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Coinbase Review: Pros, Cons

is probably the most established cryptocurrency exchange in the United States and one of the largest and most dominant in the world.


The exchange was launched in San Francisco back in 2012 it’s the largest cryptocurrency trading platform in the U.S and one of the top crypto exchanges by traffic, liquidity, and trading volumes in the world.

In addition to cryptocurrency brokerage, the exchange also offers custodial services for cryptocurrency storage for institutions, a cryptocurrency payments platform for businesses, and its own proprietary cryptocurrency, USD Coin (USDC), a stable cryptocurrency linked to the U.S. dollar. Back in April, Coinbase became the first U.S. crypto trading company listed on a U.S. exchange, and its initial public offering valued the company at a staggering USD 86 billion.

When using the company’s brokerage operation. Users have the choice to trade on or Coinbase Pro, which is a premium service that includes the ability to make crypto-to-crypto transactions and other advanced trading functions. Coinbase also has a free digital wallet for users on both iOS and Android platforms.

One nice feature of is while many cryptocurrency brokerages are not insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, Coinbase privately insures its site for any losses due to theft or hacks of the site.

is best for:

  • Cryptocurrency traders.
  • Traders who want to trade cryptocurrency for other cryptocurrencies.

The exchange currently offers 56 cryptocurrencies for U.S. customers to trade, and 59 on Coinbase Pro, which is one of the largest numbers compared to many other platforms. For example, SoFi Active Investing offers 20 cryptocurrencies, eToro offers less than 20, and Robinhood less than 10.

The Trading platforms for are available in 49 states (except Hawaii). The users can trade on one of the two platforms managed by the company: the original Coinbase platform, which allows users to use U.S. dollars to purchase cryptocurrency, and Coinbase Pro which has advanced charting functions and features allowing the users to make crypto-to-crypto transactions, place market orders and limit or stop them.

The Crypto trading costs structure is somehow a confusing combination of two factors:

  • charges a spread of about 0.5% for cryptocurrency sales and purchases.
  • 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 has these fee guidelines for the total amount of trade:

Total Trade AmountFee
USD 10  or lessUSD 0.99
More than USD 10 and up to USD 25USD 1.49
More than USD 25 and up to USD 50USD 1.99
More than USD 50 and up to USD 200USD 2.99

And these are the fee guidelines according to the payment type in the U.S.:

Payment MethodFee
U.S. bank account or Coinbase wallet1.49%
Debit card3.99%
Instant card withdrawalUp to 1.5% (minimum fee of $0.55)
ACH transferFree
Wire Transfer$10 ($25 outgoing)

Here is the math applied: let’s say a user purchases USD 100 worth of bitcoin through a 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 asks the price of the currency.

If compared to other exchanges Coinbase Pro’s pricing model is more straightforward. It’s based on monthly trading volume and the liquidity of the asset at the moment 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, all deposits and withdrawals must be made through a bank account; no card purchases are allowed and Wire transfer fees still apply.

Amount tradedTaker FeeMaker Fee
Up to USD 10K0.50%0.50%
USD 10K to USD 50K0.35%0.35%
USD 50K to USD 100K0.25%0.15%
USD 100K to USD 1M0.20%0.10%
USD 1M to USD 10M0.18%0.08%
USD 10M to USD 50M0.15%0.05%
USD 50M to USD 1000.10%0%

For the basic service, the minimum transaction is USD 2, up to a total of USD 25Kper days. With Coinbase Pro, trade and balance levels are unlimited, and while withdrawals are limited to $25,000 a day, users can request an increase in that amount.

Coinbase offers more than 60 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs, with more than 40 currencies that can trade for bitcoin, seven currencies that can trade with Ethereum, and 11 currencies that can trade with USDC which is a stablecoin whose price is always equivalent to USD 1.

On security and insurance, while cryptocurrency exchanges are not protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the SIPC, Coinbase says that all of the digital currency they hold online is insured. Coinbase says they hold less than 2% of the customer funds online, with the rest stored in offline cold storage disconnected from any possible online breaches.

The company notes the insurance covers only losses related to Coinbase cybersecurity or employee theft; breaches to individual private Coinbase accounts (i.e. if we lose our account password) there is no coverage.

The Mobile app for iOS and Android are highly rated by users and they include many of the same functions and features as the desktop site.

Coinbase provides a series of video classes and exams to educate users about cryptocurrency trading and 12 of the cryptocurrencies on offer. Users can earn more than $115 worth of cryptocurrencies covered in the classes.

Coinbase is considered one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S. The interface is quick and user-friendly.

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