Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows you to buy, sell, receive, or send over 200 cryptocurrencies. It also has educational materials that can help you understand cryptocurrencies and learn how to trade them. Coinbase also offers advanced trading and several order types for more technical crypto investors.
However, the transaction fees Coinbase charges are a bit higher than some other exchanges such as Binance.US. Here’s how it works and what you should know about Coinbase fees, features, and tools.
Coinbase allows you to buy and trade over 200 cryptocurrencies.
- Grow your portfolio over time with recurring buys
- Buy, sell, store, receive, and send crypto all in one place
- Cold storage and advanced security features
What is Coinbase?
|Mobile app||iOS, Android|
|Trading fees||Tiered maker/taker fee structure:
|Available cryptocurrencies||200+ cryptocurrencies including:
|FDIC insured||FDIC-insured for U.S. dollar (USD) liquid balance|
|Best for...||New cryptocurrency traders who want to start gaining experience or use a simple platform|
Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange where users can buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency. It was founded in San Francisco in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, and is currently run by CEO Brian Armstrong.
Coinbase aims to build a more fair, accessible, efficient, and transparent financial system enabled by cryptocurrency. The exchange had 8.8 million active users and 103 million verified accounts in 2021. It’s also a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker COIN.
In addition to being a cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase also offers storage options, including Coinbase Vault, a custodial crypto wallet managed by the exchange. It also offers a non-custodial crypto wallet that you can manage yourself by keeping it on your mobile device or as a browser extension.
The larger Coinbase ecosystem gives you access to a debit card that connects to your Coinbase account, educational sources about cryptocurrencies, and opportunities to earn rewards via staking, which is a way to earn a return by holding certain cryptocurrencies on the exchange.
What does Coinbase offer?
Coinbase has a comprehensive ecosystem established around its exchange service. The platform offers many cryptocurrencies, low crypto trading fees, advanced trading tools, and more
Over 200 cryptocurrencies
Coinbase allows investors to buy, sell, exchange, receive, and send supported cryptocurrencies through its user-friendly web platform or iOS or Android apps. Its Coinbase Wallet also makes it simple to store your crypto in one place. In total, the exchange offers more than 200 cryptocurrencies, including popular options such as:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Uniswap (UNI)
You can purchase cryptocurrency with fiat currency (U.S. dollars) in your Coinbase account after depositing via ACH transfers, wire transfers, debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Coinbase supports recurring purchases. These can help you achieve dollar-cost averaging to slowly build a cryptocurrency portfolio over time.
You can use Coinbase to buy and sell cryptocurrency by placing market, limit, and stop orders. Market orders fill the cryptocurrency orders at the current market prices, while limit and stop orders allow you to buy or sell assets at certain prices. The interface is straightforward, allowing you to buy and sell the cryptocurrencies you wish to invest in as long as they’re supported in your area.
Keep in mindCoinbase is not currently supported in Hawaii.
Low trading fees
Coinbase uses a tiered maker-taker model when pricing its fees. Each time you place an order, your fee will be charged based on whether you’re considered a maker or a taker and the dollar value of your trading volume over a period of time.
- Makers contribute to the overall liquidity of the exchange. If you place an order that doesn’t need to be fulfilled immediately, you’re considered a maker. Your order is recorded and when a matching order is placed, your side is fulfilled. Makers generally pay lower fees of between 0.00% and 0.40%.
- Takers, on the other hand, expect immediate order fulfillment. If your order is designed to execute immediately, you’re a taker. Your fee will range from 0.05% to 0.60%, depending on your pricing tier.
Here’s what you can expect from the first five trading fee tiers.
|Tier||Cryptocurrency trading fees|
|$0 to $10,000||
|$10,000 to $50,000||
|$50,000 to $100,000||
|$100,000 to $1 million||
|$1 million to $20 million||
It’s worth noting that you won’t pay a trading fee when converting from specific coins to other specific coins. One example is when you convert from bitcoin (BTC) to ethereum (ETH) based on the exchange rate between the two cryptocurrencies.
Keep in mindCoinbase builds in a spread for the exchange rate. This provides a way for Coinbase to lock in a trading price while making money from the conversion, even though no extra fee is charged.
Coinbase offers two trading interfaces for consumers interested in investing money in cryptocurrency. In addition to its simple trading interface, it also offers an advanced trading platform. This advanced platform is targeted toward more knowledgeable cryptocurrency investors and it offers more trading tools that you may find helpful if you're an experienced trader.
NoteCoinbase advanced trading replaced Coinbase Pro, a service that has been retired.
This feature allows you to see pricing charts, as well as place limit orders in addition to market orders. With advanced trading, you get more information about the spread and access to real-time pricing changes. Because the view is different from simple trading, this feature can take some getting used to if you aren’t an experienced trader.
Coinbase offers a Visa debit card that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.
You can choose whether to use your crypto or U.S. dollar balances for your purchases, without fees. When you make purchases using this card, you can earn crypto rewards. You can also choose different reward forms. For example, you can earn rewards in bitcoin (BTC) or in alternative coins like the graph (GRT).
Coinbase also offers different products designed to help you use and manage your cryptocurrencies.
- Staking: You can use staking to earn interest by holding certain cryptocurrency coins on the exchange. Coinbase pays up to 5.75% annual percentage yield (APY) on certain crypto balances, depending on the coin you hold. You don’t need to do anything other than maintain the coin in your exchange account.
- Coinbase wallet: Coinbase offers different storage options for your crypto assets. You can keep your coins on the exchange, but you can also store them in a wallet. Coinbase Wallet is a self-custody wallet that gives you complete control of your crypto assets. The Coinbase Wallet can store cryptocurrencies and NFTs. It’s available as a browser extension and as an app for mobile devices.
- Coinbase Vault: Coinbase users can also store their cryptocurrencies in Coinbase Vault. Coinbase Vault is a custodial wallet managed by the exchange that uses several security measures to make it harder to steal your coins.
- Educational rewards: You can earn free cryptocurrencies when you learn about cryptocurrencies via short videos. You will need to answer some questions to earn your learning rewards.
- NFT marketplace: Coinbase offers a marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs). You need to set up a separate account to use this marketplace, but once you do, you can buy and sell NFTs. You can also choose to be informed when new NFTs become available.
The Coinbase platform is heavily focused on security. It uses cold storage to store 98% of customer funds offline, which helps to protect the funds from being accessed by hackers. Cold storage locations are distributed throughout the world in vaults and safe deposit boxes. All accounts must also use two-factor authentication, which adds further protection for users. Wallets and private keys, which are like a password for your crypto funds, also use encryption to protect your funds.
What Coinbase gets right
Coinbase pros include:
- Access to over 200 cryptocurrencies and an NFT marketplace
- Straightforward process to open an account and begin trading for new cryptocurrency investors
- Advanced option for more experienced traders
- Security measures like 2-step verification and cold storage for 98% of customer funds
- Ability to earn extra value through staking and rewards
- A debit card that allows you to spend in crypto or cash
What Coinbase can improve
Coinbase has some drawbacks, including:
- Higher fees than some other crypto exchanges such as Binance.US and Crypto.com
- No human phone-based support available for everyday questions
- The market updates Coinbase offers aren't regular
How much can you earn with Coinbase?
Coinbase is an exchange that allows you to trade cryptocurrencies. Your returns that you earn with Coinbase depend on several factors. These can include the pricing of the asset when you buy, how much you buy, when you sell, how much you sell, and other factors.
Ultimately, this means each person will likely see their own unique returns based on their decisions. But it’s important to remember that investing in cryptocurrency, and investing in general, is a risky endeavor that could result in losses. There is no guarantee your investments will increase in value, though it is possible.
Who can open an account with Coinbase?
You must meet the following requirements to open an account with Coinbase:
- Be at least 18 years old
- And have a:
- Government-issued photo ID
- Connection to the internet
- Phone number connected to a smartphone that can receive SMS messages
- Up-to-date browser or Coinbase app
- Valid email address
- Social Security number
- Valid payment method
Before you open a Coinbase account, ensure that you’re comfortable with the level of risk that crypto investing presents. It’s generally recommended that alternative assets make up about 10% of an investor’s portfolio, so Coinbase account holders might consider limiting their cryptocurrency investments.
You could be well-suited for a Coinbase account if you understand Coinbase’s fees, cryptocurrency, the risks involved with trading it, and have an investment strategy for digital assets. If you’re still learning about crypto and blockchain technology, consider reading our cryptocurrency for beginners guide before you start investing.
How to open a Coinbase account
Once you have what is needed to open a Coinbase account, including your government-issued photo ID, personal information, and banking details, you can follow the steps to open a Coinbase account.
1. Create your Coinbase account
Download the Coinbase app to your smartphone, or open Coinbase.com on your computer browser.
You can click the Sign Up or Get Started button to move forward. Choose the Individual account and then provide the information requested:
- First name
- Last name
- Email address
- Create a password
2. Verify your email address and phone number
Next, you’ll be sent an email. Click on the button in the email to verify.
Once you do that, you’ll set up two-step verification using your phone number.
You’ll be sent a seven-digit code. Once that’s entered, you move on to the next step.
3. Add personal information
Now, you’ll be taken to a series of places where you can enter personal information, including:
- Birth date
- Employment status
- Last four digits of your Social Security number
- What you plan to use Coinbase for
- Your funding source
After verifying that information, Coinbase will ask you about how much you plan to transfer to Coinbase, as well as what industry you work in.
4. Add a payment method
Now you need to add a payment method. Coinbase uses a fintech company called Plaid to connect to a bank account. You enter your credentials (username and password) and Plaid takes care of the rest. Select which account you want to connect and once it’s added, you can begin buying crypto.
5. Verify your account
If you want to be able to send and receive crypto to your Coinbase account, you need to verify it. This will allow you to send crypto to your own wallet, or receive crypto from outside Coinbase, without the need to first convert it to a fiat currency.
This is where you can upload your driver's license or use your webcam to take a picture of your driver's license or other state-issued ID. You also need to provide a selfie for comparison with your photo ID.
FAQs about Coinbase
Is Coinbase legitimate?
Coinbase is a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange. It’s a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ exchange under the COIN ticker, and there are more than 103 million verified Coinbase users.
Can you lose money on Coinbase?
You can lose money on Coinbase. Cryptocurrency can be a highly volatile asset. The negative side of volatility can be steep losses if a digital currency you’re invested in rapidly decreases in value. Before you invest in cryptocurrency, make sure you understand the risks involved. Also, ensure that cryptocurrency investing fits your risk tolerance profile and investment goals.
Which fiat currencies does Coinbase support?
Coinbase only supports the fiat currency that is your local currency. Currently, it accepts the following local currencies depending on your location:
- U.S. dollar (USD)
- Euro (EUR)
- British pound sterling (GBP)
How do you contact Coinbase customer support?
You can contact Coinbase customer support through coinbase.com. Start by visiting its ‘Contact Us’ page. Choose the Coinbase product you’re using and fill out a series of questions to get directed to the correct contact method for your particular issue. Usually, this results in filling out a support request form. The company does not offer phone support with live agents.
Other platforms to consider
Despite its offerings, Coinbase may not be the exchange you want to use to learn how to buy bitcoin. Consider our list of the best cryptocurrency exchanges for more options. Here are two altrenative platforms to explore.
eToro offers you the ability to trade crypto along with other assets. You get access to a virtual trading account, as well as the social investing feature that allows you to connect with other investors and traders and even see how they trade.
Read our eToro review to learn more.
Binance.US has lower fees, but a more limited selection of cryptocurrencies. As with Coinbase, it’s possible to set up recurring buys with Binance.US. You can also access advanced trading tools and use staking as a way to earn interest on your crypto assets.
Read our Binance.US review to learn more.