Coinbase is the second most popular cryptocurrency exchange in the world, according to CoinMarketCap, and the top platform in the US. The service began its operation in 2021. The platform offers its users a rather wide range of services: holding digital coins in decentralized wallets, purchase of cryptocurrencies and trading at the exchange. Users who prefer active trading can also test Coinbase Pro, the broker’s daughter platform.
The number of registered users exceeds 73 million, according to the broker’s official website. These are mostly traders from the US, Western Europe, Australia and even CIS countries. Notably, unlike dozens of similar services, Coinbase holds over 40 licenses (BaFin, JFSA and other regulators), which greatly improves the trust towards the exchange.
IMPORTANT NOTICE! Some features of this exchange can be evaluated diametrically opposite, depending on the region of registration. For example, this applies to those who wish to remain as anonymous as possible. Therefore, in this review, we will try to focus on these features, while you can decide for yourself whether they are benefits or drawbacks depending on your goals.
Below, we will discuss the key features of the cryptocurrency exchange and learn what you need to do to start trading digital assets.
|Security and regulation||10|
|Deposit and withdrawal||7|
The exchange is considered to be one of the best crypto platforms, and the second largest after Binance in terms of trading volume. The key benefits of the exchange include a user-friendly interface, safety and legitimacy. The drawbacks are high fees (compared to other exchanges) and zero anonymity. Let’s review the pros and cons in detail.
|Regulation||BaFin, JFSA and other regulators|
|Taker fee||from 0.04% to 0.50%|
|Maker fee||from 0.00% to 0.50%|
|BTC withdrawal limits||Depends on the level of verification and country of citizenship of the trader. For example, verified US citizens can withdraw up to $50,000 in the cryptocurrency equivalent.|
|USD withdrawal limits||Individual for each trader depending on the verification level and country of citizenship. For example, US traders can withdraw up to $50,000 per day to a bank account.|
|Withdrawal in Fiat||Available|
|Time frame for account opening||Account opening is immediate, but you need to verify your account to start trading. Verification can take 2 weeks or longer. The exchange can refuse to verify a trader if his country is not on the list of Coinbase partner countries.|
|Leverage||Margin trading was suspended in November 2020 following the resolution of the US regulator Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)|
|Passive income options||Staking, multi-tier referral programs.|
|Customer support languages||English|
|Deposit options||Bank transfer, debit/credit cards, crypto wallets, electronic payment systems (PayPal)|
|Withdrawal options||Bank transfer, debit/credit cards, crypto wallets, electronic payment systems (PayPal)|
|Account currencies||US Dollar, British Pound, Euro; Coinbase wallet also supports a number of cryptocurrencies: Ethereum, Polygon, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Stellar Lumens, Ripple.|
|Promos||Referral program, COTI|
Coinbase has a simple and clear fee structure. You can find the information about all fees in the Exchange fees section of the exchange’s Help platform.
Coinbase Exchange uses the maker and taker fee model to determine the trading fees. The orders that provide liquidity (maker orders) are charged with a different fee than the orders that take liquidity (taker orders). The fees are calculated on the basis of your pricing tier at the moment of order placement, and not on the tier you are after closing the trade.
In other words, if you are placing an order at the market price, which is executed instantly, you are considered a taker and you pay a fee from 0.04% to 0.5%. When you are placing an order that does not correspond to the existing order, this order is placed in the order book. If another client places an order that corresponds to your order, you are considered a maker and you pay a fee from 0.00% to 0.5%.
|Pricing tier||Taker fee||Maker fee|
|$0 – 10,000||0.50%||0.50%|
|$10K – 50,000||0.35%||0.35%|
|$50K – 100,000||0.25%||0.15%|
|$100K – 1,000,000||0.20%||0.10%|
|$1M – 10,000,000||0.18%||0.08%|
|$10M – 20,000,000||0.18%||0.08%|
|$20M – 50,000,000||0.15%||0.05%|
|$50M – 100,000,000||0.15%||0.05%|
|$100M – 300,000,000||0.10%||0.02%|
|$300M – 500,000,000||0.08%||0.00%|
|$500M – 750,000,000||0.06%||0.00%|
|$750M – 1,000,000,000||0.05%||0.00%|
|$1B – 2,000,000,000||0.04%||0.00%|
Notably, there is a fixed taker fee at 0.01% and zero maker fee for certain trading pairs with stablecoins:
|Stable pairs||Taker fee||Maker fee|
| DAI - USDC
DAI - USD
PAX - USD
PAX - USDT
USDC - EUR
USDC - GBP
USDT - EUR
USDT - GBP
USDT - USDC
USDT - USD
UST - USD
UST - USDT
UST - EUR
WBTC - BTC
The exchange does not charge non-trading fees. The wallet for US dollars and digital assets is absolutely free. Also, no fee is charged for transactions from one Coinbase wallet to another.
Notably, a user may be charged the blockchain fee or a bank fee (if a bank transaction is involved) on deposits/withdrawals. The exchange does not charge fees on these transactions.
US traders can have a Visa Coinbase debit card issued for them. They can use it to pay with any asset from their Coinbase portfolio (including US dollars) and even receive a reward for each purchase (in some cases a cashback of up to 4% is available). If you use a card to perform any transactions or to pay for purchases you will have to pay a 2.49% fee on the transaction.
The maximum fee at the exchange is 0.5% of the transaction amount. Based on this, a conclusion can be made that the fees of Coinbase are currently at a medium level, as you can get rather good indicators with the growth of the trading volume.
Margin lending was suspended on Coinbase on November 25, 2020. Starting from December 1, 2020, margin lending was stopped completely.
However, users of the exchange can simply use the Borrow feature. Traders can take out a loan for an amount of up to US 1 million using Bitcoins on the trading account as a collateral. The annual percentage rate in this case is 8%, which is rather good. Interest due ($10 min.) is a mandatory monthly payment. Notably, this service is available only to residents of Idaho, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Wyoming, Washington, Virginia, Illinois, California, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and Utah.
The cryptocurrency exchange was established on June 20, 2012 in Wilmington, Delaware, USA. The company’s legal address is: 1209 Orange Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801, USA
The exchange holds around 40 licenses of different countries and US states, under which the exchange’s services are provided to traders. These include:
Also, the exchange is preparing to obtain the official banking and brokerage license in the near future.
In the entire history of the exchange’s operation, there had been only one successful hacker attack. The hackers managed to steal digital assets from the accounts of more than 6,000 user accounts. The total amount of losses was not disclosed. However, the platform very quickly resolved the issue and the funds were returned to the traders literally within a few days.
This situation clearly showed how quickly the services of the exchange work and that every user is protected.
After the hack, the security of the cryptocurrency service was substantially enhanced:
To make user profiles secure, the exchange introduced two-factor authentication. To access your account, you need to enter the password sent to your phone. User passwords are checked for strength. There is also a limit on the number of authorizations in the wallet and a saved IP address policy.
All in all, the security measures ensure reliable protection of user data and finance.
The exchange offers access to a wide selection of diverse assets that are conveniently structured by categories. Notably, you can find both top assets, second-level coins and rather exotic tokens at the exchange. Also users are offered several passive income options, including lending, staking and various referral programs.
|Cryptocurrency funds (a basket of cryptocurrencies in one lot)||No||No||No|
As of February 2022, over 150 various cryptocurrencies that form nearly 500 trading pairs are available on Coinbase. Major coins are available, such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), as well as second-level tokens and also exotic trading positions. The general picture is supplemented with stablecoins and DeFi assets. The list of trading instruments is continuously updated.
At the moment, the exchange does not offer futures and options trading. However, in autumn 2021, the administration of the exchange announced that the exchange plans to add cryptocurrency derivative instruments. According to the information published on Bloomberg, Coinbase Global has filed an application with the National Futures Association (NFA) to register as a futures commission merchant under the name of Coinbase Financial Markets Inc. The exchange will offer cryptocurrency derivatives to be less dependent on spot trading fees.
In addition to active trading on the exchange, traders can earn passive income through staking. In order to earn passive income, users can stake such tokens as Ethereum 2.0 (ETH2), Tezos (XTZ), Cosmos (ATOM) and others. The APY in this case is up to 5%. Notably, independent staking is currently a rather complex procedure. That’s why the users of the exchange are offered a simplified option, where Coinbase organizes the staking, generates and signs the blocks on your behalf, while you retain full ownership of your tokens and earn the rewards.
The rewards are accrued to your user account periodically (depending on the chosen asset).
Passive earning is available to users who have had their identity verified and provided a valid TIN.
Note that staking is available only in certain regions and countries. You can find the full list on the pages of the support center.
You can learn more about staking on Coinbase here.
In order to start investing and trading on Coinbase, the first thing to do is to create an account on the platform. The process consists of two steps – filling out a user questionnaire and account verification. In total, the entire procedure can take up to one month depending on the system congestion.
As of now, registration and trading at the exchange is prohibited for citizens and residents of Iran, Cuba, Hong Kong, Crimea, North Korea, Bangladesh, Syria, Bolivia.
Also, trading and working with the exchange is available to users of only several US states, including Idaho, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Wyoming, Washington, Virginia, Illinois, California, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and Utah. Residents of other states cannot register at the exchange.
In order to open an account at the crypto exchange, you need to take three steps:
Let’s take a closer look at them.
Registration. Click “Get Started.” www.coinbase.com
Provide your First Name, Last Name, Email and Phone Number. Come up with a password. Click “Create Account”.
Next you need to verify your email. You just need to click on the link inside the verification email and you will be directed back to Coinbase.com. You will need to sign back in to complete the email verification process.
The final step of registration is verification of your phone number. There is nothing unusual in this step – the confirmation code will be sent to your phone, and you will need to enter the code on the confirmation page. This completes registration.
Identity verification is mandatory on the platform. It can take two weeks or longer. Coinbase strictly observes KYC and AML and also the regulations of the countries where the exchange operates. Verification is available only to users from Coinbase partner countries.
If the user country is not on this list, he will get a notification. Access to verification and trading will be blocked.
Note that if a user resides in one country and his identification document was issued in another country, the verification will also not be available.
You can find information about the specifics of the verification process for residents of different countries on the pages of the exchange’s Help platform.
In order to verify your identity, you first need to choose the ID type. Note that the accepted identity documents differ for different countries. For example, for the United States, only Driver's License or Identification Cards are accepted, while US Passports or US Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards) are not.
Next you will need to send a photo of your ID and a selfie with the ID to verify your identity. Coinbase Help offers detailed instructions on how to take photos to avoid a failure.
The next step is setting up your account security. It is a standard 2FA procedure that works with SMS confirmation codes. You can turn this option off.
In your personal account, go to Settings and select Security.
Coinbase offers three 2FA options:
Keys and authenticators are more secure than your phone, because it can be hacked. The majority of Coinbase users prefer Google authenticator .
In addition, 2FA can be set up separately for certain transactions, for example withdrawals.
Here are some more security advice from Coinbase:
The verification procedure at the exchange is very long, compared to competitors. You may have to wait for 2 weeks or even a month before you are granted access to trading cryptocurrencies. In addition, Coinbase only works with partner countries. If the country is not on the list, Coinbase does not guarantee that you will be able to use the exchange fully.
There is a minimum deposit only for wire transfers. In this case it is $2. This is quite convenient, as you can start trading with a minimum amount. This makes the exchange accessible for all categories of users.
Compared to the competitors, the exchange offers better minimum deposit conditions.
Immediately after registration, a user has access to two account types: main account (wallet) and trading account. Also, there is a division inside the trading account by several accounts based on the types of assets: spot trading and staking. You can transfer funds between the accounts at any time and absolutely free.
To deposit money on Coinbase, you can use a bank transfer, e-wallets, and debit/credit cards. It is rather convenient for those who are new to cryptocurrencies. You need to be mindful of the fees, while they differ depending on the deposit/withdrawal option that you are using. Compared to competitors, Coinbase charges rather high fees.
|Deposit/withdrawal option||Fee||Deposit/withdrawal processing time|
|Bitcoin||0.0%||Usually the transaction is instant, but the exchange declares processing time of up to one working day.|
|Ethereum||0.0%||Usually the transaction is instant, but the exchange declares processing time of up to one working day.|
|Coinbase* card||2.49% on all purchases||Almost instantly – comparable to the transaction speed of a regular debit/credit card|
|Electronic payment systems:||PayPal – 1.49%||Up to 2 working days|
|Other options||ACH – bank transfer (free) SEPA – bank transfer 0.15%||From 3 to 5 working days|
The possibility to make deposits using other e-wallets (for example WebMoney) is lacking. Despite that the USDC expenses are not charged on the Coinbase card, Coinbase charges a fixed fee of 2.49% on all purchases, including ATM withdrawals. Just for your information, the Coinbase card is a debit Visa card you can use to pay with any asset from your Coinbase wallet, including the US dollars, and receive a reward for each purchase. In other words, you can use it anywhere where Visa debit cards are accepted.
You can trade at the exchange using the website or a mobile app. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of trading on the platform.
Three orders are available on the platform, but you can apply additional options to them, which we will discuss below:
The most important thing is that you can use additional options that considerably expand the basic features. In our review, we will show the main options of limit order execution and will share a small lifehack – if the price changes suddenly, at the time of order placement it may turn out to be market price and then a Taker fee is written off the trader, but this can be avoided by using the Post Only option. Let’s discuss it in more detail.
You can choose one of these options if you want your order to be registered.
Post Only guarantees that your limit order is posted in the order book and stays in the order book to be charged a Maker Fees if it is filled. If any part of the order would execute immediately due to its price when arriving at the matching engine, the entire order will be rejected. Thanks to this, the order will not be charged with a Taker Fee.
If you do not enable Post Only Taker Fees will be charged on any part of an order that is at a price that would execute immediately. At that, any remainder of the order will remain in the order book and will be charged Maker Fees if filled.
Allow Taker will allow the order to be executed regardless of whether it crosses the spread to fill an existing order. Spread is the difference between the buy and sell price of an asset. If any part of the order crosses the spread, that portion will be assessed according to the taker fee rate.
The other important criteria that can also be used are the expiry options (they are sometimes referred to as the Time in Force instructions), which are used to indicate the lifetime of an order. There are three of those on Coinbase:
Good ‘Til Canceled (GTC) – this type of order will be placed in the order book and remain valid until you cancel it.
Immediate or Cancel (IOC) – this type of order will be placed and if it is not immediately filled, it will automatically be canceled and removed from the order book.
Fill or Kill (FOC) – this order type will only complete if the entire amount can be matched. Partial matches are not filled with this order type and will not execute.
Summing up, some may say that the number of orders is not enough. However, if you look at it closer, a conclusion can be drawn that the three main options combined with the additional options are sufficient for successful trading.
Two types of charts are available at the exchange for analysis: the exchange’s own chart and TradingView chart, which you can switch between in just a few clicks. Thanks to this, traders can analyze the performance of an asset using the entire range of instruments.
|Time frame range||+||+|
|Order types||Market, Limit and Stop||Market, Limit and Stop|
|Number of indicators||+||+|
You can trade cryptocurrencies using both the exchange’s website and the mobile app.
The official webpage of the service has a simple and laconic design. All the important sections are featured in a convenient horizontal menu on the top of the page. All categories of assets and trading pages, as well as rules and instruments for technical analysis are well structured. There is a search bar on the main page, where you can find the required asset for your convenience.
The exchange has separate pages for individuals and businesses. It is quite useful, as these categories of users often have different goals at the exchange.
The top menu also features Learn and Analytics sections. In the footer of the page, you can find basic organizational information: User Agreement, Registration information and important hyperlinks.
The mobile app of the exchange boasts an attractive design and the same features as the web version. The mobile app is available for Android and iOS devices.
The exchange has its own analytical section titled Coinbase Analytics. For full or demo access to the section, you need to send a request and select a set of instruments you are interested in. The exchange claims that Coinbase Analytics receives information from open sources and does not use Coinbase user data, while the scale and depth of the offered instruments is rather impressive.
Structured and consolidated information enables verification and compliance with cryptographic requirements for governments, financial institutions and crypto companies. It becomes possible to connect cryptocurrency transactions to real-life entities using publicly available blockchain attribution data; the ability to monitor risks on millions of addresses; investigate fraudulent activities across Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.
For better understanding of peculiarities of operation of the offered instruments, a demo access is offered for you to be able to conclude whether they are suitable for your specific tasks.
The Market News section is rather a digest of the latest important events.
Notably, both blog and the Market News section are regularly updated, and therefore users clearly do not experience any lack of information.
Also, if you have no desire to search for new information on your own, you can subscribe to the automatic newsletter Coinbase Bytes and also be up to date on the events.
Coinbase offers rather simple and clear options for education and detailed learning of the cryptocurrency market.
The first option is Coinbase Earn. It’s an educational program that enables users to earn stablecoins in the amount of up to $167. Those who participate in this program will earn DAI. Coinbase wrote about it in a blog. Users watch educational videos and complete quizzes and in return DAI is credited to their wallet. For example, Coinbase offers $6 for learning information about the DAI cryptocurrency. Coinbase allocated a total of around $100 million for the educational program.
In the footer of the website, you can also find hyperlinks to educational materials for beginners: “What is Crypto?”, “What is a blockchain?”, and more.
Each of the links directs traders to a separate page Tips and Tutorials that features easy-to-understand materials.
You can also find educational content on the YouTube channel of the exchange and on social media. Traders can use any convenient format to study the market and cryptocurrency industry.
Live phone support has been available at the exchange since 2017. The goal of Coinbase is to make the platform the simplest and most convenient to use with a high degree of reliability.
The exchange has a very big help center, where anybody can find answers to their questions.
Traders can also communicate with a chat bot or send a ticket to an email. However, the probability of getting the result is minimal.
There are several ways to contact Coinbase customer service:
Customer support service operators will be happy to help you resolve such issues as:
However, customer support service operators will not be able to help you resolve such issues as:
In the first year of its operation, customer support service received 442 negative reviews, which is understandable, since the number of users was growing rapidly, customer support received dozens of thousands of requests a day and the operators simply could not resolve all issues in time. Now, the level of customer support has stabilized and the majority of users are happy with the results. The service has a Twitter page, where the responses to the frequently asked questions are posted. Customer support is, however, available only in English.
The exchange regularly has special offers and holds tournaments. However, at the time, when this review was being prepared, no special offers were available.
The exchange offers these permanent programs:
1. Referral links
The exchange offers referral links and promo codes. You can get $25 to your deposit account using them. In order for you to get the bonus on a referral link, the invitee needs to buy or sell cryptocurrency at the exchange for an amount of over $100. Also, Coinbase awards a $10 welcome bonus when you register at the exchange.
2. $20 Recurring Buy Reward
This option is available to those who have recently registered on Coinbase. In the Rewards section you need to choose the Recurring Buy option. This option lets you set up automatic buy/sell of cryptocurrency under the set parameters. A user will be rewarded $20 in BTC to his deposit account for each fourth and eighth trade. You can learn more about bonuses and programs here.
Coinbase is an excellent platform for cryptocurrency newcomers, who are only starting their path in investment and trading. It has a simple UI. You can quickly learn how the exchange works. The really useful features include, for example, an educational program and the recurring buy option. One can say that Coinbase selects information and provides a choice of instruments that make cryptocurrency investing and trading simple and easy-to-understand. Initially, the creators of the exchange planned to make it for beginners, as more experienced traders are offered Coinbase Pro, where the fees are cheaper and users are offered a wider functionality. However, we believe that Coinbase is the simple and reliable option, although professional traders do claim they are missing some features.
Coinbase is regarded as a highly reliable exchange. Approximately 98-99% of user assets are held in cold storages. As of now, the exchange was hacked only once, but the funds were instantly returned to the clients (even before the investigations and other procedures, which is why the exchange gets the highest score of 10 for security even despite the hack). In addition, the funds of the exchange clients are insured.
We provided you with an honest and unbiased review of the exchange, and compared it with other platforms, but only you can decide whether Coinbase is a good fit for you or whether it is better to choose a different platform.
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