Summary: Coinbase is a digital asset exchange founded in San Francisco, USA, in 2012. The platform allows you to buy, sell, and stake cryptocurrencies, as well as store them in a secure wallet on the exchange. Today, it has amassed an impressive 120 million users that are trading over $300 billion worth of cryptocurrency each quarter. It has additional versions of its platform, including Coinbase Pro, which offers advanced charting functions, and Coinbase One, which offers no-fee trades in exchange for a monthly subscription fee.

Table of Contents

What is Coinbase?

Coinbase, established in 2012, is one of the largest, oldest, and most trusted digital currency exchanges globally. Headquartered in San Francisco, it serves as a gateway for individuals and institutions to buy, sell, and store various cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Distinguished for its user-friendly interface, it caters to a global user base of traders, offering features like educational resources, a secure wallet, and advanced trading options. 

The platform has gained trust for its emphasis on regulatory compliance and security, making it a preferred choice for those seeking a reliable and accessible avenue into the world of cryptocurrency. Coinbase's role in the digital currency landscape reflects a commitment to bringing cryptocurrencies into mainstream financial systems, demonstrating a blend of innovation, accessibility, and security. It mainly focuses on tailoring its services to meet the needs of the American market.

Coinbase Features

Although Coinbase might have been the first cryptocurrency exchange you heard of, the platform is yet to offer a large suite of features. You can still trade spot and futures markets, plus stake a variety of tokens, however, apart from that, it doesn't support much else. Below we have provided a quick summary of the key features on Coinbase:

  1. Derivatives Trading: Trade derivatives on multiple assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, commodities, and two stock indexes (Bloomberg US Large Cap Index & SuperTech).
  2. Spot Trading: Buy and sell over 220 cryptocurrencies on spot markets with over 530 pairs.
  3. Crypto Staking: Stake 10 different tokens with yields (returns) up to 5.75% APY.
  4. Base Layer 2: Base is Coinbase's new Layer 2 protocol built using the Optimism Stack. The chain is designed to support high throughput for developers to deploy smart contracts and applications in competition with other L2s like Arbitrum and Optimism.
  5. Coinbase Wallet: The Coinbase wallet supports Ethereum and all EVM-compatible networks on its mobile app and browser extension. The mobile app also supports these blockchains; Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Stellar Lumens, and Ripple network.
  6. Learn & Earn: It offers an L2E (Learn-To-Earn) feature where users can participate in quizzes and courses about tokens to receive free cryptocurrencies.
  7. NFT Marketplace: Coinbase NFT is an on-chain marketplace similar to OpenSea and Rarible that offers all the same NFT projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club and Azukis.
  8. Coinbase VISA Card: A VISA card that can be used at 40M+ merchants worldwide. Users can load fiat currencies or crypto onto this card and spend it on real-life purchases.
  9. Borrow (Loans): This feature allows users to use Bitcoin as collateral to take out loans up to $1M USD. Borrow is only available to residents of the US, and interest is 8.7% APR. No credit check is required.
Coinbase: Home Page.
Coinbase: Home Page.

Is Coinbase Regulated?

Yes, Coinbase is regulated by financial authorities in the UK, which gives it legitimacy in the eyes of its British users. In the United Kingdom, it is regulated by the FCA under registration number 900635. It is not registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, meaning it is not regulated in the US. However, the platform has implemented multiple layers of security, including 2-factor authentication and a host of other security features. 

All of Coinbase's USD cash balances are covered by FDIC insurance, up to a maximum of $250,000. Additionally, the platform stores a majority of its digital assets in secure offline storage. Unfortunately, the exchange was subject to a cyber attack in 2021, where hackers were able to steal funds from 6000 Coinbase clients. In saying that, the exchange did reimburse all of its customers' stolen funds.

Coinbase Regulation.
Coinbase Regulation.

Supported Countries

Coinbase offers its services in a wide range of countries globally. This includes significant markets like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, alongside various other regions worldwide. The platform's availability spans across continents, catering to users in over 100 countries. This expansive reach allows individuals and businesses to access, trade, and manage a diverse portfolio of cryptocurrencies. 

Fees Schedule

Coinbase has extremely high fees compared to other cryptocurrency exchanges. It has an extensive and confusing fee schedule, you can refer to the list below for a quick summary:

  • Deposit Fee: There is a 4% cost for credit card deposits, $10 for Fedwire, $25 for SWIFT, €0.15 EUR for SEPA, and zero fees for ACH transfers.
  • Withdrawal Fee: 1% fee to convert and withdraw your crypto to cash, plus network (gas) fees for withdrawing digital assets. There is a $25 fee for Fedwire, $25 for SWIFT, €0.15 for SEPA, and zero costs for withdrawing to your bank account.
  • Futures Trading Fee: The Maker/Taker rebate is 0.4%/0.6% for trading derivatives.
  • Spot Trading Fee: There is a 1% fee on all cryptocurrency transactions.
  • Staking Fee: 25% commission on total rewards.

It's important to mention that these fees are not the norm amongst other cryptocurrency investing platforms. Most exchanges typically provide free deposits and withdrawals, below 1% for spot market trading and 0.02%/0.06% for the Maker/Taker rebate.

Customer Support

Coinbase offers a live chat feature, but it is only available to existing, verified users. You cannot contact support unless you have already signed up to the exchange and completed the KYC requirements. If you have an account, you can also reach them via email or phone. In addition to its in-built contact methods, the Coinbase team has a variety of online communities where you can contact the support team, including Discord, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, TikTok, Instagram & YouTube.

Coinbase: Help Centre.
Coinbase: Help Centre.

Mobile App

In addition to its web-based exchange, Coinbase is also supported on both iOS and Android devices. The Coinbase app on the Apple App Store has achieved an incredible 4.7 stars from 1.7 million reviews and is ranked #27 overall in the Finance category. On the Google Play Store, it's rated 4.1 stars from 730K reviews. Most of the reviewers have stated that the application has a simple interface and offers the same functionality as the online platform.

Coinbase Earn

Besides cryptocurrency trading, the platform also offers staking on 10 tokens with yields up to 5.75%. The exchange offers two types of staking, the traditional staking method and 'DeFi Yield' which is only applicable to DAI and Tether. 

Refer to the list below for a summary of the available staking options and their APYs (Annual Percentage Yields).

  • Algorand (ALGO) - 5.75% APY 
  • Cardano (ADA) - 2.6% APY 
  • Cosmos (ATOM) - 5% APY 
  • Dai (DAI) - Variable 
  • Dai (DAI) - 0.15% APY
  • Ethereum (ETH) - 3.28% APY 
  • Solana (SOL) - 4% APY 
  • Tether (USDT) - Variable 
  • Tezos (XTZ) - 4.63% APY 
  • USD Coin (USDC) - 0.15% 

Please note that staking and DeFi Yield are available in 70+ countries. However, DeFi Yield is only available to residents outside the US. To see if you're in one of the eligible countries, you can visit Coinbases Staking Eligibility Terms. It's important to check these terms as some jurisdictions only support selected assets.

Coinbase Earn.
Coinbase Earn.

What is Coinbase Base?

Coinbase Base is a new Ethereum Layer 2 (L2) network designed to provide a secure, low-cost, and developer-friendly way to build decentralized apps onchain. Base leverages the security and scalability of Ethereum, along with Coinbase's experience building crypto products, to create an open ecosystem for anyone to build on. Base aims to serve as a bridge between Ethereum L1, other L2s, and other L1 ecosystems, making it easy to build multichain applications. 

Base is open source, and its underlying software is available to everyone. Coinbase plans to decentralize Base over time and developers can build on Base today using the RPC testnet endpoint or choosing from Node providers. Coinbase is committed to making onchain more accessible, cheaper, and safer for users, and Base is a significant step in that direction.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Coinbase stands out as a comprehensive, user-friendly, and secure platform in the world of cryptocurrency trading and management. Its diverse range of services, including spot and futures trading, staking, and a unique Layer 2 protocol, caters to both beginners and seasoned traders. While its fee structure may be higher compared to other exchanges, the platform's commitment to security, regulatory compliance, and customer support makes it a trustworthy choice.