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Coinbase Review 2024: The Best Crypto Exchange for Beginners?

17 mins
Updated by Maria Petrova
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Coinbase is one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Ranked second as per CoinMarketCap’s Trust Score, the Coinbase exchange supports over 240 cryptocurrencies and 100+ crypto pairs. But is Coinbase the right exchange for you as a user? In this detailed Coinbase review, we evaluate this U.S.-specific exchange across a wide range of parameters to answer this question.

From evaluating the Coinbase offerings to its regulatory status and trading figures to its customer support system and security measures, this 360-degree Coinbase review covers it all.

Coinbase

Crypto exchange & lending platform
Availability
100+
Cryptos
240+
Trading fees
0.00%-0.001%
Sign up bonus
up to $200 for the US

Coinbase at a glance: Our overall rating

As a top of the line centralized exchange, Coinbase has rightfully earned its reputation. Known for its security and adherence to regulation, it is a top tier option if you value security. This, along with its suite of products and affinity for innovation, in terms of offerings, one can’t go wrong when choosing Coinbase.

CriteriaSecurityCustomer
support
FeesAssetsProductsBeInCrypto
score
Score5/53/54/54/55/54.2

What to expect from this Coinbase review?

Like any other popular exchange, Coinbase’s offerings extend beyond basic crypto trading. And that is exactly what we shall explore. Besides features, we also discuss other Coinbase traits like security standards, user experience, exchange’s reputation, and more.

Coinbase review and the interface: Coinbase
Coinbase review and the interface: Coinbase

In detailing every aspect of Coinbase’s existence, this review will cater to crypto novices who are still learning about decentralized ecosystems. Advanced traders and investors eyeing some of the more advanced aspects of the exchange should also take note.

What is Coinbase?

What started as a simple platform to facilitate the buying and selling of bitcoin, Coinbase has evolved into one of the largest global exchanges. Let us learn more about its history and background:

Background and growth

Coinbase is the brainchild of Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. As of now, Brain Armstrong is the acting CEO of the firm. It was in July 2012 when it all started out of San Francisco, California. Over the years, Coinbase graduated from being a standard trading platform for BTC transactions to quickly hosting over 1 million wallets in 2013.

Brian Armstrong on Twitter:

By 2014, Coinbase was already in Europe, expanding its services at a clip. And in 2015, it became a U.S.-regulated, full-fledged exchange. By 2020, the exchange had introduced staking, and in 2021, Coinbase moved up to the ladder with its NASDAQ listing as COIN. COIN offered the additional credibility that users were seeking. 

In 2022 came the advanced Pro platform. 2023 was all about “Base” — Coinbase’s Ethereum-secured layer-2 ecosystem.

Understanding the Base blockchain

With centralized exchanges receiving a lot of flak post the FTX collapse, even Coinbase decided to hop on board the decentralized bandwagon, courtesy of the layer-2 solution, Base. With Base, it becomes easier for Coinbase users to experience DApps in an open-source environment. 

Interested in using the Base blockchain? You can now bridge your assets from the Ethereum mainnet to the Base layer-2. 

Did you know? You can use Ethereum-compatible wallets to bridge assets to Base. While the Coinbase wallet is an obvious choice, you can even use the Rainbow wallet and MetaMask

Base integrates Coinbase’s offerings, assets, and user base while having Ethereum as the base layer. No pun intended!

What can I trade on Coinbase?

On Coinbase, over 240 cryptocurrencies and 500+ trading pairs are at your disposal. Additionally, for those seeking advanced trading tools, options like Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Advanced are available. Keep in mind, however, that trading fees on Coinbase can range from 0 to 0.60%.

Where is Coinbase available?

Coinbase serves customers across several regions, including the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Additionally, in the U.S., the platform’s cash balance feature is accessible only in states that have granted Coinbase the necessary licensing, deemed no license necessary, or where such licenses aren’t yet issued pertaining to Coinbase’s operations.

Coinbase review: exploring the numbers

As mentioned previously, Coinbase enjoys the second rank among global crypto exchanges. The ranking is in terms of the trust factor. As of Q3 2022, the platform has over 108 million registered users, driving high trade volume.

Coinbase review and exchange rank: Coinmarketcap
Coinbase review and exchange rank: CoinMarketCap

Plus, the exchange has over $130 billion worth of assets on its platform. If you wish to look further into the numbers, here are some additional details:

  • Coinbase has an operational spread of over 100+ countries
  • BTC/USD, ETH/USD. USDT/USD and XRP/USD are the four most active trading pairs on Coinbase, based on the trade volume.
coinbase top assets
Top assets at Coinbase: CoinMarketCap

How to sign up with Coinbase in 2024?

Coinbase is a handy exchange for beginners. The setup process is simple; you simply need to hit “sign up,” enter the email ID and verify, fill in your name and address, and supply the KYC documents to kickstart the process. You can explore the nifty sign-in options on the web interface or get started directly on the mobile app.

 Account setup process: Coinbase review
Account setup process: Coinbase review

If you have a Coinbase account and are a pro trader, you can hop onto the Coinbase Pro or the Coinbase Advanced for an amplified trading experience. The tools are best-in-class, and you get access to every exchange-specific crypto asset with the TradingView connect.

Coinbased advanced
Coinbased advanced: Coinbase

Do note that the Coinbase Advanced is a step ahead of the Coinbase Pro, which is also a step ahead of the vanilla Coinbase account. 

advanced
Coinbase advanced vs Coinbase Pro: Coinbse

Another element amplifying the user experience is the Coinbase Learn — a section loaded with Crypto basics, tutorials, newsletter access, crypto tips, and more.

coinbase
Help and knowledge page: Coinbase

Another element of the user-experience segment has to be the country-specific features that Coinbase offers and the unified portfolio manager that helps track assets, holdings, and other forms of crypto exposure. 

Portfolio tracking dashboard: Coinbase
Portfolio tracking dashboard: Coinbase

Welcome offer/bonus

As stated previously, Coinbase also has a learn-to-earn program. In this program you can receive cryptocurrencies by completing learning tasks. The exchange also allows you to receive bitcoin via its partner program.

Lastly, you can also receive rewards when you complete certain tasks. Some of these tasks include signing up or making your first trade. However, these incentives may be limited by geographic location.

Coinbase rewards

How does Coinbase compare to others?

Here are some of the top exchanges that might be worth looking at, apart from Coinbase:

Binance

It offers a more diverse selection of cryptocurrencies. Additionally, high-volume crypto traders can enjoy lower fees. And yes, Binance offers an extensive palette of retail-focussed derivatives to trade.

Kraken

This security-focused exchange relies extensively on cold storage options to store user funds. As compared to Coinbase, there are more advanced trading options and tools to work with.

Bitstamp

This is one of the oldest and most reputable exchanges. It even offers futures and margin trading services as well as a more competitive fee structure.

Crypto.com

Like Coinbase, Crypto.com offers staking and crypto-focused debit cards. The trading platform is more interactive, and Crypto.com’s fee structure is more accommodating.

Gemini

When comparing Gemini vs. Coinbase, it’s clear the former focuses much more on crypto education, offering access to a wide range of tutorials, glossary items, and more. 

Features and tools from Coinbase

Coinbase is a reliable and easy-to-navigate crypto exchange for beginners. With over 500 trading pairs/markets, the buying and selling access is the primary feature. To access this, you are required to create an account.

Coinbase review and crypto picks
Crypto picks: Coinbase

Staking services

Coinbase’s staking-as-a-service offering is a reliable earning plan for someone looking to park their crypto for decent yields. The staking coffers offer flexible redemptions, allow you to manage holdings from a single interface, and let you start for as little as one pound.

Coinbase and staking services
Staking services Coinbase

Mobile functionality

Mobile trading functionality is less of a feature and more of a user-specific flexibility. You can download the Android or the iOS application, depending on your preferences. Once you log in using your Coinbase credentials, you can get access to trading charts, tools, and other resources, just like you would on the web version. 

Debit cards

coinbase reivew
Card support: Coinbase review

Coinbase even issues Visa-like debit cards for you. You can either use the card to pay in cash or crypto — with every spend translating into some sort of crypto reward. This is one of the ways to earn free crypto. The card itself is easy to fund, doesn’t have hidden fees tied to it, and even lets you choose the crypto you want the rewards to be in.

Choice of wallets

At Coinbase, you get a choice of crypto wallets to work with. Firstly, there is the standard Coinbase exchange wallet, which is a custodial entity in control of the platform. 

Coinbase wallet

Then there is the self-custody Coinbase Wallet — a nifty enhancement that lets you trade, swap, and buy crypto. This wallet type doesn’t require a primary Coinbase account and can even store NFTs.

The Coinbase Wallet is more like a one-stop solution for your crypto. You can choose assets to buy, send, bridge, receive, and more. And if you have crypto sitting on your Coinbase account — ETH and MATIC — you can use the wallet to generate passive yield.

And finally, there is the Coinbase DApp wallet, meant for ERC-20 tokens and other Ethereum-native decentralized activities. It is better to use this wallet to pay for developer fees and indulge in other web3-specific activities.

NFT marketplace

Coinbase has a full-fledged NFT marketplace where you can mint NFTs, explore the collections, shop for them, and sell by listing. To simply use this on the web version, you must connect your compatible wallet to Coinbase.


Coinbase review and NFT marketplace
NFT marketplace: Coinbase review

The marketplace allows you to choose from a wide range of popular NFTs to buy and sell. You can search through NFTs by genre, with categories including sports, music, art, and more.

Web3 gateway

Interested in exploring web3 without creating an exchange account? Coinbase lets you do so, allowing you to access the self-custody, decentralized Coinbase Wallet and customize the profile using your ENS name. And by ENS name, we mean the .eth domain. Once you become a part of Coinbase’s web3 conglomerate, you can connect with other .eth profiles.

Coinbase review and ENS profile access
Coinbase review and ENS profile access

The secret hack to using the ENS-led web3 getaway is to click on any profile to check out the assets and NFT holdings of the same. You can use each interface as a blockchain explorer to check the activity of the concerned profile.

Coinbase private client

If you are a high net-worth investor, Coinbase lets you experience customized support. From a dedicated team and investment recommendations to a secure and compliant interface with access to sophisticated trading tools, the Private Client functionality is one of Coinbase’s highlights.

Coinbase private client dashboard

Rewards

Coinbase also has a Learning Rewards program for the crypto-curious. This enlightening move recommends courses for you and even rewards you with course-specific tokens in return. 

Coinbase crypto rewards
Crypto rewards: Coinbase

Coinbase lending

If you are holding bitcoin and in need of some cash, Coinbase’s lending functionality may offer an option. Coinbase lets you borrow up to 40% of the BTC’s value, all while instantly crediting the sum to your bank or PayPal account. Your BTC works as collateral, remains safe, and appreciates (or depreciates) as per market conditions. Once you repay, you simply need to pay the entire lent sum back while paying the 8.7% APR interest on a monthly basis. 

Coinbase crypto-fiat lending
Crypto-fiat lending: Coinbase

Coinbase business

While most of the enlisted features are for retail traders and investors, Coinbase has a separate offering for business. With Coinbase’s business suite, institutional investors can embed crypto payments into their modus operandi, access derivatives in the form of crypto futures trading, list digital assets on Coinbase, experience curated brokerage options, and explore other solutions like hedge funds. 

Coinbase and institutional offerings
Institutional offerings: Coinbase

“Coinbase really is leading the way. What they have built is astonishing…and what they are still building is even more incredible.”

Raoul Pal, founder of Real Vision: Twitter

DApp access via mobile

Coinbaset offers one-of-a-kind DApp access, letting you interact with web3 applications via mobile or the Coinbase Wallet. You can access DApps on the Ethereum network, BNB chain, and other ecosystems via your mobile app.

Coinbase review and access to Dapps
Access to DApps: Coinbase

Developer access

Coinbase has a separate suite for developers interested in building on top of it. These include cloud-based tools, APIs, resources to offer wallet-as-a-service to clients, dedicated resources to build in Base, testnet access and faucets, and other features. 

And that sums up nearly everything Coinbase has to offer to its users. Let us now move further and explore other aspects of this exchange. 

Coinbase review: Fee structure

Coinbase’s tiered fee structure relies on the maker-taker model. For instance, if you place a market or, rather, an immediate order, you are the taker, whereas if you place a limit order, you become the maker. As the taker takes liquidity away from the order book, the trading fee thresholds are higher than that of the maker.

Coinbase review and fee structure
Fee structure: Coinbase review

At Coinbase, taker fees are set at 0.05% to 0.60%, and maker fees are set at 0 to 0.40% depending on the tier. 

But that’s just the spot trading fees. Like any other exchange, to trade cryptocurrencies or use any other crypto service on Coinbase, you must be aware of other fee structures as well. These include:

  • Coinbase borrow: In case you fail to repay the loan and Coinbase needs to sell the BTC collateral, per the loan agreement, a 2% transaction fee is also deducted.
  • Coinbase staking: While there are no staking or unstaking charges, the exchange charges anything between 25% to 35% on the rewards as performance fees.
  • Deposit and withdrawal: Electronic fund transfers in either case are free. However, Wire transfers in USD are charged at $10 for deposits and $25 for USD.
Coinbase deposit and withdrawal fee structure
Deposit and withdrawal fee structure: Coinbase

However, if you have the Coinbase One subscription, you can experience zero spot trading fees (on specific assets), a higher portion of staking rewards, and other perks. 

coinbase review
Coinbase One: Coinbase

Apart from that, Coinbase might charge network transaction fees for recovering unsupported crypto deposits, levy conversion fees depending on the liquidity of the pairs, and even include debit card issuance fees in certain cases or for certain transactions. However, the crypto exchange is known for clearly mentioning every charge. 

Coinbase review: pros and cons

Still on the fence about using Coinbase? Here is a detailed list of the pros and cons of the centralized exchange.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly interface
  • Focus on security
  • Adherence to regulatory compliance
  • A diverse range of crypto assets
  • Mobile-based trading
  • Advanced trading via Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Advanced
  • Passive earning plans
  • Region-specific services
  • Extensive educational resources


Cons

  • Higher fees on the standard plan
  • Region-specific service irregularity
  • No derivates trading support to the regular retail users
  • No demo terminal

If the cons rule out Coinbase as the exchange for you, here are a few Coinbase alternatives to consider.fea

Customer support

Coinbase is one of the few cryptocurrency exchanges to boast a robust and prompt customer service system. It leads the way with the following traits:

  • Multi-channel communication 
  • Round-the-clock availability
  • A well-stocked help center with access to FAQs, guides, and more
  • Email support
  • Live chat support
  • Phone support (region-specific)
  • Social media support (not a direct support channel

Coinbase’s support page lets you select the product and service you want assistance with, speeding up query resolution.

Coinbase review and product support page
Product support page: Coinbase

Coinbase’s Twitter support page:

How we have tested Coinbase

Our central aim in this analysis is to meticulously evaluate Coinbase’s features and functionalities, emphasizing its adaptability to diverse user requirements. We embarked on a thorough exploration of Coinbase’s primary platform offerings, focusing on areas such as:

  • Digital asset wallet capabilities
  • Tools for reviewing transaction histories and reports
  • Features related to cryptocurrency trading
  • Mobile financial services
  • Security protocols and safeguards

Furthermore, we examined Coinbase’s signature tools, employing a comparative approach to gauge its services in relation to other premier trading platforms.

Regulatory compliance and safety

Coinbase covers almost every U.S. state in regards to licensure. As a regulated platform, Coinbase is registered with the CFTC or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as a Futures Commission Merchant. As an FCM, Coinbase is in the right to support margin trading

While this seems like a positive development, it also comes amid the ongoing cold war between the exchange and the SEC, as on June 6, 2023, Coinbase was issued a Wells Notice for operating as an unregistered securities exchange. The CEX was also under fire for failing to register its newly launched staking-as-a-service program.

As far as the entire regulatory landscape goes, here are some of the additional insights you might want to consider:

  1. The exchange is registered with FinCEN — Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
  2. With FinCE, it identifies as an MSB or Money Services Business.
  3. This cryptocurrency exchange also adheres to the international Anti Money Laundering and KYC regulations.

Moreover, Coinbase maintains a strict, security-adhering stance, focusing on the financial well-being of the users. Here are some of the security-specific implementations it has in place:

  1. Insured digital and cash balances
  2. Availability of vaults for crypto lock-ins
  3. Two-factor authentication for log-ins, courtesy of the “Security Prompt” feature
  4. Security notifications
  5. Proactive threat detection
  6. Hashed password management via the “bcrypt” algorithm
  7. Built-in phishing protection
  8. Address whitelisting
  9. Manual geographical restrictions
  10. Secure fund storage with a focus on cold storage options

When it comes to security standards, Coinbase is one of the more reputed cryptocurrency exchanges. The CEX is known to have a strong focus on user protection and cybersecurity.

Address whitelisting
Address whitelisting: Coinbase

Invest responsibly

While there are many benefits to trading and investing, it is equally as important to point out the risks. Investing and trading is inherently risky, and you could potentially lose money.

Furthermore, this Coinbase review does not constitute an official Coinbase endorsement, it is solely for informational and entertainment purposes only.

Readers should always do their due diligence, conduct their own thorough research, and consider their personal financial goals and obligations before making any investment decisions.

Is Coinbase worth using?

This detailed Coinbase review does reveal the minimalist nature of the exchange. Despite some region-specific geographical restrictions, Coinbase does cover most bases where crypto trading is concerned. Furthermore, with access to a decentralized wallet, staking options, developer tools, and institutional resources, Coinbase exchange offers a rounded, intuitive, and beginner-friendly service for anyone looking to experience crypto and web3. 

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Ananda Banerjee
Ananda Banerjee is a technical copy/content writer specializing in web3, crypto, Blockchain, AI, and SaaS — in a career spanning over 12 years. After completing his M.Tech in Telecommunication engineering from RCCIIT, India, Ananda was quick to pair his technical acumen with content creation in a career that saw him contributing to Towardsdatascience, Hackernoon, Dzone, Elephant Journal, Business2Community, and more. At BIC, Ananda currently contributes long-form content discussing trading,...
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