Coinbase review: Crypto investing for individuals and institutions

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  • Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange serving retail investors, businesses, and institutions.
  • The app offers more than 50 crypto assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and more.
  • You’ll need at least $10 to get started, but but be prepared to sift through various fees.
  • Click here to set up an account with Coinbase.

Is Coinbase right for you?

You may like Coinbase if you…You may not like Coinbase if you…
  • Want to buy, sell, or store more than 50 cryptocurrencies
  • Value educational investment resources, mobile access, digital storage, and customer support
  • Prefer low account minimums
  • Want to earn rewards for certain cryptocurrencies
  • Prefer non-custodial, cold storage wallets that give you complete access over private keys
  • Want to trade crypto futures or use margin accounts
  • Don’t want to pay more for lower balances
  • Are looking for lower trading and transaction fees

Launched three years after the creation of Bitcoin in 2009, Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows active traders to purchase, sell, or hold more than 50 virtual assets, including assets like Bitcoin, Ethereum, the Basic Attention Token (BAT), and others.

Coinbase also provides a range of investment options for businesses and institutions, including crypto storage, commerce services, and more.

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Average 401(k) balance

The company also recently went public through a direct listing on the Nasdaq exchange. 

Bottom line: Coinbase is best for active retail traders interested in trading and storing multiple cryptocurrencies. The investment platform is also a competitive option for businesses and institutions interested in utilizing cryptocurrencies. 

Editor’s rating4.35 out of 5
Fees0.50% spread for buy/sell transactions; transaction fee from $0.99 to $2.99; up to 0.50% for Coinbase Pro
Account minimum$2
PromotionGet $5 of Bitcoin when you join Coinbase
Open account

How does Coinbase compare?

Kraken Exchange

Min. Investment


Min. Investment

Depends on type of cryptocurrency

Min. Investment



0.50% spread for buy/sell transactions; transaction fee from $0.99 to $2.99; up to 0.50% for Coinbase Pro


0% – 0.26%


0.012% – 0.1%; 0% – 0.02% USD-M futures, -0.0090% – 0.0400% Coin-M futures

Investment choices

Cryptocurrencies, tokens

Investment choices

Cryptocurrencies, tokens, futures

Investment choices

Cryptocurrencies, tokens, futures

Open an accountOpen an accountOpen an account

Ways to invest with Coinbase

Coinbase brokerage account

As long as you’ve got at least $2, you can trade more than 50 cryptocurrencies with Coinbase’s standard trading account. But even if you aren’t actively buying, selling, or using cryptocurrencies, you can take advantage of several other products, including its web and mobile interfaces.


The Coinbase Earn feature allows you to earn free crypto assets by learning about different cryptocurrency topics. Here’s how it works: You watch short educational videos (typically no longer than four minutes each) on different cryptocurrencies, but you’ll have to take a quiz after you complete each lesson. Coinbase will deposit crypto into your Coinbase storage wallet for each quiz you complete (see a full list of Coinbase Earn’s offerings here).

Coinbase also offers USD Coin (USDC), a cryptocurrency that’s backed by US dollars. The company also refers to these as stablecoins since — unlike regular volatile cryptocurrencies — you can always redeem one USD coin for one US dollar, according to Coinbase’s website. In fact, the app allows eligible USD Coin customers to receive rewards at an APY of 0.15%.

If you’re a US investor, you’ll need to keep the following fees in mind: 

Payment methodCoinbase fee
US bank account1.49%
Coinbase USD wallet1.49%
Debit card purchase3.99%
ACH transferFree
Wire transfer$10 ($25 outgoing)
Credit transaction2%
Crypto conversion2%

In addition, if you’re wondering about crypto custody and storage options, Coinbase provides its own online storage wallets. With the Coinbase Wallet app (this app is also separate from its iOS and Android mobile apps), you can manage your private keys and crypto assets online. 

One thing to consider, though, is that this storage option is unlike other popular crypto and Bitcoin wallets that give you complete, non-custodial storage over your private keys. Coinbase ultimately retains management over your private keys since it acts as the host.

Coinbase Pro brokerage account

If you’re more of an advanced cryptocurrency trader, Coinbase’s Pro account could be a good fit for you. The account includes real-time order books, charting tools, and trading history. Coinbase also says its Websocket Feed gives you easy access to market data, while its trading API gives you the option to develop secure trading bots.

Coinbase Pro accounts also include FDIC insurance protection up to $250,000, and higher account balances result in lower trading fees. For instance, Coinbase Pro’s fee structure is comprised of taker fees and maker fees. If you’ve got an account balance below $10,000, you may have to pay a taker fee of 0.50%. You’ll only have to pay 0.04% if you hold more than $500 million.

Coinbase says taker fees are applied when you place an order at the market price that gets filled immediately. These fees range between 0.04% and 0.50%, depending on your account balance.

Maker fees, on the other hand, apply whenever you place orders that aren’t immediately matched with existing orders, according to Coinbase’s website. The platform says you’ll pay a maker fee if another investor places an order that matches yours. Maker fees range from 0% to 0.50%. You can find the complete fee schedule here.

One more important detail: Coinbase says you’ll pay a taker fee for the portion of any of your orders that are partially matched immediately. You’ll have to pay a maker fee once the remaining portion of the order matches with another order.

Investing for businesses and institutions

Coinbase also gives businesses and institutions a wide array of investment options. These include its Prime cryptocurrency trading platform, Asset Hub, commerce platform, storage options, and ventures services. 

Asset Hub lets businesses and issuers list crypto assets across the Coinbase platform to gain growth and exposure. Coinbase’s commerce offerings help crypto-oriented businesses set up hosted checkout pages, invoices, payment buttons, and more. 

The investment platform also offers secure cold storage ( also known as offline storage) for institutions and businesses. And the ventures feature gives new companies a space to raise money for expansion.

Is Coinbase trustworthy?

Coinbase has received a D- rating with the Better Business Bureau. 

The BBB considers several factors when evaluating companies. These include time in business (as well as type of business), customer complaint history, licensing, government actions, and more. While Coinbase’s rating is low, the bureau also says that its ratings don’t guarantee that a company will perform well or exhibit trustworthiness. 

For this reason, it’s also important to do your own due diligence before making a final decision. The BBB says it assigned Coinbase a D- rating because the company failed to respond to more than 650 complaints.

Coinbase has closed more than 1,100 c0mplaints in the last 12 months. The crypto exchange has closed more than 900 complaints in that same time period.

What is Coinbase?

Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange that lets you trade Bitcoin (including Bitcoin Cash), Ethereum, Litecoin, and more than 50 other crypto assets. The platform also offers storage wallets for crypto assets, Coinbase Earn, Coinbase Pro, and cryptocurrency services for businesses and institutions.

Coinbase was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. Though it launched with the initial intention of giving all investors access to Bitcoin, the company has expanded its offerings to more than 100 countries and more than 50 cryptocurrencies. 

Coinbase says it serves roughly 56 million verified users, 7,000 instituions, and 115,00 ecosystem partners across the world.

Rickie Houston is a wealth-building reporter at Personal Finance Insider who covers investing, brokerage, and wealth-building products.

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