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BeginnerIntermediateAdvanced

Coinbase is one of the most recognizable and trusted brands in the entire cryptocurrency industry. However, there are two very different ways that this platform can be used to enter the crypto asset market. In fact, Coinbase operates two separate exchange platforms that are intended for different types of users. With the base Coinbase platform, there is a lot of hand holding to make it as easy as possible for someone to purchase their first bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. Coinbase Pro, on the other hand, is built for more advanced traders who are more concerned about getting the best possible price on their trades and low fees. Whether you’re new to crypto or you’re just trying to access larger levels of liquidity, it’s likely that Coinbase can offer the perfect trading platform to meet your specific needs.

Coinbase Logo

Coinbase

  • User-friendly
  • Great customer service
  • Low services fees
  • Diverse and consistently updated choice of coins
Funding Methods Debit & Credit Bank, PayPal, ACH, Bank Transfer
Cryptocurrencies 40+
Countries 100+

Fees

Fees are a key area of difference between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. Even though buy and sell orders made via the base Coinbase platform are actually settled on the underlying Coinbase Pro exchange, the more convenient trades made in a brokerage-esque manner come with higher fees. While fees for trading on Coinbase Pro directly start at 0.50% and drop as the user’s trading volume increases, trading via Coinbase can come with fees as high as 4%. The 4% fee is applied when buying crypto with a credit or debit card. If you’re buying bitcoin or another crypto asset via a bank transfer, the fee drops down to 1.5%.

Features

The sets of features for Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro are quite different because they are built for different audiences. In a way, the Coinbase homepage can be seen as an additional feature built around the base Coinbase Pro exchange due to the fact that Coinbase trades are still sent through the Coinbase Pro platform.

One of the more interesting additional features of the overall Coinbase platform is Coinbase Earn. This is an area of the website where new users are able to earn cryptocurrency in exchange for learning about various crypto assets that are available for trade on the Coinbase platform. This system was added to Coinbase as part of the company’s acquisition of Earn, which was a company that originally started in the bitcoin mining space and eventually pivoted to a mechanism for paying people to read messages you send to them. While this is a useful place for earning some crypto with relative ease, it’s important to remember Coinbase has an incentive to pump up as many alternative cryptocurrencies as possible, which means the “education” that you get through this platform may come with some serious bias. To get the full picture on a lot of the assets involved in the Coinbase Earn program, it is a good idea to seek out negative views on these crypto tokens as well, as you won’t find those sorts of takes on the Coinbase Earn platform.

Speed

In terms of speed, there isn’t much difference between the Coinbase and Coinbase Pro platforms, as they both run on the same base trading engine. The only real place where anything related to the speed of making a transaction is noticeably different between these two platforms is if you’re going from having no bitcoin and no cryptocurrency exchange account to having some bitcoin or another crypto asset. The fastest way to go from nothing to something in the crypto world via Coinbase is to make a purchase via a credit or debit card. Other payment options, whether via Coinbase or Coinbase Pro, will come with additional wait times in terms of gaining full access to your coins. Although there is a higher fee for using a credit or debit card to purchase bitcoin, the reality is sometimes it’s necessary to pay that additional cost in a situation where you need access to crypto in a hurry.

Security

The security measures involved with the storage of cryptocurrencies on Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are basically identical, as these are really two versions of the same platform. Coinbase is one of the most widely-trusted brands in the cryptocurrency ecosystem when it comes to security, and the platform has never faced a serious security incident that threatened the holdings of their users. The vast majority of crypto funds held on Coinbase are held in offline storage, which means they’re never at risk of theft or other issues occurring via an internet-connected device. Additionally, cryptocurrency held in Coinbase’s online wallets is insured against various attacks against Coinbase or their own possible ineptitude. While users are still on their own in situations where their individual accounts get hacked, issues that affect the Coinbase userbase as a whole will not lead to a loss of funds due to the existence of this insurance policy.

Currencies

Coinbase started out as a rather conservative platform in terms of the cryptocurrencies they decided to support from the beginning. In fact, bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency available for trade on the Coinbase platform for quite some time. It wasn’t until Ethereum blossomed as a secondary cryptocurrency platform that Coinbase decided to change this policy. These days, Coinbase appears to support any new token that becomes the least bit popular as quickly as possible. While they don’t offer nearly as many trading pairs as Binance, the reality is most of the established coins can now be found on this platform. In reality, you may want to avoid coins that are not traded on Coinbase, as it means the platform does not necessarily view the coin as credible enough for their users.

It should be noted that Coinbase Pro supports more crypto assets than Coinbase, as advanced traders are likely better at performing their own due diligence in the cryptocurrency space.

Trading Power

In terms of the trading functionality, there are much more powerful options available for traders on Coinbase Pro than on the base Coinbase platform. Coinbase is all about making it as easy as possible for people to buy bitcoin and other crypto assets, and they’ve narrowed the functionality on that end down to a simple “Buy” button that is easy for anyone to understand. If you want more flexibility with your trading options and lower fees, then you’ll need to learn how to use the more advanced Coinbase Pro trading platform. On Coinbase Pro, you’ll be able to switch between market, limit, and stop orders instead of just clicking a button to buy bitcoin or another cryptocurrency at a set price.

User Friendliness

Coinbase will be the better option over Coinbase Pro in a situation where you’re more interested in simplicity and convenience than anything else. Yes, Coinbase Pro can allow you to get a better deal on your cryptocurrency trades, but the reality is some people prefer a platform that will allow them to join the platform, buy some bitcoin, and let it sit in their account for a number of years. Coinbase’s entire brand has been built on ease of use, and there may not be a better platform available in the world if you’re looking to purchase your first bitcoin.

Arthur Crowson

About the Author

Arthur Crowson

Arthur Crowson is an award-winning writer and editor who hails from the Pacific Northwest. His career began in traditional news media but he transitioned to online media in the mid-2000s and has written extensively about the online poker boom and the rise of cryptocurrency.

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