- >Best Crypto Exchanges 2021
- >Coinbase vs Uphold: What’s the Best Beginner Crypto Exchange?
Coinbase Quick Overview
There’s a good chance if you’ve ever heard about crypto or Bitcoin then you know about Coinbase. Coinbase is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in existence, and it was the first platform to offer an easy-to-use brokerage model for allowing users to buy and sell Bitcoin. It has become one of the most well-regarded and popular exchanges in the world. Coinbase blazed the trail for many others and became the first US exchange to get a public listing in 2021. To learn more about the exchange be sure to check out our in-depth Coinbase review.
- Great customer service
- Low services fees
- Diverse and consistently updated choice of coins
Coinbase Pros & Cons
Industry-leading cryptocurrency exchange with fantastic volume
Very easy on-boarding process (although significant customer verification is required)
Solid UI for new crypto users who simply want to buy crypto ASAP
Base version of the platform has less cryptos available than Coinbase Pro
There have been some complaints about customer service
Higher than average fees
Uphold Quick Overview
Uphold launched in the United States back in 2015. The platform functions more like a traditional e-currency wallet, such as PayPal, than a cryptocurrency exchange; however, it does offer the ability to buy and sell crypto in addition to fiat currencies and commodities such as silver and gold.
You can trade any asset they offer for anything else they offer regardless of type of asset. Check out our full Uphold review here.
- Diverse range of digital (and non-digital) assets you can purchase
- Easy to sign up
- Has been remarkably secure over the years
- Available to people in over 180 different countries
Uphold Pros & Cons
Users can store cryptocurrency, precious metals, and fiat currencies
Uphold hasn’t faced any serious security issues since its launch in 2015
Uphold is available in more than 180 different countries
Transactions sent between Uphold users are completely free
Uphold has a powerful API that developers can use to build applications on top of the platform
The fees are somewhat high compared to platforms built for pro traders
Users are not in complete control of their funds
Fees are hidden in the buy and sell spreads
Other exchanges have a much longer list of cryptocurrencies available to trade
You must submit KYC documents in order to use Uphold
Uphold vs Coinbase at a Glance
While both Coinbase and Uphold have easy sign up processes, Coinbase has a slight advantage as you can buy up to $9,000 worth of crypto without further identity verification whereas Uphold has a $1,000 limit.
That said, it is easy to have your identity verified through Uphold very quickly, which gives you access to not only crypto assets, but commodities and fiat trading as well.
Trust & Security
Both Coinbase and Uphold offer top notch security, with Coinbase holding 99% of users’ funds in cold storage and up to $250,000 FDIC insurance for US citizens and Uphold holding 90% of user funds in cold storage but offering no insurance.
That said, neither service has a history of security issues, both being notable secure over their entire existence and incredibly trustworthy.
Here we have to ignore the fee structure of Coinbase Pro, which would be the hands-down winner, and instead compare the fees of the brokerage services of Coinbase to the fees of Uphold.
In this case it becomes quite comparable, as Coinbase fees range from 1.49%-3.99% while Uphold fees range from 0.65%-3.95%. The only difference is that Uphold also has a somewhat large price spread (usually around 0.8%) and a withdrawal fee that is in addition to the network fee always involved in sending crypto assets.
Because of this Coinbase is slightly better for fees, with Coinbase Pro being significantly better.
The sign-up process for both Coinbase and Uphold is essentially the same, the only difference being you can buy slightly more crypto without completing full verification through Coinbase than through Uphold.
For full identity verification the same information is required on both platforms, so assuming you are planning on buying more than $9,000 in crypto at some point the difference between the two platforms’ sign-up processes is negligible as you will need to do the full verification eventually.
The number of cryptocurrencies available on both platforms is quite comparable, Coinbase likely holding an advantage in the crypto department because of the higher volume.
However, Uphold also offers commodities in the form of gold and silver, something that is not available on Coinbase, so if you are interested in commodities then Uphold is a better option.
Coinbase’s standout feature is the same as it has been since it launched, a simple brokerage service for buying and selling crypto, albeit with much higher fees than you would get through most other exchanges. You are paying for the ease of access. A Coinbase Visa debit card is in the works, which would allow users to spend their portfolio assets instantly.
Uphold’s standout feature is its allowance of exchanging any asset they offer for any other asset they offer, meaning users can trade crypto for commodities and vice-versa. There are also no fees for trades between Uphold accounts. Uphold also has a Mastercard debit card in the works much like Coinbase in order to allow users to spend their digital assets anywhere. In addition, Uphold is the official exchange service for the Brave Browser.
CryptoVantage Verdict: Coinbase is Better Unless You Want Commodities
If you are strictly looking for an exchange with cryptocurrencies, then Coinbase is certainly the better option, more assets, more liquidity, great user interface and an easy process for registration.
Uphold is only the better option if you are looking to buy commodities such as gold and silver.