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Coinbase

Coinbase Canada

200+

Coins 

0.40%/0.60%

Trading Fee 

Remote

HQ

Last Updated May 14, 2024  |  Affiliate Disclosure

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Highlights

  • Coinbase is a global crypto exchange with 110 million users in 100+ countries. It's one of the safest and most famous cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.
  • Coinbase Canada offers 200+ cryptocurrencies, credit/debit purchases, and PayPal for withdrawals. Keep in mind, no e-transfers or bank transfers are supported for Canadian Dollars.
  • While Coinbase is safe and regulated in Canada, it's biggest drawback is notoriously high fees. The cheapest place to buy Bitcoin I found was NDAX.

What Is Coinbase?

Founded in 2012, Coinbase is one of the world's safest and most famous crypto exchanges. On Coinbase Canada, users can sign up and trade 200+ coins, stake crypto, and trade NFTs. Other features include professional trading, a self-custody wallet, a subscription service called Coinbase One, and much more.

They are a public company in the US (NASDAQ: COIN) and very well trusted. However, they can do better to serve Canadians because they have high fees and few ways to deposit and withdraw Canadian Dollars. More on this below.

Pros and Cons

  • Safest exchange in the world and regulated in Canada (see security section)
  • Wide selection of cryptocurrencies (200+)
  • Lots of other features like a self-custody crypto wallet, advanced trading, and staking
  • Elegant user interface and easy to use
  • Much cheaper if you use the advanced trade
  • Some of the highest fees in Canada (see fees below)
  • There's no option to deposit Canadian Dollars, only instant debit/credit buys
  • Futures trading and other features are restricted in Canada
  • Their fees are confusing and not very transparent

Things To Know

  • Coinbase is the safest exchange in the world (best reputation, track record, publicly traded, etc)
  • You can trade 200+ cryptocurrencies in Canada
  • Advanced trading is much cheaper, with a 0.40% maker and 0.60% taker fee
  • Beginner trading charges a spread and transaction fees which are quite high (see fees below)
  • No CAD deposits or trading pairs are supported, you can instant buy with credit/debit or deposit crypto to fund your account
  • Canadians can only cash out fiat to a PayPal account
  • You can pay $30/month to get zero trading fees, boosted staking rates, and more
  • Coinbase has lots of other features like staking, recurring buys, learn to earn rewards, and more

Key Benefits & Features

Coinbase Website
  • 200+ Cryptocurrencies: Coinbase offers spot trading for a variety of digital assets, more than most Canadian CEXs. They also have high liquidity and trading volume ensuring better rates on advanced trades.
  • Safest Exchange In The World: Coinbase is licensed with Canadian regulators, publicly traded in the US, holds assets in cold storage, and check all the boxes when it comes to safety. Many people agree that Coinbase is the safest CEX in the world.
  • Beginner and Advanced Trading: Users can easily switch between their preferred trading interface. Both have different fee structures, with Advanced Trade being a lot cheaper. Advanced trade only supports USDC-crypto trading pairs.
  • Variety Of Features: From NFTs to a non-custodial wallet to learning rewards, Coinbase has a wide array of crypto services. Other Coinbase features listed below.
  • Elegant User Interface: Coinbase is very easy to use on web and mobile and has one of the best UX's in the game.
  • Coinbase One: You can pay $30/month to get zero trading fees, 24/7 priority support, and boosted APY on staked assets.

Other Coinbase Features

While the key features are mentioned above, here is a non-exhaustive list of the entire Coinbase ecosystem:

  • Derivatives Trading: While Coinbase launched futures and their Exchange product, it is not available in Canada. Check out my review on MEXC for up to 200x leverage or ApeX for a decentralized futures exchange with up to 30x leverage.
  • Coinbase Wallet: A separate app which is their non-custodial crypto wallet. You can access DEXs like Uniswap, trade NFTs, and use thousands of other decentralized applications (dApps). 
  • Learning Rewards: Coinbase has a crypto learn to earn program allowing you to earn free crypto for taking short quizzes. Funds are immediately deposited into your account. It's a great way to make ~$50 in one sitting.
  • Recurring Buys: Set up automated purchases to dollar-cost average your favourite cryptos.
  • Coinbase Earn: Their staking program which takes a 15% to 35% fee. I recommend Kraken instead for zero-fee staking or learn how to stake yourself using a non-custodial wallet.
  • NFT Marketplace: On nft.coinbase.com you can buy sell and mint NFTs. 
  • Base Blockchain: Base is Coinbase's Layer 2 blockchain built on top of Ethereum. Learn more here.
  • Other Products: There is also a Coinbase Card, borrowing and lending, and lots of other features but these are unavailable for Canadians right now.

Coinbase Walkthrough

Instant Buy and Sell

The instant buy and sell for beginners lets you easily buy and sell crypto with a credit/debit card. It uses Canadian dollars but keep in mind this has much higher fees than the advanced trade.

Coinbase Web App Quick Buy Sell

Advanced Trade

In your account, you can toggle advanced trade to get lower fees. The fees are still high compared to other platforms but it's a 0.40% maker and 0.60% taker fee. Also, you can only trade with stablecoins (no CAD or fiat trading pairs available). If you buy USDC using Coinbase Instant Buy, you will get hit with the high fees, but if you deposit crypto, it's a little better.

The advanced trade is pretty good though. It has live order books and high liquidity, ensuring your orders execute quickly. You'll find over 200 spot trading pairs.

Coinbase Web App Advanced Trade

Learning Rewards

Coinbase learning rewards is a crypto learn to earn program where you can earn free crypto in just a few minutes. You'll get paid instantly by taking short quizzes about different crypto projects. If you want to make $30 to $50 in one quick sitting, you will get your crypto and can hold it, sell it, or withdraw it right away.

Coinbase Learn and Earn

Customer Service

You can contact Coinbase support via live chat and it says "an agent should reply within 10 minutes." They also offer email support, phone support and a knowledge base with helpful FAQs, articles and walkthroughs. There is also a live website status where you can check for incidents or maintenance in real-time.

Coinbase Customer Support

Fees & Spread

Overall, Coinbase is one of the most expensive platforms, even if you purchase their $30/month Coinbase One subscription to get zero trading fees (on beginner trading). However, you can buy crypto much cheaper without having to pay $30/month. Just use NDAX or see the cheapest Canadian exchanges here.

Coinbase has a tiered fee structure which is different for beginner and advanced trading. Advanced trading has a simple 0.40% maker and 0.60% taker fee with discounts available based on 30 day trading volume. The beginner trading fees are much higher and also charge a spread markup. It ranges from $0.99 to $2.99 or a fixed 3.84% fee depending on the amount. 

From my tests, Coinbase had a total BTC purchase fee of 4.54%! It was last place out of 18 platforms and 9x more expensive than NDAX, which was the cheapest platform with a 0.49% fee at the same time. 

Advanced Trading Fee

0.40% maker 0.60% taker
Discounts based on trading volume

Beginner Trading Fees (as of Mar 31/22)

$0.99 fee for $10 purchase

$1.49 fee for $10-$26

$1.99 fee for $27-$54

$2.99 fee for $54-$78

3.84% fee for $79-$7,500

Coinbase One Subscription

$29.99/month

Recurring Buys

3.00%+

Staking Fee

15% to 35%

Crypto Withdrawal Fees

Dynamic (Network Fees)

Deposit & Withdrawals

Canadian users can buy cryptocurrencies with Visa, Mastercard, or debit or fund their account by depositing cryptocurrency. There is no support for e-transfers or bank transfer deposits which is a major drawback as a Canadian. For cashing out, Canadians can only withdraw via PayPal or cryptocurrency.

Security

When it comes to Security, Coinbase checks nearly all the boxes, making them one of the safest exchanges in the world. They were founded in 2012 and have built a long-standing reputation for compliance and security. 

Starting with legality, Coinbase is fully regulated in Canada. They are a registered Money Service Business (MSB) with FINTRAC, pre-registered as a restricted dealer with the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and a registered crypto asset trading platform with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

Users can protect their account with two-factor authentication, address whitelisting, and various other settings found in their profile. Coinbase also stores digital assets in cold storage and claims to hold funds 1:1. While they don't have a proof of reserves, they are a public company in the US which means public financials and frequent audits. More details can be found below and on their security page.

Hacks & Incidents

Since being founded in 2012, Coinbase has had one hack. In 2021, 6,000 Coinbase customers lost their cryptocurrency through an SMS vulnerability. Coinbase worked with the customers to regain control of their accounts and reimburse funds lost. While a hack is not good, it doesn't necessarily mean a platform is unsafe.

Here is a full list of Coinbase's security protocols. It is longer than all crypto exchanges I've reviewed:

Coinbase Security Protocols

  • 98% of assets are held in cold storage
  • Fully legal and compliant in Canada
  • $255 million insurance policy on the 2% of crypto held in online hot wallets
  • Sensitive data is stored on paper backups and USB drives in vaults and multiple locations
  • Coinbase claims all personal information is encrypted
  • Employees must pass a criminal background check
  • Bug bounty program - white-hat hackers get paid to find security bugs and vulnerabilities
  • No proof of reserves, but they are publicly traded with public financials and frequent audits
  • See their security page

User Security Features

  • 2FA for logins (via phone number, security key or authenticator app)
  • 2FA for withdrawing crypto
  • Crypto address whitelisting
  • Coinbase Vault: A place to store your crypto for time-delayed withdrawals. You can also set up multiple approvers and offline storage
  • "Lock Your Account" button if you see suspicious activity
  • Biometric login
  • Security notifications via email, SMS and push (eg. Your password has been reset)
  • Account activity notifications (eg. buys, sells, transfers, etc)
  • Coinbase offers an emergency phone number to lock your account
  • Button to request your data to be deleted
  • View website status in real-time

Coinbase Reviews According to Reddit

The main concerns people have online are that Coinbase has horrible customer support and high fees. Most people say the platform works great until they need support, and then everything goes downhill. If you look at Reddit, Trust Pilot or the Google Play store and App Store, it's the same story. 

  • Many users don't like the high fees like this person on Google Play: "Crazy high fees. Taking advantage of new inexperienced traders."
  • On a Canadian sub-reddit someone wrote, "Coinbase has definitely the higher fees compared to NDAX, Newton and Shakepay."
  • When it comes to customer support, a lot of stories sound like this, "I was a steady buyer then out of no where Coinbase restricts my account for 2 months for “fraud.” Now I can’t buy or withdraw. Opened a ticket and everything but radio silence after I followed instructions of waiting 14 days for an account review."

On the positive side, Coinbase has 749K reviews on Google Play with an average 4.1 star rating. The App Store is even better with 1.7M reviews and an average 4.7 stars. Overall, people say Coinbase is safe and easy to use, just don't expect low fees or helpful customer service.

Is Coinbase Worth It?

While Coinbase is the safest crypto exchange in the world, it has the highest fees in Canada (18 platforms tested). It also doesn't support Interac e-Transfers or Canadian trading pairs. Overall, there are better platforms in Canada, like NDAX, that are still safe but much cheaper.

Coinbase Alternatives

Coinbase has a wide selection of cryptocurrencies, a great UX, and amazing safety. However, its has the highest fees and limited support for $CAD. With that in mind, here are my best crypto exchanges in Canada after 30+ reviews:

NDAX.io

Out of 20+ platforms we tried, NDAX had the #1 lowest fee to buy Bitcoin in Canada. It's our top pick for 2024.

  • Lowest fees to buy Bitcoin
  • Free e-transfer deposits
  • Based in Canada
  • Low volume on some coins
  • Only 37 coins
Kraken

Kraken is fully regulated in Canada and offers 200+ cryptos, professional trading, and high liquidity. 

  • e-Transfers supported
  • Industry-leading security
  • Zero-fee staking
  • 0.16%/0.26% trading fees
  • Fiat withdrawal fees
BYDFi

If you want to trade altcoins, crypto futures and more without KYC, BYDFi is one of the top apps we found.

  • 450+ coins
  • No KYC, No VPN
  • Up to 200x Leverage
  • No $CAD supported
  • Beginner-friendly

FAQs

Is Coinbase Banned In Ontario?

Coinbase is not banned in Ontario. They are a fully compliant registered crypto asset trading platform with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

Is The Coinbase Credit Card In Canada?

The Coinbase Credit Card is not available for Canadian residents and no official release date has been announced. The card is available in 40+ counties, most of which are in Europe.

Is Coinbase Canadian?

No, Coinbase is an American cryptocurrency exchange that is available in over 100 counties, including Canada and Ontario.

Author

Alex is the owner of RankFi.com, where he covers all things finance, Web3, and cryptocurrency. He has been investing in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies since 2017.


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