Coinbase is one of the most established cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States and one of the largest in the world. But always consider the risks of trading these speculative currencies., in simple terms Coinbase is a cryptocurrency trading and investing platform that offers users the ability to buy, sell, and exchange over 100 tradable cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. Coinbase is a large company with over 73 million users and $255 billion in assets on the platform.
the company runs two different platforms known as Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. Each allows you to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies but offers unique features.
Opening a Coinbase Account
Signing up for Coinbase is a reasonably quick and easy process similar to opening a new bank or brokerage account online. Plan on entering your personal contact information, including your Social Security number, to open a fully verified account.
New account holders have to submit a picture of a government ID to prove you’re who you say you are. If you’ve heard that cryptocurrency is anonymous, this should be your evidence that Coinbase may track your transactions for tax reporting and other regulatory reasons.
Once you’ve set up your account and your information is verified, you’re able to buy and sell cryptocurrency up to your Coinbase account limits.
Customer service is one of the most significant issues users have with Coinbase. It’s nearly impossible to reach a human for any type of help, so consider Coinbase to be primarily self-service.
Officially supported customer service options are the Coinbase help page, emailed support tickets, an automated phone system, and a chatbot.
When all works as expected, you’re likely to find yourself to be a happy customer. But sometimes, things don’t go as planned, and customer reviews indicate poor customer service experiences and little help navigating scams, hacked accounts, and locked accounts.
At Trustpilot, for example, Coinbase holds a rating of just 1.6 stars with over 6,000 reviews. Most complaints focus on customer service, lost funds, and frozen accounts.3 Customers at other rating sites left similar complaints.4
Coinbase also suffers from a problem that seems to be plaguing many industry competitors. In fact, more than 11,000 complaints were filed with the Federal Trade Commission, and many past users claim they’ve been left with little to no support after losing funds due to hacked accounts.5
You can view and manage your account at any time using the Coinbase website and mobile app. You’re never far from viewing your portfolio balance or entering a trade:
Pros & Cons
- Offers access to nearly 100 cryptocurrencies.
- Low minimum to fund account.
- Cryptocurrency is insured in event website is hacked.
- Higher fees than other cryptocurrency exchanges.
Coinbase supports trading of over 100 cryptocurrencies and regularly puts new coins on the list. There are too many to list here, so here’s a glance at some of the most popular currencies on Coinbase:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Solana (SOL)
- Polkadot (DOT)
- USD Coin (USDC)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Uniswap (UNI)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Shiba Inu (SHIB)
- Algorand (ALGO)
- Stellar Lumens (XLM)
- Polygon (MATIC)
- DAI (DAI)
- SushiSwap (SUSHI)
Coinbase vs. Gemini
Gemini is one of the closest direct competitors to Coinbase. Here’s a head-to-head comparison:
- Coinbase has spread pricing and Gemini fixed fees.
- Both are U.S.-based firms that cooperate with United States regulators, namely FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network).
- Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are comparable to Gemini’s Gemini and ActiveTrader platforms.
Coinbase is best for:
- Cryptocurrency traders looking for convenience.
- Traders who want to easily convert one cryptocurrency to another.
More details about Coinbase’s ratings
The minimum amount needed to buy cryptocurrency on Coinbase is $2.
Trading and transaction fees
Coinbase’s fee structure is a confusing combination of elements that depend on two factors:
- Coinbase charges a spread of about 0.5% for cryptocurrency sales and purchases; rates may be higher or lower depending on market fluctuations.
- Coinbase also charges a fee, the greater of either a flat fee or a variable one depending on the amount purchased and the payment type.
Coinbase gives these fee guidelines for total amount of trade:
|Total trade amount||Fee|
|$10 or less||$0.99|
|More than $10 and up to $25||$1.49|
|More than $25 and up to $50||$1.99|
|More than $50 and up to $200||$2.99|
And these fee guidelines for payment type in the U.S.:
|U.S. bank account or Coinbase wallet||1.49%|
|Instant card withdrawal||Up to 1.5% (minimum fee of $0.55)|
|Wire transfer||$10 ($25 outgoing)|
So if you purchase $100 of bitcoin through your U.S. bank account, the flat fee would be calculated as $2.99 (rather than 1.49%, or $1.49, as the $2.99 is the higher of the two), along with the spread, which is the difference between the bid and ask price of the currency.
By comparison, Coinbase Pro’s pricing model is more straightforward, although fees have risen slightly over the last year. It’s based on your monthly trading volume and liquidity of the asset at the time of purchase; if immediately available, you’re charged a “taker” fee, and if your order needs to wait for a buyer, you are charged a “maker” fee. With Coinbase Pro, deposits and withdrawals must be made through a bank account; no card purchases are allowed. Wire transfer fees still apply.
|Pricing tier||Taker fee||Maker fee|
|Up to $10K||0.50%||0.50%|
|$10K – $50K||0.35%||0.35%|
|$50K – $100K||0.25%||0.15%|
|$100K – $1M||0.20%||0.10%|
|$1M – $10M||0.18%||0.08%|
|$10M – $20M||0.18%||0.08%|
|$20M – $50M||0.15%||0.05%|
|$50M – $100M||0.15%||0.05%|
|$100M – $300M||0.1%||0.02%|
|$300M – $500M||0.08%||0.00%|
|$500M – $750M||0.06%||0.00%|
|$750M – $1B||0.05%||0.00%|
|$1B – $2B||0.04%||0.00%|
For the basic service on the regular Coinbase platform, the transaction minimum is $2, up to a total of $25,000 per day. With Coinbase Pro, trade and balance levels are unlimited, and while withdrawals are initially limited to $25,000 a day, users can request an increase in that amount.
Number of cryptocurrencies
Coinbase offers 96 cryptocurrencies for U.S. customers to trade, a larger number than many other platforms.
Crypto-to-crypto trading pairs
Coinbase offers around 80 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs, with dozens that can trade for bitcoin and ether, and more than 10 currencies that can trade with stablecoins like USDC — a coin whose price is always equivalent to US$1.
Digital wallet options and security
While cryptocurrency exchanges are not protected by the FDIC or the SIPC, Coinbase says that all of the digital currency it holds online is insured. The company says it holds less than 2% of customer funds online, with the rest stored in offline cold storage — away from possible online breaches — and says that if it were to suffer a breach of its online storage, “the insurance policy would pay out to cover any customer funds lost as a result.”
The company notes the insurance covers only losses related to Coinbase cybersecurity or employee theft; breaches to individual Coinbase accounts (say, if your password were compromised) are not covered.
Cash balances are held in U.S. custodial accounts, money market funds or U.S. Treasurys. If your funds are held in U.S. banks, they are insured up to $250,000 per individual by the FDIC.
The Coinbase apps for iOS and Android are highly rated by users and include many of the same functions and features as the desktop site.