Coinbase, the world’s largest publicly traded crypto exchange, is renowned for good reason. The platform provides a trusted onramp for seasoned crypto investors and extends a welcoming experience to new crypto traders.
This Coinbase review reveals the exchange to be user-friendly, and we’ve identified several methods to manage trading fees effectively.
In this article, we will cover the pros and cons of using the exchange, together with the fees and features. Is Coinbase the right crypto exchange for you? Let’s find out.
What is Coinbase?
Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to buy cryptocurrency with fiat currencies, like the USD or GBP, sell crypto for cash, or trade one crypto for another. Founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong, a former Airbnb engineer, and Fred Ehrsam, a former Goldman Sachs trader, the exchange has grown to over 100 million users in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Daily trading volume on Coinbase often exceeds $1 billion, ensuring higher liquidity for traders and making Coinbase one of the leading crypto exchanges in the world.
Coinbase Review: Pros and Cons
Let’s take a look at its pros and cons
Coinbase Review: Fees
The Coinbase fee structure is a confusing combination of elements that depend on three factors:
- Coinbase charges a spread on cryptocurrency sales and purchases. While rates can vary depending on market fluctuations, the company has previously said the fee is about 0.5%. (This fee doesn’t apply for orders placed with Advanced Trade.)
- Coinbase also says it charges fees based on factors “including the selected payment method, the size of the order, and market conditions such as volatility and liquidity.”
- In addition, Coinbase charges fees to cover the costs of executing transactions on the external blockchain networks that support the cryptocurrencies in which it deals.
Overall, these factors can make Coinbase’s fees difficult to predict on its main platform. The company says it lays out fees for customers before finalizing a transaction, which it does, but you’ll only see it on the screen just before purchasing.
By comparison, Coinbase Advanced Trade’s pricing model is more straightforward, though fees have risen slightly in recent years. It’s based on your monthly trading volume and liquidity of the asset at the time of purchase; if immediately available, you’re charged a “taker” fee, and if your order needs to wait for a buyer, you are charged a “maker” fee.
|Up to $1K
|$1K to $10K
|$500K – $1M
Coinbase Review: Features
In addition to crypto trading, Coinbase offers several other features related to the crypto ecosystem and a subscription-based trading program called Coinbase One, which offers fee-free trading.
A common criticism of crypto is that it’s difficult to spend. While a growing number of merchants accept crypto payments, cryptocurrency payments are far from ubiquitous. Coinbase’s debit card lets you spend your crypto like cash and earn cash back in the process.
Coinbase’s Visa card connects to your Coinbase account, letting you convert your crypto to USD on the fly to make purchases virtually anywhere.
There’s a cost to this convenience, however. Coinbase no longer charges a 2.49% conversion fee, instead using an unspecified spread to finance on-the-fly crypto-to-USD conversions. This spread applies to both purchases and ATM withdrawals in which you convert crypto to dollars.
In addition, you can earn cash back paid in crypto for purchases you make with the card. Each month, Coinbase changes the offering and reward rates. If you don’t choose a new reward, Coinbase will choose one for you automatically.
The Coinbase Card is available for Coinbase US, UK, and EU customers.
Trading fees for frequent traders and those trading in size can add up quickly, but Coinbase offers a solution to never-ending exchange fees with its Coinbase One subscription.
For about $30 per month, traders enjoy no-fee trades on up to $10,000 in monthly trades.
Coinbase One members also get boosted rewards (lower commissions) on staking. If you’re in a supported market, including the US, UK, Germany, or Ireland, you’ll also get 24/7 phone support. In addition, US customers get a pre-filled Form 8949 to help complete their crypto taxes.
Coinbase reports that Coinbase One members average savings of $55 in Coinbase crypto trading fees per month.
Still labeled as “Beta,” Coinbase’s NFT marketplace made headlines when it launched in early 2022. Since its launch, the formerly Ethereum-only platform has expanded to include NFTs on Polygon and Base, Coinbase’s own Layer 2 Ethereum-compatible blockchain.
You won’t be able to connect to the NFT marketplace directly from your Coinbase account, though. Instead, you can use an Ethereum-compatible self-custody crypto wallet like MetaMask or Coinbase Wallet. Yes, Coinbase even has its own crypto wallet. More on that in a bit.
Alternatively, you can connect to the Coinbase Web3 wallet, which we’ll also review shortly.
However, you can connect popular crypto wallets like MetaMask or Coinbase Wallet to Coinbase Pay, an easy way to buy crypto through Coinbase, and send it directly to the wallet you’ve connected to the NFT marketplace.
Web3 refers to the ever-expanding universe of decentralized applications (dApps). The possibilities seem endless, ranging from lending apps to cryptocurrency swaps to games and even social apps. For newer users, the biggest question is often where to start.
Coinbase makes Web3 onboarding a bit easier with its Web3 portal’s curated list of dApps across nine blockchains, including Ethereum, Base, Polygon, and Solana.
What are dApps?
Decentralized applications, or dApps, refer to computer programs that run on the blockchain. These apps look like common websites or mobile apps, but under the hood, they connect to smart contracts to perform financial transactions or other functions.
Decentralized means that the smart contracts, once deployed, run on their own without a company in the middle of the transaction, which can change the outcome. It’s just math and code; if this happens, then do that.
Crypto wallets, like Coinbase wallets, that support smart contract networks, such as the Ethereum network, let users connect to dApps where they can lend, borrow, swap cryptos, or even explore metaverse apps.
Like the NFT marketplace, Coinbase’s Web3 Portal doesn’t automatically connect directly to your Coinbase account. Instead, you connect a compatible wallet to the dApp you want to use. If you’ve connected Coinbase Pay to your wallet, you can use Coinbase Pay to buy crypto or move crypto from your trading account to your wallet.
Top dApps include
- Beefy Finance
- Marinade Finance
In total, Coinbase features over 500 dApps and lets you search the Web3 Portal, sort by rating, or narrow your search by category and blockchain.
Coinbase now offers learning rewards—a way to earn crypto by watching short videos about new protocols and completing quick quizzes. As you pass each quiz, you’ll get rewards for the crypto covered in the learning modules.
Current free crypto offerings include:
- The Graph (GRT)
- Amp (AMP)
- Near Protocol (NEAR)
Coinbase already uses cold storage, meaning most of the assets on the platform are held in offline crypto wallets. For large balances, you may want more security, though. You can use a Coinbase vault to store your crypto separately from your main trading balance, which brings new security features, including time-delayed withdrawals and the ability to add or review multiple approvers before crypto can be withdrawn from the vault.
Coinbase vaults are available for all accounts.
Coinbase Trading Platforms
Similar to Kraken or Binance, Coinbase provides retail traders with two trading platforms: a simple trading platform and an advanced trading platform.
The simpler platform, called Simple Trade, is easy to access via the Buy/Sell button throughout the site. You can also switch between Simple Trades and Coinbase Advanced, the advanced platform, from the user icon in your account.
Standard (Simple Trade)
Coinbase is known as a newbie-friendly platform, largely due to its easy-to-use, simple trading platform. This Swiss army knife of a trading tool lets you buy, sell, or convert one crypto to another in just a few clicks.
You can also set up recurring purchases—handy for dollar-cost averaging—or set up custom orders. Coinbase custom orders are a new offering and let you set your price or choose from percentage-based options.
Coinbase’s simple trades also enable more payment options than you’ll find with Coinbase Advanced. The simple trading platform lets you fund an instant purchase with cash, bank transfers, PayPal, or debit cards, whereas Coinbase Advanced requires a cash or crypto balance.
All this convenience comes at a price, however: higher trading fees compared to the advanced platform.
The advanced trading platform provides a way to reduce trading costs dramatically, dropping limit orders to 0.6% of the trade and market orders to 0.8% of the trade. Coinbase’s published fee schedule currently does not match the fees you’ll pay, however.
Coinbase Advanced replaces the now-defunct Coinbase Pro trading platform and brings several advantages, including advanced charts powered by TradingView and shared account balances between simple trades and the advanced platform.
Advanced charting tools may eliminate the need for third-party tools, reducing your trading costs while helping you time your next move with precision.
However, for traders just looking for a way to avoid the higher fees associated with simple trades, Coinbase Advanced makes basic trading relatively easy. Advanced trading platforms like Coinbase Advanced use a maker/taker model to set fees for your trade.
- Maker orders “make a market” by providing fixed-price limit orders. These orders populate the order book—a list of buy and sell orders—and provide liquidity (trading inventory) for other traders.
- Taker orders are market orders. These orders take liquidity from the exchange by using the maker orders in the order book to fill orders at the “market” price.
Coinbase Advanced API
The Coinbase Advanced API (application programming interface) offers a way to access your account and perform trades remotely using third-party software or even an app that you write yourself.
For instance, if you want to use Coinbase to average dollar costs into a Bitcoin position, the easy solution is to use Coinbase’s simple trades to set up a recurring buy. This option comes with higher fees, however.
Coinbase’s Advanced Trade API lets you set up your dollar-cost averaging app, automatically buying a fixed amount at a set interval. This can reduce your trading fees by over 80% if you have the programming chops to write the software yourself.
Coinbase’s API lets you connect outside apps to the platform, creating a powerful way to trade even if you’re not a coding expert.
Through Coinbase Advanced, qualified traders can trade futures markets, making bets on the future price of BTC or ETH.
Not all accounts will qualify, however. The trader application for Coinbase Futures trading considers age, trading experience, net worth, income, and occupation.
Currently, futures are watch-only on mobile, whereas you can trade on the desktop app.
Crypto wallets hold the private keys to control your crypto assets. Exchanges like Coinbase provide a custodial wallet, meaning Coinbase holds the private keys, but you can access and review your account through an account login. A self-custody crypto wallet offers a way to move your crypto from an exchange wallet to a wallet you control.
Coinbase Wallet is a standalone self-custody crypto wallet made by Coinbase. However, you don’t need to have a Coinbase account to use the wallet. A Coinbase account adds more functionality, though, including the ability to buy crypto through Coinbase and have the crypto directly deposited to your Coinbase wallet.
Supported blockchains vary depending on which version of Coinbase wallet you use. The mobile version supports Bitcoin, Ethereum (including ERC-20 tokens and NFTs), Solana, Dogecoin, and Litecoin. The Chrome extension version of Coinbase wallet pares this list, supporting only Ethereum, Solana, and EVM-compatible networks.
Coinbase wallet features
The Coinbase wallet app paves the way to a world of crypto beyond trading.
- Buy: Connect to your Coinbase account to buy crypto instantly.
- Swap: Coinbase wallet connects to 75 decentralized exchanges to find the best exchange rates when you need to swap supported cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or ERC-20 tokens.
- Bridge: Send your crypto to another blockchain.
- Send & receive: Send crypto to another wallet or receive crypto from others.
- Explore dApps: Coinbase wallet provides a built-in dApp explorer. Connect to leading decentralized applications like Uniswap, OpenSea, Yearn Finance, and much more.
Crypto Staking & Other Rewards
Proof of stake is becoming more popular as a validation method for crypto blockchains, including the Ethereum network, but setting up staking on your own isn’t always well-suited to casual users. Coinbase takes care of the tricky setup, making it easier to earn a yield from crypto staking rewards.
Which countries are supported on Coinbase?
Coinbase accepts users and traders from various countries around the world. They currently support traders from over 30 countries, including
- The Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
- San Marino
What types of currencies are available on Coinbase?
Coinbase maintains an ever-growing asset list that includes thousands of unique crypto assets available for trading on the go. Some of the popular cryptos on Coinbase are:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Tether USD (USDT)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Solana (SOL)
- Polkadot (DOT)
- USD Coin (USDC)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Uniswap (UNI)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Shiba Inu (SHIB)
- Stellar Lumens (XLM)
- Polygon (MATIC)
Coinbase Review: Is Your Cryptocurrency Safe With Coinbase?
Your cryptocurrency is safe with Coinbase, as it’s one of the most secure exchanges. It stores over 98% of client funds in cold storage, meaning those assets are stored on devices that aren’t connected to the internet. This provides greater security against hackers, making it the method of choice for secure cryptocurrency storage.
Coinbase carries crime insurance that covers assets stored online. Cash balances stored in Coinbase accounts are covered by FDIC insurance up to a maximum of $250,000 per customer, just like assets held in a savings or checking account at a bank.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is required on all Coinbase accounts for added security and review. You also have the option of allowlisting withdrawal addresses, so your crypto can only be withdrawn to addresses on your allowlist. For those who want even more security, Coinbase offers vaults, which require that withdrawals have a 48-hour waiting period and the approval of one or more designated parties.
Coinbase has an excellent track record, but it did have a security incident in 2021. Hackers exploited a vulnerability in its SMS account recovery tool to steal funds from over 6,000 clients. Coinbase fixed the issue and reimbursed those clients in full.
What Makes Coinbase a Good Choice?
With an account minimum of only $2, it’s easy to get started as a Coinbase user, making it a good place to start for beginners.
Coinbase encourages beginning crypto traders to learn and review more about their investments with the platform’s “earn while you learn” program. A series of video classes and exams allows beginners to learn more about various cryptocurrencies while earning rewards.
The exchange offers crypto staking. Staking is when a cryptocurrency is locked up on an exchange—usually for proof-of-stake validation—that allows the crypto owner to earn a yield.
One of Coinbase’s best features is its customer support. In addition to an online help center and chat system, Coinbase also offers live phone support, a feature conspicuously absent from many cryptocurrency exchanges.
As far as storage goes, there are numerous options for users to stash the keys to their crypto. In fact, Coinbase offers users three different crypto wallets.
The Coinbase Wallet is the exchange’s hot wallet product, and it claims to support “hundreds of thousands” of crypto assets. The other two wallets are the Coinbase dApp Wallet as well as storage available via Coinbase Exchange itself, which is the exchange’s “default wallet.”
In this Coinbase Review, we’ve come to understand that it is a popular cryptocurrency exchange that provides its users with a simple and easy method for buying and selling cryptocurrencies.
It saves users from navigating through the technicality typical of many other exchanges and cuts down on the steps needed to invest in cryptocurrency. The exchange supports over 10,000 assets, allowing users to explore and enjoy a buffet of digital currencies.
Remember to safeguard your devices while using any crypto exchange, including Coinbase.