contract will allocate stolen token balances to an address which will be held in trust in Singapore for persons affected by the theft.”

On October 3, 2020, KuCoin exchange CEO updated the public in regard to the security incident.

“A quick update since my last live stream on Sep 30. After a thorough investigation, we have found the suspects of the KuCoin Security Incident with substantial proof at hand. Law enforcement officials and police are officially involved to take action. With great support from our partners in the industry, another $64 million in assets are now out of the control of the suspicious addresses, bringing the total value to $204 million since Oct 1.”

The KuCoin CEO added:

"KuCoin is coming back to full functionality. My team and I will continue to do our best to offset the impact of the incident. As of now, a total of 31 tokens have opened [for] deposits [and] withdrawal services, and more tokens including BTC, ETH, and USDT will follow."

CryptocurrencyNo.of tokensValue of Hacked coin in USD (Sep 26, 2020)Suspicious Hacker AddressesPrecautionary Measure
1,008 BTC$10.1 Million1NRsEQRg5EjmJHbPUX7YADVPcPzCQBkyU7
 and ERC Tokens~12 ETH and rest are tokens$153 Million0xeb31973e0febf3e3d7058234a5ebbae1ab4b8c23$20 Million USDT frozen by Tether Company
26,733 LTC$1.2 MillionLQtFoidy5TmLrPP77MZzgMRffqPsmRfMXE
18,495,798 XRP$4.5 Millionr3mZvvHVLPtRWAujzBsAoXqH11jhwQZvzY
14,713 BSV$2.2 Million15mC7zKbLyErSKzGRHpy6gyqS7GyRpWjEi
9,588,383 XLM$705, 522GBM3PJWNB5VKNOFXCDTTNXPMUNBMYTLAAPYDIIKLHUGMKX7ZGN2FNGFU
228,952,838 TRX$6.3 MillionTB3j1gUXaLXXq2bstiSMfjQ9R7Yh9DdDgK
 ( on Omni and EOS blockchains)~ 14 million USDT$14 Million1NRsEQRg5EjmJHbPUX7YADVPcPzCQBkyU7Frozen By Bitfinex

NFT Creators Fund

In April 2022, KuCoin launched a $100 million fund for creators to support early-stage projects. The KuCoin Creators Fund is a collaborative effort between Windvane and the venture capital arm of the exchange, KuCoin Ventures. The designated categories encompass art, sports, profile pictures (PFPs), Asian culture, celebrities, and GameFi, as outlined in the provided press release. [20]

Internal Restructuring

On May 17th, 2022, KuCoin announced internal restructuring efforts. CEO assumed the role of Chairman of KuGroup, a newly established entity comprising three business divisions: KuCoin Global, KuCloud, and KuChain & KCS Ecosystem.

, previously the exchange's co-founder and vice president, succeeded as Chief Executive Officer. With this change, aimed to concentrate primarily on KuCoin Global's global strategy and blockchain technology exploration, while , as the new CEO of KuCoin Global, would oversee key products such as KuCoin, KuMEX, and Pool-X.[36]

Netherlands Controversy

In December 2022, the Dutch Central Bank accused KuCoin of operating without a license in the Netherlands. De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) stated that MEK Global Limited (MGL), a company registered in Seychelles and operating as KuCoin in the Netherlands, lacks a "legal registration" with the DNB. A representative from KuCoin stated that the company is registered in the Seychelles and does not maintain an office in the Netherlands. [19]

New York State Lawsuit

In March 2023, New York State Attorney General Letitia James initiated a lawsuit against KuCoin, asserting that the Seychelles-based exchange was in violation of securities laws. The allegation was based on the exchange's offering of tokens, including , which are considered securities, without proper registration with the attorney general's office.[18]

Overview

Users can buy, sell, and trade more than 400 in KuCoin. The exchange offers services such as spot, margin, futures, and , as well as lending and . [2]

In September 2023, KuCoin marked its 6th anniversary by surpassing 30 million users. During the same month, the exchange listed Paypal’s stablecoin. [15][16]

In July 2023, KuCoin announced it to be considering a reduction in its staff as part of a standard personnel adjustment. Some Twitter sources shared that the exchange planned to lay off as many as 30% of its employees, but the company refuted any intention of conducting significant layoffs.

Windvane NFT Marketplace

Windvane is a decentralized marketplace powered by KuCoin. Users have access to a wide range of through KuCoin's cross-chain aggregator, providing a convenient selection of top on Windvane's platform. To celebrate the launch of the platform, Hurricane Round All were offered to users for free. [21]

KuCoin Account Verification

On November 1, 2018, KuCoin implemented verification. Verified users get benefits such as increased daily withdrawal limits or simplified account recovery in case of a lost password or two-factor authentication device. [1]

KuCoin has three verification levels:

  • Unverified account. It requires email verification and lets a user withdraw up to 2 per 24 hours.
  • Verified Individual account. Requires a user to submit their identity details such as ID or passport, as well as their country of residence, and increases their withdrawal limit to 100 per 24 hours.
  • Verified institutional account. Increases a user's withdrawal limit to 500 per 24 hours. [2]

In June 2020, KuCoin announced its partnership with crypto on-chain analytics and surveillance company Chainalysis in order to increase its compliance efforts further. [4]

In June 2023, KuCoin introduced mandatory checks starting the following month. Users not completing the process are not able to trade or make deposits. [17]

KuCoin Mandatory KYC

On July 15th, 2023, KuCoin implemented a mandatory for users who wish to use all the features on the exchange. Without , users are limited to very basic features, while users who verify themselves have access to all the markets and features provided. [13]

Existing users who are non- users are not able to deposit their funds into their accounts.

KuCoin Futures

KuCoin launched its Futures (previously known as KuMEX) platform in mid-2019. It allows users to trade  and  (USDT) margined contracts with up to 100x leverage. There are two versions of KuCoin Futures - one designated for beginners (lite version) and one oriented towards more experienced traders (pro version). [2]

The Lite interface lets a user trade USDT-Margined and (ETH) contracts, as well as -margined futures contracts. [1]

The Pro interface is more advanced and allows users to switch between the following contracts:

  • -margined: perpetual, perpetual
  • -margined: perpetual, Quarterly 0925, and Quarterly 1225

KuCoin Staking and Lending Programs

KuCoin also offers its users the ability to employ their digital assets in a variety of staking and lending programs. These include:

KuCoin Spotlight IEO platform

Aside from trading, , exchange, and swapping services, KuCoin also has its initial exchange offering (IEO) launchpad, known as KuCoin Spotlight. Users can invest in new crypto projects, all vetted and supported by KuCoin. The launchpad has funded several IEOs, namely, Tokoin, , , , Bitbns, Trias, and VELO. To participate in KuCoin’s IEOs, users need to have a verified account. Most of the offerings use KuCoin Shares (KCS) as the main currency of the crowdsale.[2]

KuCoin Shares (KCS)

KuCoin Shares (KCS) were used to fund the creation of the exchange. In total, 200,000,000 KCS were issued and distributed to founders, private investors, and regular investors. Funds issued in the first and second phases are subject to four (September 2, 2021, for phase one) and two-year lock-up periods (September 2, 2019, for phase two).

The initial supply of KCS was set at 200 million, but the number has been declining as roughly 10% of all the exchange profits each quarter is used to buy back KCS and burn them in order to support higher prices. This buyback and burn will continue until just 100 million KCS remain. KuCoin has named this the “buy-back” program. [10]

KCS holders have the following benefits:

  • Receive daily cryptocurrency dividends
  • Get a trading fee discount (min. 1000 KCS for 1% discount; max 30,000 KCS for 30% discount)
  • More trading pairs, including , and Go.
  • Experience exclusive KCS holder perks and offers.

Lock-up Period

The 70 million KCS issued by the founders in the first phase were subject to a four-year lock-up period from Sep 2nd, 2017 to September 2nd, 2021. Founders were prohibited from assigning or selling their KCS holdings in any way before September 2nd, 2018. Team members could only assign or sell 25% of their largest historical exchange volume in 365 natural days from Sep 3rd, 2018 to the end of the lock-up period.

The 30 million KCS exchanged by the consultants and angel investors in the second phase were subject to a two-year lock-up period from Sep 2nd, 2017 to Sep 2nd, 2019. Holders were not allowed to assign or sell their KCS holdings in any way before September 2nd, 2018. They could only assign or sell 50% of their largest historical exchange volume in 365 natural days from September 3rd, 2018 to the end of the lock-up period. The 100 million KCS issued by public users suffered no lock-up period and opened for exchange on Sep 2nd, 2017. [8][9]

Buy-back Mechanism

After the KuCoin platform opened for use, at least 10% of the net profit was applied to the buy-back of KCS every quarter. The KCS retrieved through buy-back are destroyed immediately. The buy-back record was released to the public, so that users can review it via a , to ensure the open and transparent nature of the whole process. The team will continue the process until 100 million KCS destroyed. [7]

KuCoin Labs

On April 15, 2021, KuCoin announced the official launch of KuCoin Labs, an incubator and research arm in the KuCoin ecosystem. As the first step, KuCoin Labs also established a 50 million fund to empower the development of early-stage crypto projects. The predecessor of KuCoin Labs was the investment and incubation team, which was established by KuCoin in May 2018. KuCoin Labs possesses a portfolio of over 50 projects including  (AR),  (MTV),  (CTK), OneLedger,  (LYXe), and  (ANKR), in sectors such as infrastructure, , and . [12]

Besides investments in building projects directly at an early stage, KuCoin Labs also empowers the development of high-quality projects through marketing and PR support, business partnership support, secondary market fast-track, technical support, legal advice, business planning, token economy design, and more. [12]

Incubation Program

In December 2022, KuCoin announced the launch of its first incubation program to accelerate builders and enable sustainable growth and success in the space. The first season, called Astro Selection, was an eight-week program that focused on Gamefi, , and . This incubation program had five main components: an eight-week journey, all-round guidance, a strong mentor line-up, additional investment, and networking resources. [11]

KuCard

KuCard is a VISA debit card issued by KuCoin. Users get benefits such as instant crypto-to-fiat conversion, exclusive rewards and benefits, a wide range of , and services such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. The card is supported in most countries in Europe and the United Kingdom. [14]
wiki

KuCoin Programs

Global Titan Ambassador Program

KuCoin's Global Titan Ambassador Program aims to establish partnerships and facilitate exchange growth by prioritizing top projects. Through collaborations with industry influencers and professionals, the program seeks to reduce investment risks for users.

Professional investment organizations and influential individuals are invited to participate in KuCoin's Global Titan Ambassador Program, offering priority consideration for projects and direct communication with research teams. [37][38]

Referral Bonus Program

The Referral Bonus Program is a popular feature offered to KuCoin users. Participants can earn a percentage of trading fees from individuals they refer to the platform, provided the referred users enter their unique referral code upon signup.

This bonus extends for one year, and users can also earn additional bonuses for referrals made by those they initially referred. Commission earnings can reach up to 20% of friends' trading fees, with the flexibility to distribute a portion of the commission to referred friends.[38][39]

KuCoin Bonus Program

The KuCoin Bonus Program rewards users based on their holdings of KCS (KuCoin Shares), requiring a minimum of six KCS to participate. The program utilizes 50% of KuCoin's trading fees to purchase KCS from the market and redistribute them to users.

Alongside the daily bonus for KCS holders, participants also benefit from discounted trading fees determined by their KCS holdings.[38]

Global Communities Program

The Global Communities Program was initiated to enhance user experience by catering to diverse user groups. KuCoin has established active communities in various languages including English, Chinese, Russian, Italian, Vietnamese, Turkish, and Spanish. This program aims to create inclusive spaces that address the specific needs and preferences of different user demographics.[38]

Partnerships

KuCoin x HackenProof

In March 2023, KuCoin announced a collaboration with cybersecurity firm to initiate a bug bounty program valued at $1 million. This program represents the highest reward offered by a exchange for identifying vulnerabilities. Simultaneously, KuCoin introduced a new Security Landing Page on its website as part of this partnership. [22]

KuCoin x The Crypto App

The Crypto App is a platform where users can gather insights, conduct research, and analyze potential trades and investments before using the KuCoin exchange. After trading on KuCoin, users can synchronize their accounts with The Crypto App or self-custodial wallets, allowing for real-time tracking of their portfolios. This partnership is focused on improving the overall user experience by offering a comprehensive set of tools for crypto users. [23]

KuCoin x Sui

From May to July 2023, KuCoin Labs and co-hosted the Labs X Sui Summer Hackathon, a global online event. KuCoin has partnered with Sui following a successful launch on KuCoin Spotlight in April 2023. [24]

With the Sui Network's mainnet live, the hackathon has been organized to encourage global innovators to compete for a total prize pool of US$285,000. The event progressed through three main stages: registration, shortlisting, and a demo day, which was planned to be held both online and offline. [24]

KuCoin x TON Foundation

KuCoin Ventures, the investment arm of KuCoin Exchange, has partnered with the TON Foundation to support the development of the TON ecosystem. Through a substantial grant, KuCoin Ventures aims to assist five TON-based mini-apps focusing on payments or GameFi, while also fueling initiatives such as the Future3 Campus and TON Bootcamp with intend to promote innovation and community-building within the TON ecosystem.[25]

KuCoin x Biis

KuCoin Labs has collaborated with Biis, a tool aggregator, with the goal of enhancing the BTC ecosystem. This partnership aims to improve user experience with BRC tokens through Biis's advanced tool aggregation capabilities. Lou Yu, head of KuCoin Labs, expressed support for the partnership, highlighting its alignment with their commitment to innovation in projects.[26]

KuCoin x Zoopia

KuCoin Labs has partnered with Zoopia, a platform focused on ecosystem staking, with the aim to enhance the () ecosystem. This collaboration aims to improve the user experience with BRC tokens by offering secure staking opportunities and fostering token growth. KuCoin Labs will support Zoopia in achieving its milestones, reflecting its dedication to advancing -native projects.[27]

KuCoin x OOFP

KuCoin Labs has collaborated with OOFP, a project in the ecosystem offering value-added services for assets like inscriptions, runes, and . OOFP aims to enhance asset growth through mining vault pools and strategies, fostering a vibrant ecosystem. This partnership reflects KuCoin Labs' commitment to innovation, driving advancements in the BTC ecosystem for improved user experience and industry innovation.[28]

KuCoin x ETGM

KuCoin Labs partners with ETGM, a digital currency initiative combining community engagement with space exploration themes. ETGM's Telegram bot facilitates asset management across prominent . Lou Yu, head of KuCoin Labs, sees this collaboration as in line with their commitment to innovation. The partnership aims to improve user experience and broaden blockchain accessibility.[29]

KuCoin x Coinweb

KuCoin Labs, KuCoin's investment arm, partners with , a key player in tech, to support its expansion. Projects backed by Labs gain access to investment opportunities and KuCoin exchange listings, streamlining growth.

Lou Yu, Head of KuCoin Labs, aims to support innovation, while Toby Gilbert, CEO, seeks to drive ecosystem growth. This partnership reflects KuCoin Labs' confidence in tech, attracting developers to build on its platform. [30]

KuCoin x Mocaverse x Halo Wallet

KuCoin teams up with Mocaverse and Halo Wallet to redefine on-chain identity and enhance user experiences across ecosystems. Through integration, users gain seamless access to crypto trading, , gaming, and SocialFi realms. CEO Johnny Lyu emphasizes KuCoin's commitment to innovation, while Halo Wallet CEO Jeff Hou highlights the alliance's goal to create a unified digital asset environment. [31]

Initiative

KuCoin Campus

In January 2024, KuCoin introduced KuCoin Campus, an educational initiative, on International Education Day, extending education to schools worldwide. The Campus Ambassador program aims to foster collaboration among students, aiming to nurture future enthusiasts. Partnering with Future Fest, KuCoin initiates the University Roadshow in Pakistan to discuss and innovation.

CEO highlights the importance of engaging with younger generations and forming global educational partnerships. KuCoin also introduced a Quiz Campaign and a Survey to gather insights. KuCoin Campus aims to enlighten students and educators about digital finance's potential beyond online platforms.[32]

KuCoin Lights Up Africa

In February 2024, KuCoin, in partnership with the Smiling Simon Greenbuild Foundation, launched the "Light Up Africa through the Lens of Children" event as part of its KuCoin Campus campaign to support education. They delivered 100 reading lamps to Cornelia Connelly College in Nigeria and donated 2,500 solar lamps to 25 schools.

The event, attended by esteemed guests and around 100 students, symbolized hope for the future of education in Africa. KuCoin CEO emphasized the importance of education and the company's commitment to making a difference.[33]

Funding

Funds for KuCoin development were raised via an , which lasted from August 13, 2017, to September 1, 2017. During that time, KuCoin issued its native KuCoin Shares (KCS) tokens. The exchange raised nearly USD 20,000,000 in (at the time) for 100,000,000 KCS. The ICO price for a single KCS was 0.000055 . [1]

During the initial distribution, the founders of KuCoin received 35% of the KCS coins, 15% went to angel investors in the exchange and the remaining 50% was sold to investors. According to the KCS whitepaper the 35%, or 70 million KCS, that was distributed to the founders is locked up until September 2, 2021. In addition to that, the 30 million coins given to angel investors were also locked up, but only until September 2, 2019.

Team

  •  - Chairman
  • - CEO
  • Eric Don - COO
  • Top Lan - CTO
  • Kent Li - Operations & Maintenance Director
  • John Lee - President of the Business Operations Group
  • Jack Zhu - Marketing Director
  • Linda Lin - Chief Legal Consultant
See something wrong? Report to us.

KuCoin

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