Coinbase Review: Pros and Cons of the Crypto Giant

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Coinbase is the best-known US-based cryptocurrency exchange. It has an intuitive interface and modern design, making it easy to buy and sell cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase is one of the most used crypto platforms in the U.S. despite the fact its fees are considerably higher than other exchanges. However, it makes up for this with its versatile deposit and withdrawal options along with two separate services – the platform’s core brokerage service and the more traditional exchange platform too – Coinbase Pro.

Its unique structure means Coinbase effectively operates as both a broker and an exchange while supporting over 100 cryptocurrencies and multiple fiat currencies.



Coinbase Logo


Coinbase history and background

Coinbase was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. Initially, it was part of Ycombinator. Coinbase is one of the oldest exchanges around, starting out only as a Bitcoin brokerage service. Fully regulated and licensed, the company’s capital exceeds $1 billion as of 2017.

After launching as a a Bitcoin-only business, Coinbase has since expanded its services with the addition of Coinbase Pro – a cryptocurrency trading platform. Formerly known as GDAX, it is aimed at more experienced users.

At Coinbase, our first priority is to ensure that we operate the most secure and compliant digital currency exchange in the world.


What Cryptocurrencies Can You Buy on Coinbase?

 Coinbase enables you to purchase a wide range of cryptocurrencies including:

Setting up for a Coinbase Account

You can open an account by visiting the official Coinbase homepage. In the top right corner of the page is a ‘Get Started’ button. You need to click on it to open an account.

Create Account
Creating an Account to Coinbase


The company has an overly intrusive KYC procedure, which got even stricter after hiring employees from Hacking Team in 2019.

  1. You will be prompted to give your first and second name, and your email address.
  2. Coinbase will then send you an email, which you will need to verify.
  3. Afterwards, you need to provide a mobile number, set up a preferred payment method and verify your identity. In order to do this, you’ll need to upload a copy of your government issued ID. This needs to be a passport, driver’s license or national ID card.
  4. You can choose between an ‘Individual’ account or ‘Business’ account based on the volume of cryptocurrencies you intend on trading.
  5. Depending on the withdrawal and deposit limits you wish to unlock, there will be additional steps of verification to pass. For some Coinbase will require proof of funds, bank and/or earning statements as well as proof of address or residency.

The steps to open an account on Coinbase are as follows:


Open and click on the Sign Up button.


A form will pop up. You need to fill out the fields with your first and last name, email address, and select a password.


Choose a strong password that is a combination of upper and lowercase letters, special characters and numbers.


A window with a CAPTCHA will pop up so you can verify that you are not a bot.


Click on the ‘accept’ box for the User Agreement and Privacy Policy


Press the Create Account button.

You will receive a confirmation email with a link you need to click on or paste into your browser. After doing so, it will activate your Coinbase account.

After these initial steps, you will be asked to confirm your identity. You can skip this and do it later but bear in mind not doing it comes with certain restrictions regarding deposit and withdrawal limits.

Coinbase Fees

Compared to other cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase has higher fees.

There are three Coinbase layers with different fee structures and benefits:

  1. Exchange
  2. Pro
  3. Prime

The Coinbase Exchange has the highest fees. Fees range from 1.49% to 3.99%, which is considerably higher than Kraken’s 0.26% or Binance’s 0.5%. Generally speaking, fees are always highest for debit card deposits. If you have a US bank account or use a Coinbase USD wallet, you can take advantage of smaller fee limits. 

On the upside, Coinbase lets users buy bitcoins with zero fees. 

These are the main Coinbase platform fees:

Total Trade Amount Fee
$10 or less
$10 to $25
$25 to $50
$50 to $200

Trades above $200 have a percentage-based fee instead of a flat fee.

Coinbase Deposit and withdrawal methods

US users of Coinbase can deposit funds via

  • bank account,
  • debit card, and
  • wire transfer

But only the bank account (ACH) option supports all operations. With it, you can buy, sell, deposit, and withdraw. The average speed for each request is 4-5 business days.

Debit cards work best for small investments because they are instantly processed. However, you can only buy cryptocurrencies, but not to sell or deposit with this method.

Coinbase recommends wire transfer for large investments. It processes faster than bank accounts (1-3 business days), but it is limited. With wire transfers you can only deposit and withdraw.

There are more payment methods for users in the United Kingdom.

UK residents can withdraw to

  • PayPal or their
  • Coinbase Cards

They can make GBP bank transfers through

  • Faster Payments, or use
  • SEPA

European Coinbase customers only have 3 basic payment methods available

  • SEPA transfers for deposits and withdrawals
  • a  3D Secure card to buy cryptocurrencies or
  • Ideal and Sofort.

Deposit Methods

4-5 days
1-3 business days
Almost instant

Is Coinbase Safe?

Coinbase is not FDIC insured and only protects users’ funds against hacks and theft. The company states that it “carries crime insurance that protects a portion of digital assets” held across its storage systems against losses from theft.

However, its policy does not cover any losses resulting from unauthorized access to personal Coinbase account(s) due to a breach. In 2021, thousands of Coinbase accounts were drained of their funds in an organized hacking attack. Coinbase has since updated its 2FA mechanisms and committed to reimbursing the funds as well as providing credit monitoring services to customers.

Did You Know?

The company holds a BitLicense – a mandatory step to operate in New York. BitLicense has a reputation for its strictness, as only compliant exchanges get it. Coinbase is also known to report users’ financial data to the IRS.

Coinbase is safe to store your crypto on as it mainly relies on cold (offline) storage. According to the exchange’s insurance page, it holds 98% of the funds it operates with on their offline cold storage; which heavily decreases the chances of users’ funds being stolen.

As an additional layer of security – Coinbase runs a bug bounty program that rewards hackers who find certain vulnerabilities in their system, and report them to Coinbase.​

Coinbase Mobile App

Coinbase Mobile AppCoinbase’s mobile app has the functionality of the desktop version. It is well suited for users who want to manage their crypto on the go.

The Coinbase Pro app is available for Android and iOS customers allowing them to capitalize on market conditions at any time, wherever they are.

The app is powerful, designed with a focus on:

  1. speed,
  2. ease of use, and
  3. a clean, streamlined trading experience.

After several rounds of upgrades, users of the mobile app now have access to deposits and withdrawals into fiat and crypto, and enhanced security features including passcode authentication.

The Coinbase Card

The Coinbase card is a unique service that the company provides for its US customers. It is essentially a debit card that allows you to spend the USD value of your crypto and receive rewards for doing so.

This means you can spend crypto everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted and earn up to 4% back in rewards whenever you make a purchase. The Coinbase card has no annual fee or sign-up fee and rewards every purchase you make with it.

Depending on which crypto you choose to earn your rewards in, you’ll be rewarded at the following rates:

Crypto Reward Rate
Stellar Lumens (XLM)
4% back
The Graph (GRT)
4% back
Bitcoin (BTC)
1% back
Ethereum (ETH)
1% back
Dogecoin (DOGE)
1% back
Dai (DAI)
1% back

Coinbase Education

Coinbase has an ample knowledge base to educate users about their investment decisions. Some of the available resources include investor education videos as well as a Reddit Ask Us Anything campaign.

In addition to these, there is:

  1. Coinbase Learn – a place with beginner guides, practical tips, and market updates for first-timers, experienced investors, and everyone in between.
  2. Coinbase Asset Pages is another resource the company supports that lists the top 50 cryptocurrencies based on market cap.

Customer Support

Despite increasing its customer support team since 2018, Coinbase does not stand out when it comes to the quality of its customer support.

Customers can connect with agents via several methods but response times are slow.


  • Well Established Crypto Exchange

    Coinbase is a well established cryptocurrency exchange with strong security features and impressive user friendliness.

  • Wide Range of Services

    The platform offers a wide range of services beyond custodianship and bitcoin trading.

  • Issues Due to Fast Growth

    However the growth of Coinbase has not been able to match its ethical practices and customer support quality.

  • High Fees

    The high fees have driven many users to Coinbase’s competitors – Kraken and Binance. But for users who are interested in buying cryptocurrencies, then Coinbase’s service is solid.

Coinbase Logo



Frequently Asked Questions

Coinbase is a secure and robust platform enabling users to trade and invest in cryptocurrencies. The major cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ethereum are fully supported. The platform provides an intuitive interface oriented towards beginners. If advanced features are required users can upgrade to Coinbase Pro.
Coinbase Pro is tailored towards the active trader and features a fee structure benefiting frequent transactions. Overall, frequently purchasing Bitcoin would be more cost effective using Coinbase Pro.
Coinbase provides funds withdrawal using Automatic Clearing House (ACH), Wire Transfer, SEPA Bank transfer within the European Union and International SWIFT transfer.

Withdrawing your funds usually takes 1-5 business days to a US based bank account. SEPA withdrawals within the European Union may take 1-2 days, while wire transfer withdrawals are usually completed on the same business day.

If you’re based in the US and have earned more than $600 Coinbase will send tax form 1099-MISC to you and the IRS to inform them of your income. International users’ earnings are not reported.
Yes, Coinbase is currently available to users based in Canada.
Yes, you can keep your Bitcoin on Coinbase, however it’s good practice to keep your digital assets on a hardware wallet and deposit them to exchanges only to trade.
Coinbase has a referral program to welcome new users. Existing users can generate unique referral links and send them to others who can then sign up through them for a Coinbase account. Once the new user’s account is complete, they have to execute a crypto trade on the platform. This will generate a bonus for both users. Bonuses may be different depending on user country.