As far as mainstream cryptocurrency exchanges go, Coinbase is one of the largest and most reputable. Coinbase can be an excellent starting point for new crypto investors with its easy-to-platform and Earn program, which pays you cryptocurrency for learning about it.
Coinbase has a couple of different trading platforms and a stand-alone wallet app, and this Coinbase review will explain each of those features, plus Coinbase fees, what crypto you can trade on Coinbase, and more.
Coinbase Review 2021 - Fees, Features, Pros & Cons
What is Coinbase?
Coinbase is a U.S.- based cryptocurrency exchange that was launched in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. It’s grown from only selling Bitcoin to now trading over 30 different cryptocurrencies.
Coinbase is a centralized cryptocurrency exchange, meaning they act as the middleman, securing assets between the buyer and seller. It’s one of the world’s largest exchanges, and Coinbase has seen over $455 billion in total volume traded on the platform.
You can use Coinbase to buy and sell crypto, there’s an advanced trading platform called Coinbase Pro, and you can also use Coinbase as a wallet to store your cryptocurrency.
What kind of cryptocurrency does Coinbase offer?
On the Coinbase app, you can trade common crypto, like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin, but they also support a long list of other cryptocurrencies. The availability for buying, selling, depositing, and withdrawing each varies on the cryptocurrency.
Here’s the complete list of cryptocurrency available on Coinbase:
- Aave (AAVE)
- Cardona ADA
- Algorand (ALGO)
- Ankr (ANKR)*
- Cosmos (ATOM)
- EThe Balancer (BAL)
- Band Protocol (BAND)
- Basic Attention Token (BAT)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Bancor Network Token (BNT)
- Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (BSV)
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Celo (CGLD)
- Compound (COMP)*
- Civic (CVC)
- Dai (DAI)
- Dash (DASH)
- DistrictOx (DNT)
- EOS (EOS)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Filecoin (FIL)
- The Graph (GRT)
- Golem (GNT)
- Kyber Network (KNC)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Loom Network (LOOM)*
- Loopring (LRC)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Decentraland (MANA)
- Polygon (MATIC)
- Maker (MKR)
- Numeraire (NMR)
- NuCypher (NU)
- OMG Network (OMG)
- Orchid (OXT)
- Ren (REN)
- Augur (REP)
- SushiSwap (SUSHI)
- SKALE Network (SKL)
- Synthetic (SNX)
- Storj (STORJ)*
- USD Coin (USDC)
- Universal Market Access (UMA)
- Uniswap (UNI)
- Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC)
- Stellar Lumens (XLM)
- Ripples (XRP)
- Tezos (XTZ)
- yearn.finance (YFI)
- Zcash (ZEC
- Ox (ZRX)
*Only available on the Coinbase Pro platform
Okay, that’s a lot of cryptos, and Coinbase may add more in the future. However, the company does follow a Digital Asset Framework when deciding what to add. This process involves a committee of internal experts determining when assets are added.
Coinbase trading fees
The fees are confusing for the standard Coinbase trading platform, especially compared to what you’re charged through Coinbase Pro, which is the more advanced trading app. I’m going to cover both, starting with the standard trading platform.
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 either a flat fee or a variable one 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, the more advanced cryptocurrency trading platform, has fees that are much easier to follow. Coinbase Pro’s fees are based 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 filled immediately, it’s placed in the order book, and then 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
Coinbase Pro users don’t pay any ACH fees. There is a $10 U.S. wire transfer fee for deposits and a $25 U.S. wire transfer fee for withdrawals.
Coinbase review of the top features
Coinbase has two trading platforms: the original Coinbase platform and Coinbase Pro. The original platform allows users to use USD to purchase cryptocurrency. Coinbase Pro was formerly known as GDAX and offers charting and data, basic and advanced order types (market, limit, and stop), and users can make crypto-to-crypto transactions.
Coinbase Pro may feel a little overwhelming to crypto newbies, but it offers less expensive trades. So if you’re interested in using Coinbase, it would be worth learning how to trade on the Pro platform.
The Coinbase Wallet is a separate standalone app that you can use to store (or custody) your crypto. If you are interested in buying cryptocurrency on a decentralized market, you can use your Coinbase Wallet to explore.
You don’t need to have a Coinbase account to use the Coinbase Wallet app, and this app helps you manage your private keys and store your assets on your devices. Coinbase users can easily transfer funds between their wallet and Coinbase accounts.
Coinbase Earn is a series of video lessons and quizzes you can use to learn about cryptocurrency and earn it. You pick the cryptocurrency you want to learn about, watch videos about each one, and then you earn crypto for each quiz you complete.
There are currently 18 different cryptocurrencies you can learn about on Earn. For example, you can earn up to $3 in NuCypher tokens or $6 in Celo coins.
Coinbase security and insurance
The reality is that the SIPC and FDIC do not protect cryptocurrency exchanges. However, cash balances are held in U.S. custodial accounts, money market accounts, or U.S. Treasuries. Funds held in U.S. Banks are insured up to $250,000 per individual by the FDIC.
Coinbase stores less than 2% of their cryptocurrency online, privately insured against losses related to Coinbase cybersecurity and employee theft. The rest of it is stored in offline cold storage. The point of that is to protect against security breaches.
How to set up a Coinbase account
U.S. customers will need to provide their legal full name and state, along with verification for both — you can use your government-issued photo ID, no passports. You’ll sign in using your email address and a secure password.
Coinbase will ask you for the following information: last four digits of your SSN, employer, current occupation, and source of funds.
Your account is open once you’ve verified who you are, and the last step before you start trading is to link your payment information. You link your bank account for ACH transfers — best for any size investment, and you can buy, sell, deposit, and withdraw on Coinbase to your bank account. Transactions generally take around 4-5 business days.
You can also link your debit card, set up wire transfers, or use PayPal; however, there are transaction limitations with each of these funding sources.
How to start trading on Coinbase
You can start trading cryptocurrency as soon as your account is set up and your funding source is linked.
The trading platform is super user-friendly, and you can start purchasing crypto for as little as $2 USD. Here’s how easy it is to buy cryptocurrency on Coinbase:
- Sign in to the Coinbase app
- Select Buy/Sell on the upper right-hand corner of the app
- Click Buy to select an asset
- Enter the amount you want to buy
- Select your payment method
- Click Preview Buy to confirm your purchase
- Click Buy if the details are correct
That’s it! You can make it a recurring purchase if you want or select one-time purchase.
Coinbase review: Pros & cons
Coinbase review: The final word
If you’re interested in trading cryptocurrency, Coinbase is a super legit and well-rounded cryptocurrency exchange. They’ve continually added to their list of altcoins, the trade experience is simple, and the Coinbase Earn program teaches inexperienced crypto traders how to understand cryptocurrency.
Coinbase is a little more expensive than some of its competitors, but trading on Coinbase Pro is cheaper than the original platform.
And it’s important to remember that cryptocurrency is still considered a volatile asset. Keep that in mind no matter which platform you use.
For U.S. customers, the Coinbase purchase limit is up $25,000 per day. You must complete the site’s identity verification step to access these limits. You can see what your limit is under your Account limits section under Settings in the Coinbase app.
If your limit isn’t up to $25,000 a day, you’ll need to make sure you’ve verified your phone number and personal information, plus submitted a photo of your valid state ID (for U.S. customers).
Coinbase privately insures the 2% of cryptocurrency they store online in hot storage from Coinbase cybersecurity threats and employee theft. The remaining 98% of cryptocurrency is stored offline in cold storage.
U.S. customer cash balances are pooled together and 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.
Coinbase is one of the most reputable and well-known cryptocurrency exchanges. It’s as legit as cryptocurrency exchanges come. They only offer coins that are guaranteed currencies or commodities.