Coinbase is one of the oldest and largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, with more than 73 million verified users and 9,000 institutions. The exchange offers over 50 coins in more than 100 countries. In addition, Coinbase boasts exciting features for traders. Coins available for trading on Coinbase include:
- Algorand (ALGO)
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- DAI (DAI)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Polkadot (DOT)
- Polygon (MATIC)
- Shiba Inu (SHIB)
- Solana (SOL)
- Stellar (XLM)
- SushiSwap (SUSHI)
- USD Coin (USDC)
After the recent bankruptcy of crypto exchange FTX, U.S. customers may be wary to deposit money with another crypto platform. When FTX collapsed, it had over $9 billion in liabilities and did not have sufficient funds to pay out all users if they had decided to withdraw their money. Unlike FTX, Coinbase keeps all customer assets in FDIC-insured custodial U.S. accounts. This means that in the event of a “bank run” all customers would receive their funds up to $250,000 each.
Consider the following key features of Coinbase.
A regular Coinbase account is free for all users. Free account holders can buy and sell cryptocurrency, and use trading tools and indicators through the Coinbase Advanced Trade platform. Coinbase also offers customers Coinbase One, a $29.99 monthly subscription which includes fee-free buying and selling, priority customer service and pre-filled tax forms.
Coinbase has a somewhat confusing fee structure depending on what you’re doing.
- Wallet Service: Coinbase does not charge for USD wallet and hosted cryptocurrency wallet service.
- Buy/Sell Transactions: Coinbase charges a spread of about 0.50% per buy/sell transaction plus a Coinbase Fee that ranges anywhere from $0.99 to $2.99.
- Credit Transactions: Coinbase charges a flat fee of 2% for credit transactions.
Coinbase has a two-pronged pricing model for transaction fees. First, you’ll pay a spread of about 0.50% for purchases or sales, plus an additional flat fee depending on the amount you purchase and the payment type. Here’s the fee structure when using the basic buy and sell interface on Coinbase:
|Total Transaction Amount||Fee|
|Less than or equal to $10||$0.99|
|Between $10 and $26.49||$1.49|
|Between $26.50 and $51.99||$1.99|
|Between $52 and $78.05||$2.99|
Coinbase Advanced Trade offers excellent pricing tiers for high volume. Depending on how much you trade, you could pay as little as 0.00% for trading fees. Your pricing tier is calculated based on how much you trade over the trailing 30-day period.
|Pricing Tier||Taker Fee||Maker Fee|
Coinbase offers a variety of features for individuals and businesses. Individuals can:
- Buy, sell and use crypto on web and mobile
- Access a wallet for secure self-storage
- Use Coinbase Advanced Trade for advanced crypto trading
Coinbase provides customers with tax reports. In addition, the exchange has a partnership with TurboTax that allows you to e-file your crypto gains and losses. Coinbase also offers mobile apps, letting you buy and sell your crypto on the go.
Security is a critical issue for any exchange. Coinbase offers several essential features to keep you and your assets protected.
Ninety-eight percent of customer cryptocurrency funds are stored in offline cold storage. This means hackers can’t hack or steal those funds from the internet. Coinbase disconnects sensitive data from the internet, splits it with redundancy, applies military-grade encryption, then stores it on USB drives in safe boxes and vaults worldwide.
Unlike other companies like FTX, Coinbase holds all cash deposits in a custodial account at U.S. banks — for U.S. customers. This means all cash funds are FDIC-insured up to the per-depositor limit.
How Coinbase Stands Out
Coinbase offers over 60 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs in the U.S. and worldwide. This is an essential feature for investors who want to trade cryptocurrency without having to convert any coins to cash or fiat currency first.
The benefits of crypto pair trading include better trading opportunities because of the volatile nature of crypto. Savvy traders can take advantage of the changing prices and turn a quick profit.
The platform also boasts an industry-leading API that gives developers access to real-time market data and a trading API that lets you automate trading bots.
Comparable Cryptocurrency Exchange Options
While Coinbase offers crypto traders a variety of benefits, it may not be for everyone. Consider the following alternatives.
Kraken offers a robust platform for experienced cryptocurrency traders in the U.S. and beyond, supporting a variety of cryptocurrencies. While it may lack some of the user-friendly features that make Coinbase a preferred choice for newcomers to the crypto scene, Kraken excels in providing advanced trading features, including futures and margin trading. Unlike Coinbase, Kraken offers 24/7 global customer support.
Binance is one of the world’s largest exchanges and has over 500 cryptocurrencies available for trade, but the core platform is unavailable for U.S. users. The U.S. version, Binance.us, is limited compared to the international platform. Nevertheless, with over 200 trading pairs, it’s a solid alternative for U.S. crypto traders who want access to a wide array of cryptocurrencies.
How To Apply
To sign up for Coinbase, visit the Coinbase website or download the mobile app on your iOS or Android device. Then follow the steps below.
- Click on the “sign up” button.
- Provide personal information such as your name, email address, and phone number.
- You’ll also need to verify your email address and phone number to secure your account.
- Finally, you’ll be asked to verify your identity using a valid government-issued ID.
- Once these steps are completed, you can link your bank account or debit card to make transactions.
Who Is Coinbase Best For?
The exchange is great for those new to crypto because of the Coinbase Earn program. This program teaches you about cryptocurrencies and rewards you with up to $28 worth of crypto.
Coinbase is also a great option if you’re concerned about the security of your crypto assets because of the insurance it maintains.
Coinbase really shines for active traders because of the world-class Coinbase Advanced Trading platform (previously Coinbase Pro). Traders have access to real-time order books, charting tools, trade history and an intuitive order process. Coinbase is also best for active investors because it offers volume discounts on its cryptocurrency trading fees.
If you’re looking for a platform to buy and sell crypto, Coinbase is still a good pick in 2023. Unlike FTX, Coinbase keeps customer funds in FDIC-insured custodial accounts, making it a much safer platform for your money. However, all trading and investing has inherent risks, especially in the volatile world of crypto. Make sure you consider the risks and consult with a financial professional before making significant financial decisions.
Scott Jeffries contributed to the reporting for this article.
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- Blockchain Council. 2023. "Types Of Crypto Wallets Explained."