Comprehensive Review of Coinbase Exchange (2021)

Coinbase is one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world with unparalleled trading volume and a long-standing reputation for industry-leading security. It’s simply one of the best ways to buy Bitcoin. Based in the United States — San Francisco to be specific — Coinbase has been in operation since 2012 making them one of the earliest adopters and providers of various cryptocurrency-related products. Over the years the company has entered into partnerships with a variety of mainstream companies such as Dell, Overstock, Time Inc, which helped solidify them as one of the most trusted organizations in the cryptocurrency community.

Coinbase Overview

Coinbase Logo


  • 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+


  • New users can earn free crypto through

  • User friendly design with simple buy/sell buttons with clearly indicated prices

  • Diverse and consistently updated choice of coins

  • Built their own stable coin (USDC) that allows users to protect their investments by selling volatile assets like Bitcoin or Ethereum, for a stable asset like the USDC


  • Fees are right in the middle of industry standards

  • Your account could be shut down depending on where you send your cryptocurrency after having bought it on Coinbase

  • Significant identity verification required

Setting up a Coinbase Exchange Account

Coinbase Exchange Homepage

Step 1: Create Your Coinbase Account

The first step is to create a Coinbase account by providing basic identity information:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email Account
  • Creating a secure password
  • Confirming you are 18 years of age or older

Step 2: Verifying Your Email Address

Coinbase will send an email to your account and require email verification.

Step 3: Add a Phone Number

You must add a phone number immediately after validating your email address.

Providing a phone number is required for a 2-step verification. Coinbase will text a 7 digit verification code to your mobile device.

Step 4: Providing Personal Information and Selecting a Payment Method

You must then provide basic information including payment address and your name. In addition, you’ll need to prove your identity by providing a scan of one of the following:

  • Passport
  • Driver’s License
  • Photo I.D.

There’s a little bit of processing time but you should be able to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from Coinbase as soon as you complete the aforementioned steps.

Funding Methods

Bank Account (ACH)
4-5 Days
Credit/Debit Card
Wire transfer
1-3 business days
Nearly instant

Supported Operating Systems

The standard Coinbase offers support for desktop and mobile, which means that Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android users all get access to the site.

Interestingly Coinbase also offers a Pro version for advanced users, which is only available for desktop. The company also offers a standalone wallet, which is available for mobile users.

Is Coinbase Safe?

Yes. Coinbase is one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world and has a sterling reputation for security. Perhaps most importantly the exchange keeps nearly 99% of its users’ digital assets in offline cold storage.

Coinbase also requires that you validate a phone number by entering a code they send you through a text message. After validating your phone number, it is recommended you set up a more secure 2FA (two-factor authentication) method. Direct text message 2FA is not as secure as they can be hijacked by hackers while your text is in transit.

Coinbase has mandatory two-factor authentication (2FA) on your account, to ensure that your account remains secure. There are other ways to further enhance your Coinbase account security. With security, more is typically better, so you may as well take advantage of all the security features that Coinbase offers.

Upon deleting your account, Coinbase has provided you with the ability to request the information you gave to them in the first place. You can also request that Coinbase deletes the information from their servers. With privacy being a large concern in the lives of individuals, Coinbase gets brownie points for properly handling, and discarding your personal information if that’s something you would like them to do.

Are Coinbase Fees High?

Coinbase uses a flat + percent fee structure on all of their operations.

 Coinbase has a rather dynamic fee structure depending on the operation taken on the site, ( Buys / Sells / Trades ). They’ve implemented tiered fees depending on the type and volume of the operation. 

Overall, Coinbase is transparent about their fee structures. It’s broken out with granular articulation which definitely increases the trust factor that we have for Coinbase. All in all, Coinbase runs a tight and exceptional service in the crypto industry—it’s not surprising why they are able to charge the fees that they do. Seasoned cryptocurrency traders may look for exchanges with lower fees but it’s hard to ignore the high amount of trust that Coinbase brings to the picture.




Our recommended exchange for buying Bitcoin

Coinbase Compared

We compared Coinbase to a number of alternative options for trading crypto. Here is a look at some of our most popular Coinbase comparison articles:

What Can You Buy on Coinbase?

Coinbase enables the purchase of many different cryptocurrencies, including all the majors such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin. Coinbase is not limited to just the biggest coins, however, and there are some underrated coins on the exchange such as Stellar, DAI, BAT and more. Here’s a look at some of the more notable coins available on Coinbase:

Coinbase Frequently Asked Questions

You might have heard that cryptocurrency can be fairly volatile so you never know exactly how much Bitcoin is going to cost on any given day. Meanwhile Coinbase’s fee structure is in line with rest of the industry.

While most coins are technically “stored” on their blockchains, you can say that the coins you have on Coinbase are “stored” on the exchange until you transfer them to a wallet that you alone control. That’s why we advise that you never keep more than you are willing to lose on an exchange—always transfer your coins to a secure wallet once you’ve made your purchase.

According to Coinbase’s insurance policy, they maintain commercial criminal insurance in an aggregate amount that is greater than the value of the digital currency they maintain in online storage. That means if someone hacks Coinbase and steals their coins, they are insured for the loss.

Coinbase makes all possible efforts to keep their digital currencies secure, but in the 21st century, nothing is completely, 100% secure from attack. To increase security, Coinbase stores 98% of customer funds offline where they are not accessible to remote attacks, they require two-factor authentication on all accounts, and all user information is encrypted.

To date, Coinbase has never been successfully hacked. While attackers have made several high-profile attempts to hack Coinbase’s security, there have been no successful breaches of Coinbase. For increased security, we still recommend that users always transfer their coins to digital wallets that they alone control instead of keeping their coins in their exchange accounts.

Coinbase is 100% legal in the United States. There are some states where Coinbase does not currently operate (Hawaii is the notable exception) but that doesn’t make it illegal. In addition Coinbase operates in 190+ countries worldwide.

Coinbase currently supports crypto buying and selling in over 30 countries, including:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • United Kingdom
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

If Coinbase does not support trading in your country at this time, you can likely still utilize many of their product offerings, including storing funds and sending & receiving funds.

Theoretically, you could invest in a cryptocurrency and its value could rise. You would make money in that case. The reality is that there is risk involved in all forms of investment and you should never risk what you can’t afford to lose.

Coinbase does accept credit cards for cryptocurrency purchases and it’s a very convenient option for most people. Keep in mind that credit cards tend to have some of the higher fees involved for crypto purchases but they are fast and efficient. In Canada, users can also purchase cryptocurrency using their KOHO prepaid visa card.

Yes, Canadians can use Coinbase. Canadians are not restricted to only using exchanges that are Canadian. Coinbase is an American exchange, but Coinbase is a great option for Canadians looking to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

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.