Coinbase is a popular cryptocurrency exchange that has been around since 2012. It is one of the most trusted and reputable exchanges in the world, and provides a variety of services, including an online wallet service, a digital currency brokerage, and even some basic educational resources for newbies to crypto. While Coinbase has been the go-to platform for many beginner and pro-traders over the last few years, there are various other options available.
In this article we will examine some alternatives to Coinbase so that you can choose the best platform for your crypto needs.
What is Coinbase?
Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange, but it’s also much more than that. It offers its own Bitcoin wallet and API keys to third-party apps so they can take advantage of the company’s services without having their own accounts. Coinbase has been designed for both new users and experienced traders alike with an intuitive design to help you easily start investing in Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Unlike some exchanges which only offer trading pairs between two cryptocurrencies, Coinbase offers many different currencies like Ripple, Litecoin, and Zcash etc. Along with its easy to use interface, this has made it one of the most used platforms for beginners who are looking for an easier way into crypto than just investing money into a single currency. One major plus of Coinbase is that it is available for both Android and iOS, which makes the whole trading process a lot easier.
Main Features and Benefits of Coinbase
- Multiple currencies available to exchange.
- Free storage that lets you access your funds from anywhere in the world.
- No additional software required.
- Simple, easy-to-use interface and functions.
- Highest levels of security.
- No need for an additional wallet.
Downsides to Coinbase
Coinbase has a number of downsides that potential customers should be aware of:
First of all, it is difficult to get verified with Coinbase and the verification process can take several weeks. Customers may also find themselves unable to buy certain cryptocurrencies through Coinbase because they are not listed on their exchange (for example Ripple).
The fees for exchanging cryptocurrency via Coinbase can cost anywhere from one percent for bank transfers, four percent for credit cards, or seven percent plus thirty-six cents per transaction if you use PayPal. If using an American Express card, then there are no additional charges but this does come at the expense of reduced liquidity as only Bitcoin via Amex.
Furthermore, withdrawals from Coinbase typically incur a fee amounting up to $300.
Coinbase is a regulated institution which may be appealing to some customers but it also means that cryptocurrencies are not immune from the scrutiny of government agencies.
Finally,Coinbase could close your account at any time for violating their terms of service or if they suspect you’re using them to commit fraud (remember, Bitcoin transactions can be quite anonymous).
Kraken is a US based cryptocurrency exchange that operates worldwide. It offers trading of different cryptocurrencies and some fiat currencies, as well as leveraged margin trading on selected pairs with short-term financing rates. Kraken also settles trades in Euros, USDs, British Pounds and Japanese Yen (JPY).
- Availability of advanced order types to fit any market scenario – Stop loss orders are a protective measure against major drops; fill or kill limits allow rapid entry into positions at pre-determined prices; limit orders let you set a specific price at which to buy or sell and wait for the market to hit that point before executing your trade.
- Margin trading – Kraken offers up to 100x leverage on cryptocurrency trades, meaning you can control large amounts of digital coins with very little fiat money down.
- Short-term financing rates – This means that traders don’t have to maintain their position until settlement periods are over.
Disadvantages of Kraken
- Intrusive verification process – Requires at least one form of government-issued ID and a document showing proof of address.
- Complaints of slow or ineffective customer support – Some reports indicate that customer service takes days or even weeks just to respond.
- Slow sign-up – Some new users have had to wait two weeks just to have their account verified.
ZenGo is a cryptocurrency exchange that aims to provide the best customer service possible. There are many things this company does differently than other exchanges, such as not charging any deposit fees and offering its own token – ZNGO tokens (ZNX). Furthermore, the company offers a referral program, and pays you for referring your friends and family to ZenGo.
- The ability to trade in over 180 global markets – This includes stocks and commodities like gold or silver.
- No deposit fees – Can potentially save users a lot of money.
- 24-hour customer service – Widely considered to be one of the best across all crypto platforms.
- No mobile app – This may cause potential security issues with users required to enter sensitive information on their personal computer.
- The website sometimes crashes when new coins get listed – This can be frustrating if you need quick access to your funds at all times.
- ZNGO tokens (ZNX) are limited – Users can purchase them at a discount with fiat currency through the ZenGo exchange only.
Gemini is a US-based exchange which was founded in 2015. Gemini trades Bitcoin and Ethereum with fiat currencies USD, CAD, EUR, GBP and JPY as well as other cryptocurrencies such as Zcash (ZEC) and Litecoin (LTC). It primarily operates off the U.S. dollar though it also offers some trading pairs against other currencies such as Euros or Canadian Dollars. This is particularly useful for qualified customers outside of the United States where there may be more favorable tax conditions. Gemini enables users to deposit money using credit and debit cards, and also by wire transfer. This means you won’t need to verify your account before you start trading in cryptocurrencies.
- Wide variety of currencies available for trade – Gemini supports USD, CAD, EUR, GBP and JPY as well as other fiat currencies.
- Easy, streamlined process for trading crypto against fiat – The most time consuming aspect of this is waiting on verification from your bank or card issuer before deposits can be made.
- High liquidity – There are always many buyers and sellers so it’s easy to find a fair price for your purchase or sale.
- No deposit fees – You can trade and transfer into and out of your Gemini account without paying any fee.
- Complicated interface for novice traders – There are many tabs, icons, menus and options that can make the site difficult to use if you’re not familiar with it.
- Limits to the types of coins you can trade – Gemini only trades in Bitcoin, Ethereum and other “traditional” currencies such as USD or EUR.
- No crypto withdrawal options – This can be a major inconvenience if you want to take your funds out.
Bitcoin IRA is an online brokerage service that allows you to buy and sell bitcoin in a self-directed individual retirement account. There are no investment minimums to get started with Bitcoin IRA and you can buy fractional shares starting as low as $25 per share (approximately 0.0016 BTC). Bitcoin IRA enables you to purchase cryptocurrencies without needing someone else to trade on your behalf. This results in lower fees for buying shares than through traditional brokers because there are no trading commissions. In addition, Bitcoin IRA offers a competitive pricing structure for those who buy and hold their investments.
- You can set up your own portfolio or choose a pre-made portfolio – There are various pre-made ones available for different levels of risk tolerance, ranging from conservative to aggressive investments.
- No trading commissions – You can invest as much or as little in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as you like with no hidden fees.
- Fractional shares available for purchase – This makes it possible to buy less than one whole Bitcoin if you’re not quite ready to commit.
- No mobile app – This may make it more difficult to access your funds on the go.
- The company is still new and unproven – There is always the (exceedingly) remote possibility that the service could go under leaving all user data and holdings inaccessible.
- Investments limited to cryptocurrencies – Self-directed IRAs cannot hold cash or bonds.
Robinhood is a mobile trading platform for multiple cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum. It offers commission-free crypto trades with no fees on either sell or buy orders, as well as instant deposits to your account. It’s also possible to trade stocks on Robinhood which is not the case for most other exchanges. Robinhood is ideal for beginners who want to get into trading in cryptocurrencies because it is so simple and doesn’t have a ton of confusing options.
- No fees on trades – This allows traders to make more money because they don’t need to pay commission when buying or selling cryptocurrencies.
- Instant deposits – Funds deposited into your account are available for trading immediately, as opposed to waiting several business days for the deposit to clear.
- Mobile app – This makes it possible to trade crypto on the go.
- No mobile app and limited trading hours – Robinhood is a day trader’s best friend, but it doesn’t have an Android or iOS app which makes it difficult for users outside of the US.
- Lack of security features – No two factor authentication, SMS text messages, or USB keys to save private information from hackers.
- No coins other than Bitcoin and Ethereum – If you’re looking for a platform that lets you trade in Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Monero (XMR) or any other kind of cryptocurrency, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
FTX is a crypto trading platform, designed to help traders avoid many of the risks and challenges that come when they trade on other exchanges. FTX supports numerous currencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP) and Litecoin (LTC). The exchange has a user-friendly interface and offers an auto-trading system for beginners who want help in making decisions about which cryptocurrencies to buy or sell. It also provides users with real time market data updates, as well as price notifications via SMS. In addition, FTX offers comprehensive customer service to help traders resolve any issues that might arise.
- Fees are cheaper – Prices for buying and selling on FTX are comparable to those of Coinbase, but fees for trading higher volumes are much lower.
- Easy to use interface – The app is designed with simplicity in mind; it’s not cluttered with too many features that can confuse newer traders.
- Instant deposits – While this may not be as important if you already have the cryptocurrency you want to trade, others may find it useful for not having to wait hours or days before their deposit can be used.
- Lacks some advanced features – The lack of margin trading, shorting and other more advanced tools means FTX may not be suitable for the most experienced traders.
- No fiat deposits – This is a problem if you don’t own any cryptocurrency already as your only option becomes to buy on another platform like Coinbase or Gemini.
- Theft risk with third-party management service – If someone steals the password from your account, they have access to all of your money too because FTX uses a third party company to manage its accounts.
To Sum Up
At the end of the day, when it comes to crypto trading platforms, there is no one-size-fits-all option. The perfect platform for you may be totally unsuitable for somebody else so the best thing is to try out a few options and see which offers you the most benefits and the best user experience. Most platforms offer a trial so you can get a feel for their interfaces and check the effectiveness of the different features. The platforms in this article are some of the most popular and commonly used on the market today, so they are a good reference point, especially if you are new to crypto. Happy trading!