Coinbase Review: What to Know About the Pros, Cons, and Features

Coinbase boasts an established history of serving crypto investors with its centralized finance exchange. However, be aware of its higher fees, especially for instant cash outs.

  • November 18, 2022
  • 10 Min Read

Our take on Coinbase

4.6
DeFi Rate Rating

The bottom line:

Whether you want to stick with a standard exchange platform or explore advanced trading with Coinbase Pro, you can find what you’re looking for with Coinbase. Add on earning crypto just by learning about crypto, and Coinbase covers all your bases.

Best for beginners

Coinbase
Learn More

On Coinbase's website

Cryptocurrencies

180+

Fees

0%–0.6%

Yield

Staking

USA Coverage

Yes, excluding HI

Coinbase, founded in June 2012, is one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, especially within the United States. It’s extremely well-known for its user-friendliness, enabling newcomers to quickly and easily purchase cryptocurrency using a credit card. Furthermore, it boasts around $55.3 billion in 30-day trading volume in the United States as of July 2022.

Whereas other exchanges require users to be able to navigate a trading interface, Coinbase removes this requirement from the equation, allowing users to simply buy and sell at market rates — no candlestick charts necessary. Here’s what you need to know about Coinbase to review its potential as your go-to CeFi crypto exchange.

Coinbase pros and cons

Pros

  • Coinbase Pro for advanced trading
  • Over 180 cryptocurrencies available
  • Self-custody native wallet

Cons

  • Higher trade fees for standard platform
  • Limited staking options

Coinbase pros

There’s a lot to like about Coinbase, and its repertoire of products only adds to its list of pros. Here’s why you should consider Coinbase:

Advance trading

With Coinbase Pro, expert traders can manage orders and view real-time market data. They also offer OTC desk trading for high-net-worth individuals. If you don’t want to switch to the high-performance trading of Coinbase Pro but need a little more data when trading cryptocurrency, even its standard platform lets you toggle the view between standard and advanced.

More than 180 currencies

Coinbase supports trading for more currencies than many other CeFi exchange platforms. While the number of cryptocurrencies listed on Coinbase is lower than what is offered by a couple of the best crypto exchange platforms, 180 currencies is more than most. This means that plenty of altcoins are available for trading.

Self-custody wallet

Coinbase’s native wallet is a self-custody wallet, which means you are in complete control of the keys that prove your ownership of your coins. Furthermore, you don’t have to use Coinbase Wallet if you don’t want to, as the exchange supports external wallet connections.

Coinbase cons

While there’s many benefits to using Coinbase, there are a few downsides that investors should consider before choosing it.

Higher trading fees

Coinbase follows the typical maker-taker fees, but starts at a higher threshold for the smallest trades when compared to other platforms. For comparison, Binance.US charges 0.10% in taker fees for 30-day trading volumes under $50,000 and $100,000, respectively, while Coinbase’s 0.10% taker fees are for 30-day trading volumes over $100 million.

Limited staking options

Unfortunately, staking options are limited on Coinbase when compared to competitors. Other platforms normally have staking options for dozens of tokens and stablecoins, but Coinbase only offers staking rewards for eight. This severely limits investors’ options to earn rewards on their held crypto.

Who Coinbase is best for

With its plethora of products available for investors, Coinbase is one of the best options for almost anything. Whether you want to earn rewards by staking your held coins or need to securely send and receive funds, you can do it on Coinbase. Plus, its interface makes it easy for beginners to learn the ropes and break into the world of cryptocurrency

  • Crypto novices and beginners will enjoy Coinbase’s streamlined, sleek interface with minimal visual noise. And once investors feel more comfortable with cryptocurrency investing and exchanges, they can toggle to the advanced trading view to see candlestick graphs and order books for token-fiat pairs.
  • Advanced traders can use Coinbase Pro to see even more data and execute trades with real-time analytics. Plus, Coinbase Pro operates with slightly lower maker-taker fees than Coinbase’s standard trading platform.

Key features of Coinbase

One of Coinbase’s main features is its opportunity for users to earn crypto without actually buying it. Add that to its native wallet, which doesn’t actually require a Coinbase account, and tailored features for all levels of investors, and it outshines plenty of the best crypto exchanges.

  • Learn and earn: Users can earn free coins and tokens just by learning more about crypto. As of July 2022, $4 in GRT and $1 of AMP are available to earn once the required courses are complete. It’s not much, but it’s certainly a great incentive.
  • Self-custody wallet: Coinbase boasts its wallet as a self-custody wallet, and you don’t even need a Coinbase account to open one. The keys to the wallet are entirely in the user’s hands, so investors can have more control over coins when operating on CeFi platforms.
  • Toggle trading view: The standard “Simple” trading view includes the top coins, their prices, recent change in price, and total market cap. But traders can toggle the “Advanced” view to see the order books.
  • Referrals and bonuses: As of July 2022, Coinbase featured plenty of referrals and bonuses to entice new investors to start on its platform. For example, customers can get $10 BTC when they refer a friend who buys or sells $100 worth of crypto on Coinbase. Users can also earn between $3 to $200 in BTC when they complete account setup and $50 when staking ETH for the first time.

Crypto lending rates on Coinbase

Unfortunately, Coinbase offers limited options for staking coins and earning yields on held crypto. Furthermore, the earning rates are pretty low compared to its competitors, which can stunt the growth of your earnings. Live crypto lending rates below:

Fees for using Coinbase

Coinbase uses the standard maker-taker fee schedule for trade executions, just like its competitors. Unlike its competitors, which normally charge 0.40% taker fee to start, Coinbase charges a 0.60% taker fee, which is the difference between paying $4 and $6, respectively, on a $1,000 buy. Here’s what you can expect to pay in fees when using Coinbase’s standard exchange platform:

ActionCoinbase Fee
Trades under $10KTaker: 0.60% Maker: 0.40%
Trades $10K to $50KTaker: 0.40% Maker: 0.25%
Trades $50K to $100KTaker: 0.25% Maker: 0.15%
Trades $100K to $1MTaker: 0.20% Maker: 0.10%
Trades $1M to $20MTaker: 0.18% Maker: 0.08%
Trades $20M to $100MTaker: 0.15% Maker: 0.05%
Trades $100M to $300MTaker: 0.10% Maker: 0.02%
Trades $300M to $500MTaker: 0.08% Maker: 0%
Trades over $500MTaker: 0.05% Maker: 0%
Instant cash out under $10K1.5%
Instant cash out over $10K$150
ACH deposit/withdrawalFree

Alternatives to consider

PayPal: Good for low-volume, low-maintenance beginners

If you’re only interested in buying Bitcoin, Ethereum 2, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin and already have an account on PayPal, then you don’t need to undergo another sign-up process. PayPal is a decent alternative to Coinbase if you don’t want to open yet another account somewhere else and fund that account just to buy a couple hundred in BTC. Furthermore, if you already have an account with PayPal, getting started in cryptocurrency just requires you to verify your address, birthday, and Social Security Number in the app.

Uniswap: Good for experienced DeFi traders

For people interested in exploring the world of decentralized finance, Uniswap is the place to start. Instead of operating similarly to an exchange, it actually has hundreds of liquidity pools where users can swap one coin for another, eliminating the process of funding a wallet with fiat currency and then buying crypto. Furthermore, Uniswap is on the edge of upgrading its platform and already integrates with plenty of dApps.

Is Coinbase right for you?

Coinbase could be right for you if you’re a beginner who wants the advantages of using a sleek interface, self-custody wallet, and plenty of other products to explore. Furthermore, its long list of support assets and tradable tokens make it appealing to a variety of people interested in more than just the popular coins.

However, its slightly higher fees and limited staking options mean that there is a ceiling to your growth with Coinbase. Once you hit the initial learning curve and outgrow Coinbase’s capabilities, you’ll have to either switch to Coinbase Pro or jump to a different exchange all together, depending on what you’re looking for. But with its wide range of products and its wallet’s dApp integration, that ceiling may be pretty high for the average, low-volume investor.

Methodology

DeFiRate.com reviews cryptocurrency and Web3 products, services, and operators based on five quantifiable metrics to help crypto users understand how they compare based on similar metrics. For the best centralized exchanges, our editorial team compared customer support, 30-day trading volume, fees, cryptocurrencies available to trade, and average mobile app ratings from each operator to rate the top competitors in the space.

Final thoughts on Coinbase exchange

Coinbase is well-known for being one of the easiest options for first-time cryptocurrency buyers by considerably streamlining the onboarding process, removing knowledge barriers, and enabling credit or debit card purchases. For beginners who want to step into crypto investing for the first time and learn the ropes while earning crypto for gaining knowledge, Coinbase is a great place to start.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is my crypto safe when using Coinbase?

    Whether Coinbase or another platform, it’s not inherently 100% safe to store your crypto in an online exchange 24/7, as any internet connection opens up your crypto to risk of cyber threats. However, Coinbase states that it stores 98% of its assets in offline cold storage that is guarded and monitored. For additional security, users can use a vault on Coinbase that undergoes additional security steps before crypto is withdrawn.

  • Is Coinbase good for beginners?

  • Do I own my crypto on Coinbase?

  • Does Coinbase report to the IRS?


Contributors

  • Avatar of Courtney Mikulski

    Courtney Mikulski specializes in cryptocurrency, personal finance, and credit cards. Her work has appeared in publications like Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, and CreditCards.com.

  • Avatar of Angelica Leicht

    Angelica specializes in crypto and personal finance content. Her work has appeared in publications such as Bankrate, Forbes, The Motley Fool, The Simple Dollar, The Houston Press, Dallas Observer, The Village Voice, and others.