Bitcoin’s code hit the Internet in 2009, and it wasn’t an immediate hit by any stretch of the imagination. Nevertheless, Coinbase started its operation in 2012 and Coinmama entered the market the following year. These are blockchain pioneers we’ll be analyzing in the following paragraphs!
It could be said that both companies serve different markets. They’re also similar in a lot of ways, though. We’ll explore these ideas and more, much more, in the following article.
Let the battle begin!
What are the key differences between the two?
The noticeable difference is this: Coinbase is a full-on cryptocurrency exchange, and Coinmama is a brokerage service.
Using the former, you can purchase, sell, and exchange cryptocurrencies. For example, you could buy Bitcoin and, following a hunch or legitimate information, exchange it for Ethereum, Litecoin, or another digital currency.
Using Coinmama, you can make cryptocurrency purchases and that’s it. Their original mission was to offer a simple way to buy Bitcoin. Nothing more, nothing less. They’ve added other coins to their offer. And if – and only if – you live in Europe, you can also sell your coins. Other than that, their mission has not varied.
These two are similar companies in a lot of ways. They both are beginner-friendly, try to make everything simple, and offer a clean interface.
Credibility and company info
As we already said, we’re dealing with the veterans here. To be in business this long in the ever-changing cryptocurrency landscape, they both must be doing something right. Their names are synonyms with credibility, as their respective stories will make clear.
The year was 2012. The city was San Francisco, California, in the United States. The visionaries were Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. A success from day one, it only took them two years to get to a million users.
That attracted serious investment and serious USD, which they used to create a separate platform for advanced users and professional traders. Once upon a time, it was called GDAX, which stands for Global Digital Asset Exchange. Nowadays, they just call it Coinbase Pro.
The year was 2013. The city was Ramat Gan, in Israel. The company is owned by New Bit Ventures and is currently registered in Slovakia. They were one of the firsts to offer the possibility of buying Bitcoin with a credit card. And that’s a massive contribution to the crypto ecosystem.
Coinmama doesn’t offer much information about their history, but on their about page, they claim, “We believe that the future of money is one where we, the people, are in control of our own economy. A future where there’s no place for middle-men, hidden fees and fine print.“
Licenses and regulatory compliance
If there’s one company that can match, and even surpass, Coinbase’s legendary approach to complying with the law is Coinmama. They’re both approved to operate in most of the United States by the appropriate regulatory body. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, FinCEN, considers them Money Services Business.
Coinmama is available in most of the United States, except for Hawaii and New York. Also exclude the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, United States Minor Outlying Islands, and the Virgin Islands.
As a U.S. company, Coinbase is licensed to operate all over that country, including the elusive New York. There are certain restrictions, though. You’ll find first-hand information here.
Coinmama claims it’s available “in over 190 countries and territories worldwide.” Their trick is to partner with third-party platforms to complete transactions in countries they’re unable to serve directly.
Even with that, there are countries they can’t do business with: Cuba, Crimea, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea, Palestinian Territories, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and their own, Israel. Find the complete lists of available markets here.
On the other hand, Coinbase claims it has users “in over 100 countries.” They can only offer to buy and sell cryptocurrency in 42 countries, though, and most of those are in Europe. To the others, they offer the Coinbase wallet to handle their digital currency and not much else. Here’s the list of available countries.
Coinmama vs Coinbase features review
On a certain level, it seems wrong to compare these two. But we’re going to do it anyway.
In general, Coinbase is considered one of the most expensive exchanges. But if we’re talking high fees, it’s got nothing on Coinmama.
Since Coinmama is a brokerage service, you pay a premium for the privilege of buying directly from them in a user-friendly structure. Their prices already “include our commission fee of up to 3.90%.” Besides that, you also have to pay a 5% fee to use a debit, credit, pre-paid, or virtual card.
You can skip the second fee with a SWIFT bank transfer, but the order has to be for over 1000 USD. If it’s for less than that, they’ll charge a flat fee of 20 Pound Sterling.
In Coinbase, they talk about deposits because you can do several things with that money besides buy Bitcoin. If you use a credit card or a debit card, they’ll charge a 3.99% fee. They charge 1.49%f you deposit through a bank account. For a SEPA or ACH transfer, the transaction is free of charge. A wire transfer deposit will cost you $10.
Fee example (on one BTC)
Let’s pretend one Bitcoin is already worth $20.000, and we’re doing a credit card transaction for a whole coin.
Using Coinbase we would pay $20.798
Using Coinmama we would pay $21.780
The second transaction is available all over the world, though.
There are no trading fees in Coinmama because you can’t trade there.
In Coinbase, the general trading fee is 0.5%, but they have a more expensive flat fee for small operations. Here’s the chart that explains it:
- If the total transaction amount is less than or equal to $10, the fee is $0.99 | €0,99 | £0,99 | C$.99
- If the total transaction amount is more than $10 but less than or equal to $25, the fee is $1.49 | €1,49 | £1,49 | C$1.49
- If the total transaction amount is more than $25 but less than or equal to $50, the fee is $1.99 | €1,99 | £1,99 | C$1.99
- If the total transaction amount is more than $50 but less than or equal to $200, the fee is $2.99 | €2,99 | £2,99 | C$2.99
In Coinbase Pro, a proper trading platform, the transactions are cheaper: Takers’ trading fees are between 0.04% and 0.50%, and Makers’ fees are between 0.00% and 0.50%. The difference there is, the takers provide liquidity and the makers subtract it.
Coinmama accepts debit cards and credit cards, as well as pre-paid or virtual cards. They receive SEPA, SWIFT, and wire bank transfers. Plus, they are the first company to accept Apple Pay.
On the other hand, Coinbase takes SEPA, SWIFT, and direct bank deposits from approved accounts. And wire transfers starting at $5000. They also accept debit cards and credit cards, but they won’t accept cards without an associated billing address.
At the moment, none of the services we’re reviewing accept Paypal.
Nevertheless, in certain areas, the latter will let you sell cryptocurrency and receive payment through Paypal.
They both offer their prices in USD, EUR, AUD, and other Fiat currencies.
None of these companies is trying to be Binance and offer a thousand coins.
Coinmama started as a place to buy Bitcoin, but nowadays they offer Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), Qtum (QTUM), EOS (EOS), and Tezos (XTZ).
On the other hand, Coinbase offers 34 different coins. However, “Availability for buying, selling, depositing, and withdrawing supported cryptocurrencies varies by cryptocurrency. Fees and availability also depend on your country, and payment method.” You can find the complicated list here.
Both companies are international banking operations that fully comply with the law. They adhere to the strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) policies they’re expected to uphold.
Before doing business with you, they both are going to need to check your ID card and get a high-resolution photo of your face.
Coinmama doesn’t offer a phone hotline or a chat available 24/7 like most crypto exchanges. They have an extensive knowledge base in their Help Center and they offer support tickets via email. They promise to reply in 24 hours.
If you browse the Internet, you’ll find complaints about Coinmama’s customer support. You’ll also find praise, though.
Cryptocurrency exchanges are struggling to meet the constantly increasing demand, and that’s evident in customer support stories.
Coinbases’s reputation in this regard is not as bad as other cryptocurrency exchanges, but it’s not good. At all.
They offer a phone number for emergencies, a 24/7 chat, issue support tickets vía mail, and provide a searchable knowledge base and several guides.
Coinmama is not a wallet provider. They don’t keep or store any coins. And they don’t have a mobile app.
Coinbase, on the other hand, has been investing time and money in improving their wallet. Nowadays they offer two: the custodial wallet connected to your account, and a stand-alone wallet in which you get to keep your own keys.
With this second wallet, you can “buy and store ERC-20 tokens, participate in airdrops and ICOs, collect rare digital art and other collectibles, browse decentralized apps (DApps), shop at stores that accept cryptocurrency, and send crypto to anyone around the world.”
Both are available for Android and iOS.
Coinmama vs Coinbase Pro (ex. GDAX)
There’s no way to compare these two. The former is a brokerage service in which you can do one thing. The latter a professional trading platform in which you can do everything. They’re almost the exact opposite.
Ease of use
Normally, this would be the point that Coinbase gets by default. Ease of use is the name of the game for this company, they have the simplest interface of them all… or do they?
Since Coinmama started as a place to buy Bitcoin and nowadays sells cryptocurrency and not much else, their interface is even more straight forward. You go, you buy, goodbye.
There’s no service as beginner-friendly as Coinmama.
Both of these companies use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) for increased security.
Besides that, since Coinmama doesn’t store your crypto, they don’t require as much security efforts. They’ll sell you your Bitcoin and send it to the wallet of your preference. From then on, security is on you.
Coinbase offers a whitelist of addresses as an opt-in security feature. That means, you can only send coins to certain addresses previously approved by you.
They also store the vast majority of user’s and company’s funds in cold storage. Those are wallets that aren’t connected to the Internet, therefore are safe for digital attacks.
Which cryptocurrency exchange is better for you?
The answer to this question is Coinbase. Because it’s the only one of the two that’s an actual crypto exchange.
Coinmama wanted to create an easy way to buy Bitcoin and they succeeded in that. They excel in two things: simplicity and availability. And it could be said they’re almost unbeatable at both.
If buying Bitcoin is a hard endeavor in your country, Coinmama might be the solution you were asking for. The fees might be high, but you’ll be able to make the transaction.
For everybody else, the San Francisco exchange provides everything you’ll possibly need at a cheaper price.
It also should be said that if it’s altcoins you’re searching for, none of these companies are right for you. Try Binance instead.