Are you thinking about getting into cryptocurrency buying and selling? If so, you absolutely must use one of the online exchanges for convenience and verified trades. Think of crypto exchanges like a modern version of stock brokerage firms. When you use an exchange, you have all the tools you need to trade alt-coins like dogecoin, ethereum, bitcoin, and hundreds of others. When you start shopping for an exchange, you’ll want to search for one that has high security, low charges and fees, and a streamlined way of buying and selling the cryptocurrencies you prefer to trade.
Our research team tested dozens of the top exchanges. In the following Coinbase review, for example, we put several characteristics under our microscope, including general pricing policies, the number of currencies members can trade, withdrawal methods, the use of wallets, and much more. Our in-depth Coinbase review offers a final evaluation for readers who want to know the “bottom line” assessment of how the exchange measures up against its competitors.
We tested the Coinbase wallet, answered questions like, “Is Coinbase safe?”, and even did a couple of side-by-side comparisons, namely of Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro and Binance vs Coinbase so you can see how CB looks when compared directly to two of the other key players in this highly competitive market segment. Finally, no Coinbase review would be complete without a close-up view of Coinbase fees, which is usually one of the first things crypto enthusiasts want to know about. Here’s what we found out.
In the U.S. market, Coinbase (often called “CB” in media reports) is the largest exchange among all the competition. The company has been in operation for nearly a decade (since 2012, to be exact), and is based in San Francisco. Their top ranking is based on several key parameters, namely total trading volume, amount of liquidity, total visitor traffic, and several other factors.
Unlike some of its competitors, the CB exchange comes with plenty of extras, like a proprietary platform for payments if you are a business customer, special storage options for institutional clients, as well as a branded Coinbase alt-coin all their own, called USDC (which stands for U.S. Dollar Coin). Keep in mind that USDC is directly tied to the U.S. currency and is designed to be fully stable.
In early 2021, CB made history when they were officially listed as a company that offers shares of stock, thus appeared on a major U.S. securities exchange. The move was a big hit among investors and the IPO (initial public offering) brought a significant amount of cash into the CB coffers, to the tune of about $85 billion.
As you’ll discover in our detailed review below, CB is sort of a hybrid because they have both a “regular” exchange and an enhanced version called Coinbase Pro. Don’t worry about being confused. Just remember to read the section we included that compares Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro.
In a nutshell, Coinbase Pro users have access to dozens of advanced features, as well as the ability to directly trade one cryptocurrency for another. But, it’s also true that the two, both CB and CB Pro, have much in common, like the secure Coinbase wallet, a long list of alt-coins to trade, and much else.
Is Coinbase a Safe Choice For Crypto Traders?
One of the first questions people ask when they hear about all the features of the exchange is, “That’s great, but is Coinbase safe?” Consider this: Coinbase carries private insurance coverage against losses that result from hack attacks and other forms of theft. Very few alt-coin exchanges have that kind of protection. Additionally, CB goes to great lengths to safeguard account holders’ assets as well as their privacy. Only two percent of all client crypto funds are stored in “hot wallets” at any given time. The rest, 98 percent, reside in cold vaults, also known as offline wallets, where they are safe from hackers, thieves, and other people with bad intentions.
Who Should Use Coinbase?
What kinds of people will get the most out of Coinbase? First, beginning alt-coin traders tend to like the ease of setting up accounts and making their first trades. For more advanced traders, the site offers enough extras to follow market prices, analyze trends, and make various kinds of orders.
Stats and Important Facts
Coinbase fees are on the higher end of the spectrum. The minimum trade is just $2, with fees ranging from one-half of one percent up to 4.5 percent, based on the platform you use, the size of your total transaction, the method of payment you use, and which cryptocurrency you’re trading.
In all, users can choose from 56 different cryptocurrencies. You can use your own digital wallet, and there are two mobile apps available (Android and iOS). If you want to disable your account in an emergency, there’s a special phone number, but other than that, CB only communicates via email.
Pros and Cons
- The user interface is nicely designed and easy for new traders to use
- There are many alt-coins to choose from, compared to other exchanges
- Liquidity tends to be very high
- Unless you opt for CB Pro, you’ll be paying higher-than-average fees.
- While overall security is very high, account holders do not have any control of the keys to their wallets.
Compared to Binance
The Binance vs Coinbase comparison is educational for any trader who is torn between the two. Here are the pertinent facts that will help you decide.
- There are far more transaction types you can choose from compared to CB.
- Users have access to more than 500 different alt-coins for trading.
- Total cost-of-use for the exchange is one of the lowest in the industry.
- U.S. tax authorities and regulators know the exchange well and trust it.
- CB is listed on securities exchanges.
- The platform is user-friendly
Compared to Coinbase Pro
How does the “regular” CB compare to its amped-up version, CB Pro? Here’s what you need to know. CB Pro comes with all the features of CB, but has a much more straightforward fee structure and dozens of more trading methods. Plus, CB Pro has nicely drawn charts to help traders make more informed decisions about which coins to buy or sell.
What About the Coinbase Wallet?
Lots of today’s exchanges offer their own wallets. Some are better than others. Here are the good and bad points about the CB wallet:
For starters, it’s very simple to use and costs nothing to register or stash your alt-coins in. Additionally, nearly all the major cryptos are supported by the CB wallet and the level of security is extremely high.
Unfortunately, the total number of currencies supported by the wallet is rather small compared with main competitors. And, because the CB wallet is a hosted version, you’ll need to remain connected to the internet constantly.
The Bottom-Line On Coinbase
Coinbase is an exchange that is both well-established, recognized all over the world, and the largest such platform in the U.S. marketplace. However, when compared to its major competitors, the fee structures is quite confusing and overall fees tend to be higher than average.
Security is excellent, which is probably one of the main benefits that draws lots of new customers into CB. Trading crypto is a risky activity, even when markets are calm and stable. That’s why CB can get away with its higher fees (in our opinion). New traders, especially, want the peace of mind that comes in knowing they’re relatively safe from hacking and theft.
Another big plus for newcomers is that the exchange’s interface is very easy to use and fast. But, if you want to keep a detailed listing of your day-to-day expenses, based on fees and charges you incur, CB is not the best in the niche.
Overall, our verdict is this:
You could do a lot worse than Coinbase, but it still pays to shop around and decide which cryptocurrency coins you’ll be trading most frequently. If they are available on CB, consider giving the exchange a try, but don’t rule out other candidates where you’ll pay lower fees at the expense of giving up a bit of security.
Millions of customers trust Coinbase and use it for day-to-day trading of cryptocurrency. While CB does not earn our top rating, it is a worthy competitor among the upper tier of crypto exchanges.