If you’ve done any research about trading crypto, then you’ve heard of Binance and Coinbase. They are two of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, and this Binance vs. Coinbase puts them head-to-head.
My comparison is going to give you an overview of each. You’re going to learn what kind of crypto you can trade, what to expect with trading fees, security measures, and more.
0.02% - 0.1%
Bank, credit card, debit card, crypto
Bank, credit card, debit card, crypto
Available in the U.S.?
No, U.S. customers must use Binance.US
Quick Binance overview
Founded in 2017, Binance has quickly grown to become a cryptocurrency giant. It’s a leader in the market with a wide range of coins — currently, over 340 different coins are available for trade on Binance.
Binance is an innovative exchange with high liquidity, low fees, and quick trading times. They’ve been growing their list of features since they launched, including multiple trading platforms.
It’s worth mentioning early in this Binance vs. Coinbase comparison that U.S. traders will have to use the Binance.US platform instead of regular Binance. Regular Binance was shut down to U.S. traders in 2020 due to regulatory uncertainty, so they launched Binance.US.
Even though it’s new, Binance.US has already made it into the top 10 largest cryptocurrency exchanges by volume, according to CoinMarketCap.
This comparison focuses on Binance, but if you’re in the U.S. and interested in Binance.US, here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect:
- Flat 0.1% spot trading fee
- 0.5% Instant buy/sell fees
- Paying with debit card transfer is an additional 4.5% fee
- Over 100 different coins
- Crypto-to-crypto trading with Bitcoin and eight other coins
- Not available in Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, New York, Texas, and Vermont
Quick Coinbase overview
Coinbase is one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, and users can trade more than 50 coins on the platform. They’re known for high liquidity and trading volumes, and users can trade on Coinbase or Coinbase Pro. Pro has advanced trading functions, and customers can make crypto-to-crypto transactions.
Coinbase offers a free crypto wallet, and you don’t need a trading account to access and store crypto in the wallet. Users can also earn free crypto on Coinbase Earn by watching videos and answering a series of quizzes about different kinds of crypto.
One of the biggest complaints about Coinbase are the fees. I’m going to get into this further down, but overall, they’re higher than Binance. Coinbase’s fees are also fairly confusing if you are a casual crypto trader using the regular trading platform. The fees are more straightforward and often less expensive if you trade on Coinbase Pro.
Coinbase is available in the U.S., excluding California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
According to CoinMarketCap, Coinbase currently has 53 different coins available for trade. They have all the big ones — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash — but they also have a growing list of altcoins like SushiSwap, Stellar Lumens, Augur, Ox, and Polygon.
Your ability to buy, sell, deposit, and withdraw varies on the cryptocurrency and your location. Several are only available for trade on Coinbase Pro: STORJ, LOOM, COMP, and ANKR.
Coinbase supports several fiat currencies as a payment method, and it supports ACH transfers in the U.S., SEPA transfers for Euros, and Faster Payment transfers in the UK. Funding your account with fiat is the best way for newbies to get started, and outside of the countries I mentioned, you can still make deposits using credit and debit cards.
There are several crypto-to-crypto trading pairs on Coinbase Pro. Crypto-to-crypto pairs depend on where you live.
M$M tip: You can find a complete list of Coinbase supported crypto in my 2021 Coinbase review.
Binance has a massive list of supported coins — over 340 according to CoinMarketCap, making it in the top 10 as far as supported cryptocurrencies. Binance also supports credit and debit card transactions with over 40 fiat currencies.
There’s a growing list of fiat-to-crypto trading pairs on Binance. For example, they just added ENJ/GBP, EOS/TRY, LTC/GBP, LUNA/EUR, ADA/RUB, ENJ/BRL, ENJ/EUR, MATIC/EUR, and NEO/TRY.
Winner: Binance is better than Coinbase when it comes to supported cryptocurrencies, one of the things it’s best known for. If you’re in the U.S., Binance.US has over 50 coins, putting it on par with Coinbase.
Coinbase vs. Binance: Fees
Coinbase trading fees
Coinbase has two trading platforms, standard, and Coinbase Pro. Pro is a more advanced platform, but users can use either one. I’m going to cover fees on both, but I’m going to warn you that the fees are much more complicated on the standard platform.
The first thing to understand about the standard platform is that Coinbase charges a few different fees, starting with a spread of about 0.5% for cryptocurrency sales and purchases. That spread can change based on market fluctuations.
Plus, there’s a transaction fee that’s the greater of a flat fee or a variable fee, depending on the amount purchased and the payment type. Coinbase has these guidelines for the transaction fee:
Total trade amount
$10 or less
More than $10 up to $25
More than $25 and up to $50
More than $50 and up to $200
Additionally, there are fees for different types of U.S. payments:
Coinbase USD Wallet
$10 ($25 outgoing)
Coinbase Pro has fees that are much easier to follow — the fees depend on your monthly trading volume and the asset’s liquidity at the time of purchase. The asset’s liquidity will qualify you as a maker or taker, and there are different fees for each.
When you place an order at the market price and it’s filled immediately, you’re considered a taker, and you pay the taker fee. But if your order isn’t immediately filled, it’s placed in the order book. Once another customer places an order that matches yours, you’re considered the maker — and you pay the maker fee.
Here’s the fee schedule for Coinbase Pro:
Less than $10K
$10K to $50K
$100K - $1M
$1M - $10M
$10M - $50M
$50M - $100M
$100M - $300M
$300M - $500M
Binance trading fees
Binance fees are much easier to follow, and that’s true for both the original Binance platform and Binance.US. The other perk to Binance exchange fees is that they’re cheaper than Coinbase with users paying 0.1% maker or taker fee per transaction.
Binance charges are based on trading volume (measured in Bitcoin amounts), starting at 0.1% for low volume trades and dropping down to 0.02% for super high volume trades. I’m talking 150,000 BTC or more.
Users can also take a 25% discount on trading fees if they use their native token (BNB) to pay the fees.
Winner: Binance is the obvious winner because not only will you pay less in fees, but the fee schedule is also easy to understand.
Binance vs. Coinbase: Unique features
- Transaction types: Coinbase allows users to buy, sell, exchange, send, and receive cryptocurrency on the platform.
- Coinbase Learn: This is a user education program that includes short videos and quizzes about different crypto types. You’re rewarded with a small amount of cryptocurrency for passing the quiz.
- Coinbase Wallet: You don’t need an account on Coinbase to use their decentralized wallet to store your crypto. It’s a free feature, complete with a separate app. You can use the app to buy crypto on other markets or send crypto to other users. The Coinbase Wallet also lets you store digital collectibles, like NFTs.
- Newsfeed: Coinbase’s newsfeed feature pulls in articles about cryptocurrency from around the internet. Users get news, breaking updates, etc.
- Price alerts: You can create a cryptocurrency watchlist on Coinbase that alerts you when big price swings are one way or the other. You can set up alerts in your phone or the app.
- Trading API: This is a Coinbase Pro feature (customers can choose to use Coinbase Pro or regular Coinbase) that allows users to develop programmatic trading bots.
- Coinbase Card: Coinbase is getting ready to launch a debit card that allows you to spend the crypto in your Coinbase portfolio, and you can earn crypto rewards when you use your card to make purchases.
- Transaction types: Binance has a long list of transaction types, including buy, sell, trade, stop order, limit order, margin trading, options trading, and futures trading.
- Binance Academy: Binance’s user education program has articles for beginners to advanced traders teaching that cover topics like Byzantine fault tolerance, delayed proof of work, and Bitcoin ETFs.
- Binance Visa Card: Use the card to convert and spend your crypto. You transfer crypto to your card wallet and can earn up to 8% cashback on purchases.
- Launchpad: This is Binance’s token launch program where you can stake and earn new tokens.
- Binance research: Access institutional-grade analysis, market insights, and project reports.
- Advanced charting: Users can create advanced charting views with hundreds of different overlays and indicators.
- API keys: Binance gives users access to their API keys to create third-party apps to integrate with Binance
Winner: It’s a tie! Both of these exchanges have a lot to offer users, so it’s tough to call a winner. Coinbase’s features are more appealing to newbie traders, where Binance has features for more advanced users, like margin lending (which Coinbase recently got rid of). As far as features go, it depends on your experience and needs.
Binance vs. Coinbase: Security
Binance encourages users to enable two-factor authentication either using Google Authenticator or SMS authentication. You can whitelist addresses and set up an anti-phishing code. They also have a lengthy security FAQ section that explains how users can be on guard.
Binance recently launched state-of-the-art AI risk control solutions to monitor every movement that happens on the exchange and report suspicious behavior. Another security measure is that Binance only keeps a small fraction of coins in hot wallets (online storage), while the majority are kept offline in cold storage.
Coinbase also uses two-factor authentication and protects users by storing 98% of funds offline in cold storage. What is online is insured against employee theft or cybersecurity theft.
U.S. customer cash balances are pooled together, and Coinbase has them held in custodial accounts at U.S. banks, in money market accounts, or invested in liquid U.S. Treasuries. Those cash balances are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per individual.
Winner: Both of these exchanges take security very seriously, and they are some of the most secure crypto exchanges on the market. However, we will declare Coinbase the winner here because they’ve never been hacked, unlike Binance. That doesn’t mean an attack can’t happen — it just hasn’t, yet.
Binance vs. Coinbase: Who are they best for?
Both of these crypto exchanges are at the top of the list for traders. They have high liquidity, a growing number of altcoins, advanced security measures, and a growing list of features. But when it comes down to it, one exchange might be better for you than the other.
Binance is best for non-US traders, advanced traders, and those trading a high volume of crypto. Beginners can get a lot out of Binance, but only if it’s available in your market. Binance.US is an option for U.S. traders, but there are brokerages, like Kraken, that offer more competitive rates, lots of coins, and stellar features.
Coinbase is best for new crypto traders and U.S. traders. Coinbase has unparalleled security, rewarding educational content, and more. It’s still a solid platform for advanced traders, but it doesn’t offer many of the transaction types you can find on Binance. And don’t forget that you can save money on fees by trading on Coinbase Pro.
Coinbase vs. Binance — The final word
Coinbase and Binance are both strong contenders — there’s a reason they are both in the top 10 crypto exchanges in the world. So because you can’t go wrong with either, pay attention to the kinds of features they offer traders at different levels.
And no matter which you choose, remember that cryptocurrency is a highly volatile asset. It’s becoming increasingly mainstream, but it’s still new and speculative. Most financial experts recommend that you start learning how to trade on the stock market before diving into the wild world of cryptocurrency.