What Is Coinbase?
Coinbase is one of the world's most famous crypto exchanges and has been around since 2012. Canadians 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.
It's a public company in the US (NASDAQ: COIN) and very well trusted. However, it's not perfect for Canadians because of the high fees and limited ways to deposit and withdraw Canadian Dollars. More on this below.
Pros and Cons
Things To Know
Key Benefits & Features
Other Coinbase Features
While the key features are mentioned above, here is a non-exhaustive list of the entire Coinbase ecosystem:
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.
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 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.
Fees & Spread
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.
My test showed that 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.
Overall, Coinbase is one of the most expensive platforms. You can get zero trading fees on beginner trading with a $30/month Coinbase One subscription. However, you can buy crypto much cheaper without having to pay $30/month. Just use NDAX or see the cheapest Canadian exchanges here.
Advanced Trading Fee
0.40% maker 0.60% taker
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
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 makes Coinbase Canada more difficult than some other platforms. The fees are also high.
To cash out, Coinbase Canada only allows withdrawals via PayPal or cryptocurrencies. If you are considering whether you should use Coinbase, keep in mind that it's harder to cash out CAD than other exchanges.
Coinbase checks nearly all of the boxes when it comes to security, 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
User Security Features
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.
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. For these reasons, there are better platforms to buy crypto in Canada cheaply that are also safe.
I tested 20+ crypto exchanges and NDAX is my top pick in Canada. Here's my NDAX review or try it here to get $10 free when you deposit $100. You can also sign up for an altcoin exchange to access thousands of coins.
Coinbase has a wide selection of cryptocurrencies, a great UX, and amazing safety. However, it also has high fees and isn't great for Canadian Dollars. With that in mind, I tested over 20 crypto exchanges and here are my best crypto exchanges in Canada right now:
Is Coinbase Banned In Ontario?
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.