What is the Coinbase Digital Currency Exchange and Is It Right For You?

Coinbase is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States by trading volume. Here’s what you need to know.

Founded in mid-2012, Coinbase is a digital currency exchange available in 32 countries around the globe. It brokers exchanges of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litcoin, Ethereum, and others. Here’s more about the company and why you should consider using it to trade.

What is Coinbase?

Coinbase logo

Considered the leading mainstream cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, Coinbase features a range of products, including cryptocurrency investing, an advanced trading platform, custodial accounts for institutions, a wallet for retail investors, and its own U.S. dollar stable-coin. Fully regulated, the company first got its start trading Bitcoin. However, it quickly added additional digital currencies as the overall market continued to grow. To date, the online broker offers over 30 cryptocurrencies for investment, trading, and staking.

To date, Coinbase users can trade these cryptocurrencies: Cosmos, Algorand, Band Protocol, Basic Attention Token, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Satoshi Vision, Celo, Compound, Dai, Dash, EOS, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Kyber Network, Chainlink, Loopring, Litecoin, Maker, Numeraire, OMG Network, Orchid, Augur, Stablecoin, UMA, Uniswap, Stellar Lumens, Ripple, Tezos, yearn.finance, Zcash, and 0x.

Further, a Pro membership adds trading for Civic, district0x, Golem, Loom, and Decentraland. It includes a different fee schedule and includes advanced functions and trade abilities. 


For trades, the San Francisco-based company charges fees based on the total trade amount and payment type. Fees range from 0.5% and 4.5%. You can make payments through ACH, a U.S. bank account, your Coinbase wallet, Debit card, or wire transfer.

With Coinbase Pro, fees are based on your monthly trading volume and the asset’s liquidity at the time of purchase. Purchases and withdrawals are only available through a bank account, and wire transfer fees apply. Coinbase transactions can range from $2 to $25,000 per day; those using Coinbase Pro have a withdrawal limit of $25,000 per day.

Like other investment opportunities, neither the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) protects trades made in cryptocurrency exchanges. Therefore, understand your entire investment is dependent on what happens in the market. In other words, you could lose your entire investment.


Coinbase operates in 42 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It’s not currently available in California, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Coinbase: Security

In terms of securing your investment, Coinbase has implemented various safeguards. First, it stores up to 97% of bitcoins in encrypted, geographically separated, offline storage. Additionally, bitcoins stored in online computers are insured.

Coinbase explains:

Coinbase prioritizes the security of our customer’s digital currency through a combination of online “hot storage” and offline “cold” storage. Coinbase maintains 98% or more of customer digital currency in cold storage, with the remainder in secure hot servers as necessary to serve the liquidity needs of our customers. All digital currency that Coinbase holds in its online hot storage is insured. If Coinbase were to suffer a breach of its online hot storage, the insurance policy would pay out to cover any customer funds lost as a result.

And yet, the company also notes the insurance doesn’t cover breaches to individual Coinbase accounts. Instead, it only covers losses related to physical security, cybersecurity, or employee theft.

It is your responsibility to use a strong password and maintain control of all login credentials you use to access Coinbase.

Should You Trade in Cryptocurrency?

Several factors will determine whether digital currency trading is for you. However, the biggest question to ask is whether you want to put your money into something highly speculative and known for its volatility. For more information, be sure to read our Beginner’s Guide To Using The Cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Learning more about blockchain is also recommended.

Regardless, if you decide to invest in cryptocurrency, Coinbase is a great way to do so. It’s been around for many years and is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States by trading volume. Additionally, it’s also one of the top crypto exchanges in the world by traffic, liquidity, and trading volumes, according to the market research website, CoinMarketCap.com.

Time to Start

To get started, visit the Coinbase website, then create a free account using your name, email address, and user-created password. After verifying your email address, you must enter a verification code sent to your phone, which you’ll need to enter on the website to sign in to your new account. From there, fund your account, and then your cryptocurrency journey can begin!

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