Cryptocurrency investors in the U.S. are bound to come across Coinbase. One of the leading mainstream cryptocurrency exchanges in the world serves more than 43 million users across over 100 countries. Coinbase has processed close to half a trillion dollars of volume in crypto trades since its founding in 2012. There’s no doubt that Coinbase is a massively popular site among crypto investors of all kinds. But is it the right crypto exchange for you? Below, we’ll look at Coinbase in greater detail in our comprehensive review.
Overview for Fast Readers
- Coinbase is among the most popular crypto exchanges in the world, with more than 43 million users in over 100 countries.
- The Coinbase platform is easy to use, with an efficient account setup process, a clear order system, and an uncluttered, user-friendly dashboard.
- Coinbase offers strong liquidity and a fairly wide selection of cryptocurrencies for transacting.
- On the other hand, the Coinbase fee system can be convoluted and transactions are often more expensive than other exchanges or the Coinbase Pro professional platform.
A Transparent Coinbase Review
Coinbase offers numerous benefits for both the novice and the experienced cryptocurrency investor alike. The site boasts a straightforward, easy account setup process (look to Thebitcamp’s Coinbase guide for more information about setting up a Coinbase account). Even after account setup, Coinbase prioritizes user experience with an easy-to-use dashboard that allows you to trade quickly and easily. The large number of users means that liquidity is high, and there are many of the most popular cryptocurrencies available for trade.
On the other hand, Coinbase is not the best cryptocurrency exchange for everyone. While Coinbase offers excellent global coverage, there are certain locations that the company does not serve. The same can be said for Coinbase’s list of cryptocurrencies on offer. Investors looking for cryptos outside of this list would be best off looking elsewhere. Users also tend to pay a premium for Coinbase’s easy-to-use interface and popular platform, with comparably high fees for non-Coinbase Pro accounts.
Advantages of Coinbase
Given that it is among the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, it’s perhaps not surprising that Coinbase would have many advantages. Below, we’ll take a closer look at several of them.
One of the biggest benefits to joining Coinbase is the company’s popularity. With more than 43 million users worldwide, Coinbase boasts a larger userbase than many rival exchanges. This is both a reflection of the trust that millions of crypto enthusiasts have in Coinbase’s platform and security, as well as a boon for potential Coinbase users. With cryptocurrency exchanges relying on having robust userbases to facilitate smooth and timely transactions, Coinbase’s strong customer base positions it well in terms of liquidity. This is admittedly less of a concern for many investors today than it was when Coinbase was founded nearly a decade ago, as cryptocurrencies have taken the world by storm in the intervening time. Nonetheless, when cryptocurrency prices move quickly, investors want their transactions to match. Coinbase is a very strong cryptocurrency exchange option in this area.
More Than 50 Cryptocurrencies Available
Investors looking to focus on Bitcoin, Ethereum, or one of a handful of other highly popular cryptocurrencies will certainly find what they are looking for at Coinbase. But cryptocurrency investors choosing to target coins that are less well known also have many reasons to consider Coinbase as well. As of this writing, the company offers support for roughly 50 cryptocurrencies at some level. The exact list of cryptocurrencies supported for each user will depend on that user’s country and governmental regulations, so the list is not necessarily the same in all parts of the world.
The world of cryptocurrency investing can seem daunting. Coinbase goes to great lengths to minimize confusion and make the process straightforward for its users. The Coinbase account dashboard is clean, easy to read, and free of clutter:
Upon logging in to your account, Coinbase provides a convenient set of navigation options which quickly allow you to buy or sell cryptos, send or receive tokens, view your portfolio, your recent transactions, and a price list, and more. When you’re ready to complete a transaction, Coinbase minimizes the amount of information to input. Simply select your transaction type, cryptocurrency, payment method, and quantity, and Coinbase takes care of the rest.
For users new to cryptocurrencies, Coinbase also offers a program that provides rewards to investors for learning about cryptocurrencies and completing tasks like verifying their account.
Disadvantages of Coinbase
No cryptocurrencye exchange is perfect for every user, and Coinbase is no exception. Read on for some considerations you may want to keep in mind when deciding if Coinbase is the exchange for you.
High Fees When Not Using Coinbase Pro
Coinbase offers two types of memberships. Users can create a basic Coinbase account or a more in-depth Coinbase Pro account. We’ll explain Coinbase Pro in more detail below, but a key distinction between these two types of Coinbase user experiences is the fee structure. One complaint that some users have about Coinbase is that transaction fees for Coinbase tend to be high, while those for Coinbase Pro are more competitive. The two services have different fee structures. Coinbase charges a spread fee, typically of 0.5%, as well as a Coinbase fee (the latter of these is the higher of a flat fee and a fee based on payment type, product feature, and/or location). Coinbase Pro, on the other hand, charges based on a maker-taker fee model, with fees typically no higher than 0.5% in total.
Ownership of Private Keys If You Leave Cryptocurrency on the Exchange
Coinbase is not unique among many popular crypto exchanges in that it does not allow users to control their own crypto wallet keys. When you buy cryptocurrency on Coinbase, the exchange stores that cryptocurrency on a wallet that it has control over. This makes the process easier for the user, but it also removes some of that user’s control. Particularly given the emphasis that many cryptocurrencies and crypto investors place on decentralizing currency and finance, this may be a sticking point for some investors. Coinbase does not charge a fee for wallet usage, and users can withdraw their holdings to a personal wallet if they wish.
Fewer Altcoins Than Some Competitors
If you are looking for a particular altcoin, you may have better luck looking to specialized alternative exchanges. Coinbase supports trading for a wide variety of cryptos, but the list is far from comprehensive.
Coinbase Pro is the professional-level platform alternative to the basic Coinbase platform. Users of Coinbase Pro have additional services available beyond those of Coinbase, including market tracking, advanced order options and monitoring, multiple portfolios, and trading API. One of the other biggest incentives to switch to Coinbase Pro is the simplified and less expensive trading system.
How to Use Coinbase
Coinbase makes the account creation, verification, funding, and transaction processes highly straightforward. The platform walks users through each step and it is possible to create an account and begin trading in just minutes. For users looking for a more detailed guide, check out our detailed Coinbase guide here.
Coinbase Review Summary
Coinbase is among the most popular and widely-used crypto exchanges in the world, and for good reason. The platform boasts a robust userbase, strong liquidity, a solid selection of cryptocurrencies for trade, an easy-to-use interfact, and two types of accounts catering to novice and advanced investors. On the other hand, Coinbase fees can be relatively high compared to some competitors and to the Coinbase Pro fee structure, and users have to give up some control of their crypto holdings by not being able to own their own wallet through Coinbase. All in all, Coinbase is an excellent choice for many crypto enthusiasts. If you feel that you may be looking for a different crypto exchange experience, alternatives like DXOne may be worth some exploring as well.