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Coinbase Pro vs. Coinbase: Everything You Need to Know

If you are getting into cryptocurrency and heard of Coinbase, you should know about its forms. Here is everything to know about Coinbase Pro vs. Coinbase.

  • Dean Fankhauser
  • Posted
  • Read Time9 minutes
  • Our Coinbase Pro score
  • Our Coinbase score
  • Coinbase ProCoinbase Pro
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Coinbase Pro vs Coinbase

PlatformFeaturesEase of useSecuritySupportReputationFeesOverall
Coinbase Pro4453534

Coinbase remains many beginners' one-stop-shop for purchasing Bitcoin. Since its founding in 2012, it has expanded to become one of the giants in the crypto world. Yet, it offers a simplified platform that's easy to navigate for those new to the crypto-sphere. 

The platform boasts millions of users and has earned a reputation for having one of the most trusted platforms in the world. Readily available to residents of the United States, Coinbase lists its most popular quotes in USD. 

But what many people don't realize is that Coinbase also has a professional trading platform known as Coinbase Pro. Formerly known as GDAX, it rebranded in 2018. When compared, how do Coinbase Pro vs. Coinbase match up?

Keep reading for a full comparison of these two platforms so that you can find the right one for you.

About Coinbase 

Coinbase was founded by Brian Armstrong in 2011. It's considered one of the leaders in the industry, and a primary mover when it comes to new crypto adoption levels. Other platforms have focused on becoming decentralized (DEX) but not Coinbase. 

Instead the platform has secured its niche as the best on-ramp for newcomers to cryptos. As a result, the platform prides itself on being user-friendly while boasting advanced security settings. 

Let's take a closer look at how Coinbase works. As the leading crypto exchange for the mainstream user, Coinbase has become an essential introduction to the altcoin financial world for many investors new to cryptos.

The platform has a solid coin count with more than 25 cryptos for trading, investment, and staking.

Coinbase's interface lives up to its reputation for ease of use. Signing up and buying cryptos both prove streamlined and can happen in mere minutes. The platform also has boasts educational resources that incentivize continued education by paying users.

When compared to other exchanges, Coinbase always ranks at the top when it comes to high liquidity. This status keeps investors shielded from a volatile market and price slippage. 

About Coinbase Pro

While the Coinbase name change has brought increased interest to the platform formerly known as GDAX, it's also led to unfortunate confusion. Both exchanges often get referred to simply as "Coinbase." 

What is Coinbase Pro? The company's exchange that permits users to set up advanced order types, including limit orders, market orders, and stop orders. You can save money while buying and selling by using the "limit order" option to avoid transaction fees.

Aren't these features standard to many crypto exchanges? Yes. But Coinbase made the decision to only include them on the "pro" version in order to keep their introductory platform straightforward and simple. 

Like Coinbase, you can access Coinbase Pro from either your laptop or the Coinbase Pro mobile app. The app features everything you expect from an advanced trading platform, all at the convenience of your fingertips. 

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How Coinbase Works

Coinbase can be accessed in two ways, its website and its platform. Both emphasize ease of use, proving streamlined and intuitive. 

To trade on Coinbase, you'll click "buy" or "trade." From there, you'll move to a screen where you get to make choices about whether you're buying or selling, which assets you'll be using, and the amount you're transacting in USD. 

How Coinbase Pro Works

What is trading like on Coinbase Pro? You'll find it's quite similar to the Coinbase interface. Start by selecting "asset." 

Head to "buy" or "sell," and then enter the amount you'd like to invest. That said, one of the major differences is that you can specify an order type. Otherwise, the app will default to the Market.

What happens if you choose to leave the default Market? Your order will behave like one in Coinbase, finding the best available price on the market selected. That said, you stand to save significant money by trading outside of the Coinbase Market. 

Trading Bitcoin on Coinbase

How does trading on Bitcoin work? Start by deciding on a USD amount that you'd like spend on Bitcoin. Next, you'll see a displayed price via Coinbase. 

How do prices on Coinbase Market compare to those of other markets? They comes with a markup of roughly 0.50 percent. While eating this cost might seem worthwhile for the simplicity and convenience of the exchange, other fees await you.

Suppose you choose to use a credit card to purchase your Coinbase. Again, this is a refreshingly convenient option, especially for crypto newbies. But you'll end up paying a "Coinbase fee" of 4.0 percent.

That's nearly $20 on a $500 Bitcoin transaction! (Learn more about Bitcoin here.) But the money bleed doesn't stop there.

Imagine your Bitcoin assets appreciate by 10 percent, and you sell your crypto-assets. You'll face nine percent in total fees, leaving you with a measly one percent in profits. 

Coinbase makes out like a bandit, seizing 90 percent of the revenue while you stomach 100 percent of the risk. (Check out our crypto calculators now.)

What's a better way to trade on Coinbase? If you're looking for a less costly venture, fund your wallet from your USD bank account. The company will a 1.5 percent fee, pocketing 40 percent of your revenues in the case above. 

All of these restrictions and fees are outlined in the fine print on Coinbase's website. But many people still fall victim to this "death by a thousand cuts." 

Trading Bitcoin on Coinbase Pro

How does trading Bitcoin on Coinbase Pro compare? Like its simplified counterpart, Coinbase Pro makes trading a cinch. But you'll also gain access to more charts and data.

If you're new to the platform, ignore these for now. As in the previous example, if you got through the default Market, you'll see the same results. 

What makes Coinbase Pro better? The fact you can opt for other markets. These usually have fees below 0.5 percent. You can also trade crypto-to-crypto pairs like Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

There's a caveat to all of this, though. Other exchanges often advertise impossibly low rates, While you might enthusiastically jump on one of these offers, you'll need to pay attention to the fine print here, too. Small traders ultimately pay much higher fees than those advertised.

Coinbase Pro allows margin trading of up to three times on USD pairs. You can short or long Bitcoin and other cryptos. How? By borrowing funds from the exchange. 

Remember that there are many excellent alternatives to Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. Some, like Binance and Kraken, come with much more affordable fees. Explore the world of options available to you when it comes to selecting a platform. 

The Pros and Cons of Coinbase

While Coinbase represents an excellent springboard into the crypto world, users end up paying for this convenience and simplicity. That said, it remains a great platform for managing crypto funds.

It also comes with an excellent mobile application that's easy-to-use. The app provides you with everything you need to monitor crypto values. You can also send or receive coins with ease.

You'll also enjoy two-factor security practices that prevent scammers and hackers from illegitimately accessing your wallet and funds. That means peace of mind, especially for those relatively new to dealing in altcoins.

As for the disadvantages of using Coinbase, the fees charged by the platform add up rapidly. They prove quite high as compared to other platforms within the industry.

Because of the massive number of users on Coinbase, customer service also represents a significant problem. You'll find it frustrating to get in touch with a living, breathing human being. This lack of responsiveness proves especially frustrating since your concerns are money-related.  

The Pros and Cons of Coinbase Pro

What are the benefits of Coinbase Pro?

Coinbase Pro is designed for advanced traders. That said, it's also a fantastic way to avoid the regular fees charged by Coinbase. These fees can add up quickly, and they sit well above those of other companies, so it's worth your while to circumvent them.

If you rely on your credit or debit card for most crypto transactions, making the switch from Coinbase to Coinbase Pro is especially important. Ultimately, wiring your fiat currency to Coinbase Wallet and then transacting in Coinbase Pro will save you the most money. 

Just know you'll have to plan ahead. Transactions will take a little longer to go through. 

Like Coinbase, you'll also have to deal with less-than-stellar customer service. Getting the help you need takes time, although Coinbase has assured customers they're working to remedy the current situation.

Nevertheless, the best way to avoid dealing with customer service is to avoid making mistakes in the first place. While easier said than done, the following tips will help.

Always double-check that any funds you're depositing are going into the correct wallet address in the correct crypto. As for deposits and withdrawals? We recommend small test transactions to make sure everything looks okay before a bigger transaction. 

Coinbase Pro vs. Coinbase: The Takeaway

Coinbase owns Coinbase Pro, and you'll enjoy free access to both platforms when you sign up and create an account.

But Coinbase ultimately proves more akin to a mix between a brokerage and a crypto wallet. You can also buy and sell digital currencies from the platform utilizing fiat currency. 

As for Coinbase Pro, it operates as an exchange. The platform lets investors sell and buy from one another. Overall, you'll also find a wider range of cryptos supported by Coinbase Pro. 

That said, you can use your Coinbase credentials to sign into Coinbase Pro. If you opt to store funds in your wallet, know that they'll be insured for a maximum of $25,000 by the FDIC. This applies whether you're using Coinbase or Coinbase Pro. 

Buying and Selling Cryptocurrencies

When it comes to a new foray into the world of cryptos, nothing beats the ease-of-use provided by Coinbase. Whether you take or leave the fees, the platform has definitely done its job when it comes to creating a simplified, streamlined interface. 

That said, if you'd like to duck out on the exorbitant fees, particularly when it comes to credit and debit cards, then Coinbase Pro represents the better option. That said, don't let all of the bells and whistles associated with this platform overwhelm you.

Working in Coinbase Pro will also provide you with exposure to the Maker-Taker Module. The platform uses this module to decide how much to charge users in trading fees. That means you'll pay between 0 and 0.5 percent per transaction. 

What you ultimately pay will depend on the number of transactions you're involved in each month. When transacting as a maker, you'll be the individual approaching others with an offer. That means you're contributing to the booking order.

You must select a buying price that's less than the limit order selling price. And you'll pay a maker fee to do this.

However, if you bite on a trade that's already in the order book, you're a taker. You'll pay a taker's fee for your transaction. Maker fees are lower than taker fees. Remember that these fees may always be applied to buy or sell orders, and you may even see a mix of both.


Diving into the Crypto World

As you can see, deciding between Coinbase Pro vs Coinbase depends on a variety of factors. These include how confident you feel navigating a complex interface like Coinbase Pro. That said, if you can't stand the thought of extra fee charges, you might eschew the ease of Coinbase for its more advanced platform. 

Of course, both of these sites mark just the start when it comes to diving into the exciting world of cryptocurrency. When you find the right exchange for you unique needs, not only will you watch your money grow, you'll gain knowledge in the process.

Are you ready to find out more about the wide world of crypto platforms? Check out our reviewscovering a wide selection of platforms.

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