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Kucoin vs Coinbase: What Works Better For Canadians in 2024

Oleg Galeev

Last updated December 27, 2023

In this comparison, we will be examining two popular cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada, KuCoin and Coinbase, and their suitability for Canadian users. These exchanges have significant differences, particularly in their ease of use, range of altcoins, and their compliance with Canadian regulations.

Description

Kucoin is a sort of Canadian-friendly cryptocurrency exchange that offers peer-to-peer crypto trades, lending, and futures trading. Kucoin is suitable for more advanced traders looking for advanced charting and order types. Kucoin has 8 million

Founded in 2012, Coinbase Canada is a cryptocurrency exchange with a simple interface making it a popular choice for Canadians looking to start their crypto journey. However, more Canadians are starting using local exchanges e.g. Bitbuy. Coinbase has 56 million users and became the first cryptocurrency exchange to have an Initial Public Offering.

Coins

500+ coins

50+ including BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC

Fees

  • Low maker/taker trading fees ( 0.005%/0.025% to 0.1%/0.1% for class A coins)
  • Free deposits
  • Variable withdrawal fees
  • KCS holders get 20% discount on trading fees

Extremely High
3.99% buy fee
0.50% fee per trade

Pros

  • Low fees
  • Wide range of altcoins available
  • Advanced order types
  • Crypto lending
  • Futures trading
  • Fast crypto purchases
  • Peer to peer exchange
  • Anonymous trading
  • Simple and easy interface
  • Good for beginners
  • Secure exchange with cold storage
  • The most popular coins offered
  • Users can set up automatic recurring buys
  • Learn to earn crypto program

Cons

  • Platform is confusing for beginners
  • No fiat to crypto pairs
  • Must buy USDT to trade
  • Previously hacked
  • Not compliant in Ontario (but you can still use it though)
  • High fees
  • Fewer coins than Binance
  • Complaints of bad customer support
  • No Interac e-Transfer

Account Limits

Low

High limit. Purchase limit depends on account age and other factors

Methods to buy

  • Credit/debit card 
  • Third party Bank transfer

Debit card

Security

  • $275 million stolen in 2020 hack
  • 2FA available

2FA, coins held in cold storage with multi-signature wallets, KYC verification process

Mobile and Desktop Trading

Both KuCoin and Coinbase offer mobile apps and desktop platforms for trading cryptocurrencies. KuCoin's mobile app is said to be somewhat confusing and less suited for beginners, with a 4.6-star rating on the Apple App Store and a 4.3-star rating on Google Play. Its desktop interface offers advanced charting and order book data but could be overwhelming for new traders.

On the other hand, Coinbase provides a user-friendly experience with its mobile app, boasting a 4.7-star rating on the Apple App Store and a 4.1-star rating on Google Play. Its desktop version offers accessible features like educational resources and a learn-to-earn program, making it a great choice for those just starting in crypto trading.

Kucoin

Kucoin is slightly different than your average crypto exchange. You won’t be able to deposit Canadian dollars directly. You’ll have to go through a third-party such as Banxa to deposit fiat. Kucoin does, however, accept credit and debit card payments, but you’ll need to check if your Canadian bank allows crypto transactions.

There are no fiat to crypto pairs, so you cannot buy bitcoin or other crypto directly with your dollars. You’ll need to first purchase Tether USDT on Kucoin and then trade that for the crypto you want.

The Kucoin exchange can be quite confusing for beginners.

There are advanced charting and order types available, plus you can trade on margin and trade futures contracts if you wish.

To buy USDT quickly, go up to the top menu and select the “Fast Buy” option. Here, you can purchase USDT using your credit or debit card or via the P2P exchange, or via a third party transfer. Once you have your USDT, then you can trade it on the Kucoin exchange under “spot trading”. Select the trading pair e.g. USDT/BTC and then choose your order type e.g. market order.

The Kucoin app has a 3.7-star rating from over 2,000 reviews on the Apple App Store and a 2.7-star rating from over 12,000 reviews on Google Play. Many people complain that the app crashes or that there are certain features lacking such as the ability to filter order history by trading pair.

Kucoin’s app is a bit more simple than its desktop exchange but it’s still confusing for beginners. There are lots of features, tabs, and menus. Buying USDT is easy since you do not need to verify your account. Simply sign up with an email and you can buy crypto in seconds using your credit or debit card under the Fast trade option. From there though, you will need to navigate to the spot trading page and select the trading pair you want.

Kucoin crypto exchange desktop interface

Kucoin desktop interface

Kucoin desktop app (Fast Trade)

Kucoin desktop app (Fast Trade)

Kucoin app screenshot

Kucoin app interface

Kucoin app while trading

Kucoin app interface while trading

Coinbase

Coinbase app offers a clean white background with simple text. It's user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Coinbases’s app is almost identical to its desktop platform making it easy to trade crypto wherever you are. Safely store your debit card information and you can buy and sell top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether in just a few clicks. On the Apple App Store, Coinbase has a 4.7-star rating with 1.3 million ratings. On Google Play it has a 4.3-star rating with 453,000 ratings.

Reviewing Coinbase desktop version

Coinbase desktop interface

Coinbase main screen with features

Coinbase portfolio

Coinbase mobile app

Coinbase app interface

Made an order with Coinbase app

Coinbase app interface while trading

Security Compliance

Kucoin provides world-class security meaning your coins are in relatively safe hands. It has two-factor authentication, so you can prevent unauthorized access to your account.

Keep in mind, $275 million worth of crypto was stolen from Kucoin by North Korean hackers in 2020. Later, $200 million of the stolen funds was recovered. Still, it doesn’t bode well for Kucoin. If you have funds on the exchange, it’s best to move them to a private crypto wallet

Coinbase uses its own digital wallet for storing your cryptocurrency.

Coinbase keeps 98% of its cryptocurrency in cold storage. This makes it hard for thieves to steal crypto assets if the exchange is hacked. Cold storage is the most secure way to store cryptocurrency, so the fact that Coinbase does this is a huge plus.

While both exchanges employ security measures to protect user assets, there are some differences. In 2020, KuCoin suffered a significant security breach with $275 million worth of crypto stolen, though $200 million was recovered.

On the other hand, Coinbase has a solid track record with no major security breaches as of 2021. It holds 98% of customer assets in cold storage and is fully regulated in the U.S., offering additional layers of security.

Regulatory Compliance

In June, 2021, the Ontario Securities Commission stated that Kucoin was illegally offering its residents securities and derivatives trading, but Kucoin did not respond to this. As a result, Kucoin is still available in Ontario as well as the rest of Canada. You can use Kucoin at full capacity whether it’s a simple buy order at market price or a more advanced order type. Bear in mind, Kucoin does not allow Interac e-Transfer to deposit Canadian dollars to your account. Instead, you will have to use a debit or credit card or a SWIFT transfer with USD.

Coinbase is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange, however, no restrictions for Canadians. Canadian residents can use Coinbase to their full capacity.

KuCoin faced regulatory issues in Ontario, leading to a ban and a $2 million fine from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) for non-compliance. Despite this, many Canadians continue to use KuCoin.

Conversely, Coinbase operates legally in Canada and is considered compliant with regulations, making it a safer choice from a legal standpoint.

Customer support

Kucoin offers helpful FAQs and online ticketing service for their customers as well as 24/7 support and a live chat option.

Coinbase customer support is very slow. It took them 4 days to address our request to a real person. Even though they offer 24/7 support and a live chat option, the quality of the support is bad due to a very high volume.

KuCoin offers 24/7 customer support via email and website ticketing service. However, reviews suggest that responses can be slow or unhelpful. Coinbase also provides live chat, email, and 24/7 phone support. However, despite these avenues, numerous complaints about poor customer service have been lodged against Coinbase.

Conclusion

Both KuCoin and Coinbase have their strengths and drawbacks. While Coinbase offers a more beginner-friendly interface and has had a better security track record, KuCoin stands out with its vast selection of altcoins and extremely low trading fees. Given these factors, KuCoin may be the better choice for more advanced traders who prioritize access to a wide range of altcoins and lower fees over simplicity and beginner-friendliness.

We recommend choosing Kucoin over Coinbase for your cryptocurrency trading needs. By opting for Kucoin through our referral link, you support us in conducting comprehensive independent analyses of crypto trading options for Canadians.

If you find that neither Kucoin nor Coinbase meets your requirements, we encourage you to explore our monthly-updated list of the best exchanges for Canadians to trade crypto. This list provides a range of alternative options that may better suit your specific needs and preferences.

Author

Oleg is a Canadian citizen & crypto expert who has been trading since 2016. He started out with Coinbase, Kraken and Peer-to-Peer exchanges. After some time, centralized exchanges started charging crazy fees to their users.

He decided to review different crypto exchanges that operate in Canada and start a Youtube channel in order to educate Canadians on what kinds of things are going inside each one while giving them unbiased advice. On top of that, Oleg also has experience with NFT, airdrops, and crypto staking and he is constantly checking on new crypto assets.

His writing has been featured in popular Canadian media sources such as Toronto Sun and Ottawa Citizen.