Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
- Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange serving retail investors, businesses, and institutions.
- The app offers more than 50 crypto assets, including bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin, and more.
- You’ll need at least $10 to get started, but but be prepared to sift through various fees.
- Click here to set up an account with Coinbase.
Is Coinbase right for you?
Launched three years after the creation of bitcoin in 2009, Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows active traders to purchase, sell, or hold more than 50 virtual assets, including bitcoin, ethereum, the basic attention token (BAT), and others.
Coinbase also provides a range of investment options for businesses and institutions, including crypto storage, commerce services, and more. And in early June 2021, the exchange rolled out dogecoin access for Coinbase Pro users, as well as for its standard accounts and mobile apps. See more here.
Founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase says it serves roughly 56 million verified users, 8,000 instituions, and 134,00 ecosystem partners across the world.
The company also recently went public through a direct listing on the Nasdaq exchange.
Not sure if Coinbase is right for you? Keep reading to see how the investment app stacks up against other popular crypto exchanges.
How does Coinbase compare?
Coinbase, Kraken, and Binance.US all offer large cryptocurrency selections, but the three exchanges differ when it comes to fees and account perks. If you’re looking for the lowest fees and access to options like futures trading, Kraken may be the best fit for you.
But while Binance.US’ 0.1% spot trading fee is lower than Coinbase’s 0.50% fee, Coinbase offers a wider range of account options for individuals and institutions.
Keep reading to see if Coinbase is right for you.
Ways to invest with Coinbase
As long as you’ve got at least $2, you can trade more than 50 cryptocurrencies with Coinbase’s standard trading account. But even if you aren’t actively buying, selling, or using cryptocurrencies, you can take advantage of several other products, including its web and mobile interfaces.
The Coinbase Earn feature allows you to earn free crypto assets by learning about different cryptocurrency topics. Here’s how it works: You watch short educational videos (typically no longer than four minutes each) on different cryptocurrencies, but you’ll have to take a quiz after you complete each lesson. Coinbase will deposit crypto into your Coinbase storage wallet for each quiz you complete (see a full list of Coinbase Earn’s offerings here).
Coinbase also offers USD Coin (USDC), a cryptocurrency that’s backed by US dollars. The company also refers to these as stablecoins since — unlike regular volatile cryptocurrencies — you can always redeem one USD coin for one US dollar, according to Coinbase’s website. In fact, the app allows eligible USD Coin customers to receive rewards at an APY of 0.15%.
If you’re a US investor, you’ll need to keep the following fees in mind:
In addition, if you’re wondering about crypto custody and storage options, Coinbase provides its own online storage wallets. With the Coinbase Wallet app (this app is also separate from its iOS and Android mobile apps), you can manage your private keys and crypto assets online.
One thing to consider is that, while similar to many popular crypto and bitcoin wallets that give you non-custodial storage over your private keys, the Coinbase wallet also offers its own unique feature as well. The user-controlled wallet gives you a 12-word recovery phrase, or “seed,”that only users can access. This means that Coinbase won’t have to this secret code.
If you’re more of an advanced cryptocurrency trader, Coinbase’s Pro account could be a good fit for you. The account includes real-time order books, charting tools, and trading history. Coinbase also says its Websocket Feed gives you easy access to market data, while its trading API gives you the option to develop secure trading bots.
Coinbase Pro accounts also include FDIC insurance protection up to $250,000, and higher account balances result in lower trading fees. For instance, Coinbase Pro’s fee structure is comprised of taker fees and maker fees. If you’ve got an account balance below $10,000, you may have to pay a taker fee of 0.50%. You’ll only have to pay 0.04% if you hold more than $500 million.
Coinbase says taker fees are applied when you place an order at the market price that gets filled immediately. These fees range between 0.04% and 0.50%, depending on your account balance.
Maker fees, on the other hand, apply whenever you place orders that aren’t immediately matched with existing orders, according to Coinbase’s website. The platform says you’ll pay a maker fee if another investor places an order that matches yours. Maker fees range from 0% to 0.50%. You can find the complete fee schedule here.
One more important detail: Coinbase says you’ll pay a taker fee for the portion of any of your orders that are partially matched immediately. You’ll have to pay a maker fee once the remaining portion of the order matches with another order.
Coinbase also gives businesses and institutions a wide array of investment options. These include its Prime cryptocurrency trading platform, Asset Hub, commerce platform, storage options, and ventures services.
Asset Hub lets businesses and issuers list crypto assets across the Coinbase platform to gain growth and exposure. Coinbase’s commerce offerings help crypto-oriented businesses set up hosted checkout pages, invoices, payment buttons, and more.
The investment platform also offers secure cold storage (also known as offline storage) for institutions and businesses. And the ventures feature gives new companies a space to raise money for expansion.
Is Coinbase trustworthy?
Coinbase has received a D- rating with the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB considers several factors when evaluating companies. These include time in business (as well as type of business), customer complaint history, licensing, government actions, and more. While Coinbase’s rating is low, the bureau also says that its ratings don’t guarantee that a company will perform well or exhibit trustworthiness.
For this reason, it’s also important to do your own due diligence before making a final decision. The BBB says it assigned Coinbase a D- rating because the company failed to respond to more than 1,100 complaints.
The bureau also lists a pattern of complaints among customers who describe being locked out of their accounts and being unable to reach customer service.
Coinbase has closed more than 1,00 complaints in the last 12 months.