Coinbase Review 2021: Pros, Cons, Fees And More
Whether you’ve been involved in the world of crypto for a while, or you’re just now getting your feet wet, there’s a good chance you’re heard of Coinbase. With more than 35 million users, this popular trading platform is one of the most trusted and reliable exchanges in the industry.
- Operating Since 2012
- Currencies Supported 60
- Fees Varied. Read fees section.
- Deposit methods Bank and Wire Transfers, Debit Cards and PayPal
- Fiat currencies Yes
- Verification methods KYC, AML
- Margin trading No
- Futures trading No
But what is it about Coinbase that people like? What makes it such a popular and well-recognized crypto exchange?
I’ll go over these questions and more in this Coinbase review. I’ll talk about what features are available on the platform, what cryptocurrencies it supports, what fees you can expect to encounter, and much more.
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, in the United States, Coinbase has been offering crypto services to its users since 2012. Since then, the platform has expanded and grown. Coinbase has both increased its core team and the number of coins it supports – but we’ll get more into that in a bit.
Even though the exchange resides in the US and observes its regulations, it’s also available in many other countries around the world. In 2015, the platform was the first to provide a cryptocurrency exchange regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US.
The platform’s customer base has grown by leaps and bounds in that same period, as has its trading volume. The exchange now boasts more than 35 million users worldwide and has done more than $220 billion in trading volume since its inception. Not too shabby.
In March of 2021, Coinbase took the next step toward becoming a publicly-traded company by filing its IPO with the necessary regulatory agencies. At the time of its filing, Coinbase shares were valued at $343, which gives the company a total valuation of over $39 billion.
However, the platform has yet to announce an official date. Many reports suggest that it could be April 2021, but nothing official is available at this time. We do know that it will be listed on Nasdaq under the COIN ticker.
Coinbase Features at a Glance
One of the most popular sites to get started with crypto is Coinbase. This well-known wallet not only lets you buy, sell, and trade coins but also lets you earn more through short videos and courses. It’s a solid option for anyone new to the world of cryptocurrencies.
Learn about cryptocurrencies and more by visiting Coinbase today.Visit Coinbase
Let’s take a quick look at some of the primary features you’ll get when using this exciting cryptocurrency exchange.
Easy to navigate
Once you’ve registered for Coinbase, you’ll quickly notice just how easy-to-use its website is. As a result, it’s one of the best tools in the industry for anyone just getting started in crypto. With a clean and straightforward design, the platform is easy to navigate, making everything you need easily accessible.
Supports trusted assets
Since Coinbase is regularly used as a point of entry into the crypto industry, it aims to ensure that its users know it is a secure and trusted platform. With its exchange features, you can purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and many other trusted cryptocurrencies.
This is primarily due to the exchange only offering cryptocurrencies that are guaranteed. It won’t support tokens or currencies that run the risk of being equities or securities. It’s not often that the platform adds new coins, which is why it’s one of the most trusted exchanges in the market.
Instantly exchange assets
If you’re interested in sending money via Bitcoin but want the transaction to occur in a fiat currency, the platform offers its “Instant Exchange” feature. As opposed to using your fiat to buy BTC, then sending it, you can use the fiat itself to send the Bitcoin in one quick and seamless action. Pay with fiat, and Coinbase converts it to BTC for you.
Learn and earn
Users can also use the exchange to earn cryptocurrency through the site’s educational tools. These go beyond just teaching users how to buy and sell digital assets. Coinbase Earn rewards users for learning more about cryptocurrencies available on the platform.
Watch a few videos about how each coin operates, then answer a few questions. When you’re finished, the exchange will send you a small amount of crypto right to your account. What other platform do you know that does that?
If you’re not paying attention, Coinbase fees can sneak up on you. Their fee schedule can be challenging to grasp, so I’m going to do my best to break it into smaller bites for the purpose of my review.
For starters, when you purchase crypto through the exchange, you’re going to pay the platform’s market price, + a 0.5% transaction fee. This is a flat charge, so long as the transaction is below $200. The vast majority of transaction fees when you buy Bitcoin and other currencies will be around 1.49%. However, if you’re using your credit card, Coinbase charges 3.99%.
It’s easy to see that getting a straightforward answer about fees is a challenge for anyone. It’s even trickier with Coinbase, which makes it a sticking point for many who use the platform. If you want to learn more about the exchange’s fee structure, you can check it out here.
While Coinbase fees are higher than other platforms, they don’t price gouge. You’re essentially paying for the simplicity of its platform. Plus, transactions with other Coinbase accounts are free, so there are some benefits.
Why are fees so high?
It’s no secret that Coinbase charges fees that are higher than the average in the industry. The question is, why do they do it? For starters, Coinbase is very convenient. New users will flock to the site due to its simplicity and ease of use. However, if that ceased to be the case, I’m sure we would see the platform lower its rates.
Additionally, those who use Coinbase find that the exchange is trustworthy, safe, and secure. Coinbase users will gladly pay the high fees to know their assets and information is protected. Users may not be aware of trust other options, or they may simply find them not worth their time, so they’re willing to pay the fees the platform charges.
If you’re a high-volume investor who needs an exchange with plenty of liquidity, Coinbase or Coinbase Pro might be the right platform for you. From a sheer numbers standpoint, the exchange consistently ranks second in exchanges behind Binance, bringing in nearly $3 billion in trading volume in a 24-hour period.
One thing to note about Coinbase is that it doesn’t support all cryptocurrencies the same way. Buying, selling, trading, withdrawing, and depositing will depend on the crypto you’re using. Additionally, fees and country support will vary based on the digital coin. Here are some of the coins The exchange currently supports:
- BTC (Bitcoin)
- ETH (Ethereum)
- EOS (Eos)
- BCH (Bitcoin Cash)
- ALGO (Algorand)
- LTC (Litecoin)
- ZRX (0x)
- ETC (Ethereum Classic)
- ADA (Cardano)
- DASH (DASH)
To see the complete list of coins, Coinbase supports go here.
Coinbase provides support for more than 100 different countries around the world. Here are just a few of the countries that provide access to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies:
This is not an exhaustive list. Keep in mind that some countries have more access and functionality than other countries. To know what access you have, check out the entire list on the Coinbase site.
Coinbase only supports three deposit types: bank transfers, wire transfers, and debit cards. Let’s take a quick look at each of these.
Bank and Wire Transfers
Bank and wire transfers are available to all customers on the platform. These types of deposits typically go through your bank’s ACH system, which usually takes between 3 and 5 business days to complete.
Mastercard and Visa debit cards are supported by the platform as well. However, you should note that at this time, Coinbase does not support prepaid cards or any other card that doesn’t have a billing address associated with it.
One last deposit option I want to mention is PayPal. This option isn’t available in all countries, but it is an option in select regions. So if you have a PayPal account and want to use it to fund your account, you can do so, provided you live in a supported country.
Unlike the vast majority of other crypto exchanges, Coinbase will take several fiat currencies. These currencies include GBP, EUR, and USD. Additionally, the platform supports other payment methods that allow users to move their fiat onto the exchange to purchase digital currencies.
These other methods include transfers from your bank account, PayPal, SEPA transfers, debit cards/credit cards, and much more. As you can see, the platform does everything it can to make things as painless as possible for its users.
If you regularly buy and sell crypto, or you’re looking for a platform that allows you to do more cryptocurrency trading, you can quickly move your assets over to Coinbase Pro, formerly known as GDAX. Through Coinbase Pro, you can trade to your heart’s content.
However, the same policies and securities you’ll find on Coinbase apply to Coinbase Pro. The platform only supports assets that it believes are reliable and secure.
Coinbase also offers its easy-to-navigate user interface exchange on mobile devices. With the app, you can perform nearly all the tasks available on the website.
For example, you can place buy or sell orders, just like you can from the Desktop platform. Just tap the convert button, choose the digital asset you want, and place your order. The whole process takes less than 60 seconds.
The app is free to download on both Android and iOS devices, which means you can take the exchange anywhere you go. Additionally, if you regularly use Coinbase Pro, there is a separate app for that as well, available on both mobile platforms.
To be clear, there is a distinction between the native wallet Coinbase provides on its site and the Coinbase Wallet.
This wallet is a distinct and separate wallet from the native wallet on the exchange, but I still wanted to mention it since it carries the Coinbase name.
Coinbase Wallet is available on Android and iOS devices and supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies, including some of the more popular ones. You can deposit Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar, Dogecoin, and any ERC20 token into your Coinbase Wallet.
Even though it’s not yet available, I wanted to include the Coinbase Card on my list of features. That’s because the exchange is going out of its way to make spending your digital assets as easy as possible. With the Coinbase Card, you can do just that.
While the card is actually a Visa debit card, users in the United States can freely spend any Bitcoin they have in their wallet. It works just like any other Visa card. The only difference is that when you make a purchase, the equivalent amount of BTC is withdrawn from your funds.
Is Coinbase Safe?
Regarding safety, the exchange goes out of its way to ensure that user funds are secure and protected. The platform stores 98% of its digital assets in cold storage, which means hackers are out of luck even if they happen to gain access to the platform.
Coinbase only keeps 2% of its total volume in hot storage, which is used to provide the necessary liquidity for day traders.
The exchange protects its cold storage with AES-256 encryption, data redundancy, and paper backups in the event that anything happens to its FIPS-140 USB drives.
To protect things even further, all paper backups are kept in vaults and deposit boxes in facilities spread around the world.
From a user account perspective, Coinbase requires 2-step authentication to verify all accounts on the platform. This is done through the use of a mobile phone and has to be paired with a username and password to access the exchange.
When it comes to simple security, Coinbase provides its users with excellent protection. User data and platform assets are protected, safe, and insured. That means you have the peace of mind in knowing that your funds aren’t going anywhere, and even if they do, Coinbase has you covered.
Buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrency can be a daunting experience no matter what platform or exchange you’re using.
Here are some commonly asked questions with detailed answers, so you have a better idea of what to expect.
How do you use the Coinbase exchange?
Coinbase is an intuitive platform, so using it isn’t difficult. Still, sometimes it’s nice to know exactly what to expect when you sign up for an exchange. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to register, fund, and buy cryptocurrency with Coinbase.
- Sign up – The first thing you need to do to use the platform is sign up for an account. The only information you need is your name, a valid email address, and a secure password.
- Type of Account – Once you’ve confirmed your email address with the exchange, you’ll be directed to select an account type. Your choices are business or individual.
- Phone Number Confirmation – The next thing you’ll need to do is validate your phone number. Coinbase uses 2-factor authentication for security purposes, which requires the use of your phone number.
- Fund Your Account – As I mentioned previously, there are several ways to fund your Coinbase account. Typically, you’ll notice a few small confirmation transactions to and from your bank account to verify everything. Keep in mind that transfers can take a few days, no matter what country you’re in. Debit card transactions are almost instant, so you’re probably better going that route if you have that option. Also, don’t forget you can use PayPal as well. Link your PayPal account to quickly and easily access funds when you need them.
- Purchase Crypto – Once your funds arrive, you’re ready to start buying cryptocurrency. Be sure that you’re selecting the correct currency before you click on that ‘Submit’ button. When it’s confirmed, the amount of the digital currency you purchased will be credited to your wallet.
How to close a Coinbase account?
If you want to close your Coinbase account, you’ll need to navigate to the ‘Activity’ page and find the ‘Close Account’ button near the bottom.
To close out your account, it has to have a zero balance. That means, if you have any funds in your wallet, you’ll need to send them to an external wallet or another Coinbase account.
Keep in mind that Coinbase does retain some personal info, like your email address, for at least five years.
How to transfer money from Binance to Coinbase?
Transferring money between exchanges is the work of just a few minutes if you’re a professional trader.
For beginners, though, you should be very cautious about moving funds from one platform to another. The problem is that if you enter the wrong address or send your crypto to the wrong blockchain, your funds are gone, and no one will be able to get it for you.
So let’s move some crypto from one exchange to the other. In this example, from Binance to Coinbase.
First, sign in to your Coinbase account. Since you’re withdrawing from Binance and depositing into Coinbase, you’ll need to get the corresponding deposit address. Choose your coin, then copy the address.
Keep in mind that you can only move coins that are listed on both exchanges. If both platforms do not support the crypto you want to move, don’t go any further, as you’ll simply lose your funds if you try.
Next, you need to head over to the Binance homepage and log in.
Go to your Binance wallet and find the withdraw option. A window will pop up and begin the withdrawal process. Choose the coin you want to withdraw. Again, be sure that it’s the same coin you chose to deposit into your Coinbase account.
In the ‘Recipient’s Address’ field, paste in the address you copied from your Coinbase deposit.
Enter the amount of crypto you are withdrawing in the ‘Amount’ field. Once you enter the amount, Binance will tell you how much you’ll pay in transaction fees and how much you’ll receive once those fees are paid.
Now you’ll click on the ‘Submit’ button to begin finalizing the withdrawal. However, there are a few more steps to complete before everything is said and done.
The next thing you’ll have to do is enter the 2-factor authentication code. If you haven’t already enabled 2FA on Binance, be sure you do that before beginning the withdrawal process.
Once you provide the 2FA code, Binance will request that you validate the withdrawal through email. A link is sent to your email address.
Click on the link, and the withdrawal process will initiate. Find your “Recent Withdrawal History’ in Binance to confirm that your withdrawal has started.
One last item to note is that not all withdrawals and deposits are instant.
Some coins, like Bitcoin, can take a while to complete. Just be sure that your deposit address matches your withdrawal, and you’ll be fine. Be patient. Your funds will arrive before you know it.
How long does it take Coinbase to verify id?
Coinbase is a financial service regulated by the governing authorities in the United States. As a result, the site may be periodically required to prove some of its users’ identity.
Coinbase is complying with KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-money Laundering) laws by verifying user identity on the platform.
The platform abides by all rules and regulations so that it can continue to provide a high-quality cryptocurrency exchange to its users. When you’ve successfully met the identity requirements set forth by Coinbase, you can expect verification to take roughly 2-3 minutes.
Coinbase requests ID + Photo verification for the use of its platform.
Your ID can be in the form of a passport, driver’s license, or other documentation Coinbase approves. The site lets you use your phone or webcam to take a photo of yourself and submit it on the platform. Once successful, you can move on to funding your account and start trading.
Why is Coinbase best for beginners?
It’s no accident that the platform is among the world’s crypto exchange leaders. Coinbase provides a very easy-to-use point of entry into the world of buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrencies. It doesn’t hurt that the site’s interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, and signing up is quick and painless.
Of course, the price for these types of features is that you’re going to pay reasonably high transaction fees.
There are cheaper exchanges, but for those just starting out, these might be intimidating or overwhelming. Coinbase does its best to be neither of those things.
Overall, Coinbase is one of the best exchanges in the industry. It’s an excellent way for any first-time crypto user to get their feet wet before jumping into the deep end. It might make sense to explore other exchanges and platforms after learning the ropes, like Kraken, Binance, and Gemini. For beginners, though, it’s tough to beat Coinbase.