Coinbase Pro Review 2023: Complete Exchange Overview
Coinbase is the most regulatory-friendly, largest and well-respected exchange in the US. Specializing in user-friendliness, Coinbase is a good choice for those looking to buy their first digital assets.
There are a few names in crypto that have become so recognized within the crypto industry that they are nearly synonymous with crypto itself. Anyone who holds crypto has probably heard of companies like Binance, Crypto.com, OKX, Kraken, and of course, Coinbase. If you are looking for a new, or additional crypto exchange, you have found a good place to start your search here with this Coinbase Pro review as Coinbase is one of the most reputable players in the space.
In this Coinbase Pro review, we will cover the company history, the platform features and functions, Coinbase Pro fees, Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro, Coinbase exchange security, and most importantly, whether or not Coinbase or Coinbase Pro is right for you.
We also have some comparison articles to help you narrow your search and find the exchange that is right for you:
And without further ado, let’s crack into Coinbase Pro.
Coinbase Pro Summary
|Headquarters:||No headquarters as of May 2020, previously, San Francisco, USA.|
Yes- Coinbase complies with all applicable laws and regulations in each jurisdiction where it operates.
-Money Transmission License
-Registered with FinCEN
|Spot Cryptocurrencies Listed:||140+|
Lowest: 0.04%/ 0.0%
Coinbase: Very Beginner Friendly
Coinbase Pro: Slight Learning Curve
|Fiat Currency Support:||USD, GBP, EUR|
USA Coinbase Pro: ACH Bank transfer and bank wire
USA Coinbase: Debit/Credit, bank account, wire transfer, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay
GBP Coinbase Pro: Faster Payments bank transfer
GBP Coinbase: SEPA, Faster Payments, 3D Secure Card, PayPal (withdraw only)
EUR Coinbase Pro: SEPA bank transfer
EUR Coinbase: SEPA, 3D Secure Card, Ideal/Sofort (deposit only) PayPal (withdraw only) Apple Pay (buy only)
Review: What is Coinbase Pro?
Coinbase is one of the oldest, most well-respected, and well-established crypto exchanges in the industry. They are the largest US exchange by trading volume, and second largest in the world after Binance.
Coinbase was also the first crypto exchange to go public and is known for being very regulation friendly, which makes them a favourite for many crypto traders and institutions. Coinbase had originally set up shop for its headquarters in San Francisco, but like many tech companies, has decided to become location independent with no established headquarters as the company establishes a stronger global presence.
With an already successful crypto platform for buying, selling and hodling crypto, Coinbase had a trading platform called GDAX for more serious traders who needed charting functionality and different options for order execution. Coinbase rebranded GDAX to Coinbase Pro in 2018.
Coinbase Pro is a trading platform for individual traders that offers a secure and easy way to buy, sell, and trade digital assets.
Coinbase Pro vs Coinbase
There seems to be quite a bit of confusion among users about what the difference is between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro, hopefully, this can help clear things up a bit.
Both exchanges are owned by Coinbase Global Inc, both let users use fiat to buy crypto, and both platforms can be accessed with the same login credentials on different platforms.
Coinbase is fantastic for beginners and many crypto veterans will likely tell you that they purchased their first crypto on Coinbase. The beauty is in its simplicity, no-frills, no fancy features, no difficult-to-navigate screens, just a clean, easy-to-use basic interface for simple buying, selling, holding, and swapping crypto assets.
More seasoned users and traders will opt to use Coinbase Pro for the advanced options, charting functionality, trading pairs, and lower fees. Users pay considerably more for the ease and simplicity of Coinbase, Coinbase Pro is much easier on the wallet once you learn how to navigate the platform.
|Main Features: Beginner-friendly. Buy, sell, send, receive, exchange and withdraw crypto. PayPal support.||Main Features: Advanced charting features and functionality. Buy, sell, deposit, withdraw, trade, stop order, limit order, market order, time in force order policies.|
|Fees: 0% to 0.60% per trade, 2.49% for card transactions and fees vary for bank deposits.||Fees: 0% to 0.5% per trade|
|Crypto Supported: 100+||Crypto Supported: 140+|
|Security Features: 2FA via SMS or Google Authenticator app. Cold storage and multi-signature wallets. USD balances are FDIC insured (up to $250k).||Security Features: 2FA via SMS or Google Authenticator app. Cold storage and multi-signature wallets. USD balances are FDIC insured (up to $250k). Whitelisting pre-approved addresses.|
While Coinbase is touted as being one of the most beginner-friendly exchanges, they also receive a lot of criticism for having significantly higher fees than most of its competitors. If you do choose to sign up with Coinbase, learning to use the Coinbase Pro interface will definitely help you save some bucks and stack some Sats.
Fortunately, Coinbase has handy help articles that teach users everything they need to know about How to Use Coinbase Pro.
Coinbase is also more than just an exchange, though it is outside the scope of this article, Coinbase offers the massively popular Coinbase wallet that has Dapp access, an NFT marketplace, integration with Opensea NFT marketplace via the Coinbase app, and enhanced Web 3 accessibility within the Coinbase app and wallet, while Coinbase Pro is simply used for trading crypto assets.
If you want to see how Coinbase Pro stacks up against other crypto exchanges, feel free to check out our Top Exchanges article where we break down the best exchanges in different categories to help you find the right one to fit your needs.
Coinbase Pro Exchange Key Features
First and foremost, the main feature is the Coinbase Pro trading exchange interface itself, which we will cover later on. For now, let’s cover the Coinbase Pro App and go over some specific features.
Coinbase Pro Mobile App
All the major exchanges these days have a mobile application to trade or manage your crypto on the go. While I am a big fan of crypto apps to manage crypto, at the Coin Bureau, we generally do not recommend using a mobile app as a primary trading tool.
The reason for this is that any professional trader will tell you that trading is no joke and should be taken seriously. You’ll likely never meet a successful trader who routinely trades from their mobile phone while watching Netflix or waiting in line at the grocery store. Mobile apps just have too small of a screen to perform proper technical analysis, and serious traders often have multiple screens and multiple tabs on those screens, swapping frequently to access important data, not something easily done from a single mobile device.
A professional trading setup normally looks something like this:
All that aside, the Coinbase Pro mobile app is a fantastic app, it is well built, clean, and easy to use. Note that Coinbase has two different apps, Coinbase app is for using the simplified Coinbase platform while the Coinbase Pro App is for accessing the Coinbase Pro trading exchange.
The Coinbase Pro mobile app is great for monitoring your positions on the go and performing basic trading activities. The app has great reviews on Google, scoring a 4.3 out of 5, and 4.7 out of 5 on the IOS App store. With over 200,000 combined reviews across both devices, I think it is safe to say you won’t be disappointed with the app.
Multiple Trade Options
Coinbase Pro offers enhanced control and options for cryptocurrency traders with multiple trade options. Here are the types of trade options that are available, which are not offered in the standard Coinbase platform:
- Market Order: This is an order that is placed at the market level and is executed almost immediately. It will be placed at the lowest “offer” if a buy or at the highest “bid” if a sell
- Limit Order: This is an order that is placed at a level that is away from the current market level at a predetermined price. This could be above the market price if a sell or below the price if a buy.
- Stop Order: These are essentially two opposing market orders that are placed at the same time. One will be to buy/sell and the other will be to stop out of the position. These are effective risk management tools that protect your position in the event of downside risk.
In addition to the types of orders, there are also more advanced options when it comes down to the “order life” of market orders. Here are the order life parameters:
- Good Till Cancelled (GTC): This is an order that will remain open until it is either executed or cancelled by you. If neither happens, it will remain on the books forever
- Good Till Time: This is a market order that will remain open but only for a specified period of time. At Coinbase Pro you can set this to one minute, one hour or one day
- Immediate or Cancel (IOC): With this order, it will execute all or part of the order immediately and will cancel the unfilled portion. This means that this type of order allows for “partial fills”
- Fill or Kill (FOK): With this type of order, the entire position should be executed at a particular price. If this cannot happen then the order is cancelled. This is different from the IOC order in that it does not allow for partial fills
Coinbase Pro allows users to adjust charting views to fit a trader’s preferences. Minute-by-minute trading, swapping between tick and candlesticks, and viewing exponential moving averages are accessible for each cryptocurrency pair.
The order forms are on the left where traders will be placing orders and sending them onto the exchange order books. Next to that, you have the order books themselves. This gives you an overview of all the buy/sell orders currently on the Coinbase Pro exchange as well as the spread between the two. When you place an order, you will see it be sent to these books.
As far as the charting functionality itself goes, Coinbase falls pretty flat here with limited functionality for those who like performing technical analysis.
Most exchanges such as Crypto.com, and Binance leverage the power of TradingView to provide a robust and feature-packed trading screen full of tools and options, while Coinbase Pro has extremely limited functionality and the only indicators available are the 12- and 26-day EMA. To be honest, it isn’t even worth using as you can’t even use trendlines, mark support and resistance areas, access RSI, Stochastics or any other common technical indicators.
If you are interested in learning more about how to trade, we happen to have an article that provides some great info about How to Perform Technical Analysis, and Guy also has a great video on TA tips and tricks:
Because of the limited charting functionality, most users who perform Coinbase Pro trading will use TradingView on another screen, and then execute their orders on Coinbase Pro to make up for the lack of features available on the Coinbase Pro platform.
Here is a look at the plethora of options and features on TradingView that makes TradingView better for charting than Coinbase Pro.
Back to Coinbase Pro. Under the Orders tab, traders will be able to see their open orders waiting to be filled, what trades have been filled, and the fees associated with each trade. This is the main place where traders will manage their trades and find important trading info such as:
- Size- The quantity of cryptocurrency for this order
- Filled- The quantity of this order that has been filled. Orders may be partially filled depending on market availability unless you use a Fill or Kill order
- Price- The price set for this trade in your local currency (eg: USD, GBP, EUR)
- Fee- The total fee for this trade in your local currency (eg: USD, GBP, EUR)
- Time- A timestamp for when this order was placed
- Product- What currency pair is set for this trade
- Status- The status of this trade. You can also use this field to cancel an unfilled order or the remaining unfilled part of an order
Coinbase Pro trading can also be done using a depth chart, which is another tool used to highlight the buyer vs seller activity, price, and volume for the trading pair selected.
Coinbase Pro: Portfolio Tab
Under the portfolio tab, users will be able to see the state of their portfolio in real-time, including what percentage of their portfolio is in what assets. This sort of insight into a portfolio can be helpful to make sure a trader’s asset allocation is in line with their investor and trader thesis. If you find that 90% of your asset allocation is in Shiba Inu or Safemoon, you may want to consider rebalancing.
Under the portfolio tab, users can also find deposit and withdrawal information, if there are any holds on orders and their available balance.
Coinbase Pro Fees:
One of the major differences between Coinbase and Coinbase pro is the fee structure. As mentioned, Coinbase is far more convenient, but users will pay a premium for that convenience. Users can save quite a bit in fees and get in at better prices by using Coinbase Pro instead.
In the interest of full transparency here, even Coinbase Pro is not the easiest on the wallet. I’ve often wondered how Coinbase was able to maintain its hold as the #2 cryptocurrency exchange for so long when they offer no additional usability from the competition while charging significantly higher fees for just about every action performed on the platform. It’s no wonder why they have been losing market share to competitors.
While we are on the topic of fees, for those looking to save as much as possible, exchanges like KuCoin, OKX and Binance are cost leaders in the space. For those thrifty traders looking to save their pennies, I recommend checking out our Binance Review, KuCoin Review, or OKX review.
Though I can’t beat up on Coinbase too bad for their fees, after all, there are millions of users worldwide who feel the fees are worth the price of using a world-class exchange that is US based and one of the most regulation-friendly exchanges in the world.
Coinbase Pro operates on a maker/taker fee model, meaning that there will be two rates depending on whether traders are creating liquidity on the exchange or whether they are taking liquidity off the books. Coinbase Pro trading fees are dependent on trading volume over a 30-day period and are as follows:
And here are the fees for depositing and withdrawing fiat:
Coinbase Pro KYC and Account Verification
As Coinbase is very regulation friendly and plays nicely with the authorities, full KYC and ID verification is mandatory for both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. For users who already have a Coinbase account, the same credentials will log you into Coinbase Pro, easy peasy.
If you are looking to open a new Coinbase Pro account, here is what the step-by-step process looks like:
- Navigate to the Coinbase Pro Sign-up page
- Enter your account details, including name and email address. Be sure to use your actual email as you will be asked to verify the email address.
- After verifying your email, you will be prompted to enter a phone number, you’ll be required to verify the phone number via SMS.
- Depending on your region, you will be asked for your name, date of birth, address, intent, source of funds, occupation, and employer. Blimey, next thing you know they’ll be asking for a list of your likes and dislikes, blood type, if you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain, and what your favourite starburst flavour is.
- Be sure to have your government-issued ID ready as you will be asked to upload it or take a photo of it. US and UK customers will need to complete an ID verification for documents and an ID verification for a profile. Other users will need to verify two IDs of different types, either a passport, driver’s license, or government-issued ID card.
- Once that laborious process is complete you can now link a bank account and start trading.
Coinbase Pro Security
As any good exchange should, Coinbase places a strong emphasis on security and safety of user funds. Coinbase goes above industry best practices and even provides institutional custodial services for other companies as they know a thing or two about how to keep funds secured.
Coinbase keeps 98% of funds in a cold storage, “air-gapped” environment where it is safe from hackers, and operates multi-signature wallets, meaning that these funds can only be accessed if a number of different individuals in the organization authorize the transaction.
Coinbase also has FDIC insurance on their USD accounts for up to $250,000, and users on the platform can utilize the following security features to further protect their accounts:
- Phone number verification
- Two-Factor Authentication for login and crypto transactions
- Minimum password complexity requirement
- Address book and whitelisting addresses
- Multi-Email required Crypto Storage Vault feature
Coinbase Vault is an interesting feature that I think is a fantastic security addition. This feature is ideal for users who want to store larger amounts of digital currency for the long term.
Withdrawals from the vault have a 48-hour time delay, users can require multiple approvers for withdrawals, and 2FA provides additional security for funds held in the vault.
Even with all these security measures in place, it is important to disclose that Coinbase did suffer a significant hack in May 2021, which resulted in over 6,000 customer accounts being drained of funds.
Coinbase did the right thing after the hack and reimbursed all lost customer funds, and have patched the issue and enhanced the platform's security protocols.
Cryptocurrencies Available on Coinbase Pro
Coinbase Pro has over 140 different cryptocurrency pairs available for trading, including the major coins and speculative plays like Doge and Shib. A full list can be found on the Coinbase Pro Markets page.
It is important to note that unlike most of Coinbase’s competitors, there is no margin/leverage trading allowed, and there are no derivatives/options/futures markets available for trading. Coinbase Pro users are restricted to simple spot pair trading. Binance, Bybit, KuCoin, OKX, and pretty much all the other major exchanges offer far better tradeable assets and market support.
Coinbase knows that they need to up its game here to remain competitive as they are quickly losing market share to other exchanges and the industry was shocked when competing exchange FTX surpassed them to take the #2 spot before its collapse. To make strides in the derivatives market, Coinbase has recently made an acquisition of FairX, which is a CFTC-regulated derivatives exchange.
This will allow Coinbase to offer more trading products like derivatives and open Coinbase Pro users to more tradable markets in the near future.
In all fairness, Coinbase moving at a turtle’s pace compared to their competitors isn’t entirely their fault. Remember that whole, "being regulation-friendly," thing we talked about earlier? This has been a double-edged blade for Coinbase as they need to be far more selective and careful in what products they can and cannot offer, and often need to wait for regulatory approval before moving forward as they are a publicly-traded company. We’ve all seen how slow regulation progress moves.
This was painfully highlighted by the fact that Coinbase approached the SEC in 2021, informing the regulator of their intention to launch earn products. The SEC’s childish response was a lawsuit threat, another ball and chain slowing down Coinbase. You know the saying, “it’s better to seek forgiveness than ask for permission”? Well, Coinbase chose to ask for permission first resulting in their competition beating them to market as Binance didn’t bother asking first.
Coinbase Pro Exchange Platform Design and Usability
The Coinbase Pro trading platform is okay for those who like simplicity and who have no need for charting or performing technical analysis. The order options are suitable for most average traders, and it is easy not to get overwhelmed by all the additional features available on other crypto exchanges.
Due to the platform being so simplistic, many Coinbase Pro users prefer using the Coinbase Pro app over the web platform, which has been designed very well.
Coinbase designed the Coinbase Pro trading platform to be quite ergonomic and user-friendly with everything traders need being conveniently placed on the main screen. As mentioned earlier, the Coinbase Pro exchange is not suitable for traders who need charting functionality and lacks the advanced order functionality found on other crypto exchanges.
Deposits and Withdrawals at Coinbase Pro
Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are both great options for fiat on and off-ramp support for users who use USD, GBP, or EUR. For users who want to avoid exchange rates and would like to use a different currency, I would recommend Binance as they support over 50 currencies.
For the currencies listed, here are the supported methods for deposits and withdrawals:
- USD- ACH transfers can be done for free for US residents. International customers can send USD bank wires via the SWIFT network, which comes with a $10 fee for deposit and $25 fee for withdrawal.
- GBP- Clients located anywhere can fund their account with GBP from a bank account using the Faster Payments network. Deposits are free, withdrawals cost 1 GBP.
- EUR- Clients located anywhere can fund their account with EUR from a bank account using SEPA transfers. This comes with a 0.15 EUR fee for both deposits and withdrawals.
Coinbase Pro Customer Support
Customer support is one of my favourite criteria to cover and I often feel it is an afterthought, which it definitely shouldn’t be! When you are dealing with money, or digital money, if something goes wrong and your trading platform decides to throw a temper tantrum, quick access to support can be the difference between losing a few dollars and losing everything.
Many traders don’t consider the importance of support until 💩 hits the fan, and by that time it may be too late.
I will borrow from a personal story here back from my trading days when I used to actively trade stocks, forex, commodities and crypto. I was using a platform, which shall remain unnamed, and was trading crude oil. I was scalping so I would often place a trade first quickly, then add in my stop-loss once the trade was open. The platform glitched and would not allow me to place a stop loss, or close my trade. Talk about a heart attack moment! Pretty sure I aged about a decade in those harrowing minutes.
The company had amazing support, I phoned them and within minutes they were able to go in and close my trade at my request. Ten minutes later the price of oil went far beyond where I would have placed my stop loss and I would have lost the entire value of my account if it wasn’t for the crack support team. Not all heroes wear capes, sometimes they sit on the other end of a telephone line.
So yeah, when trading, good customer support can be of the utmost importance, so how does Coinbase stack up?
Well… not brilliantly, to be honest. With all the fees they are charging customers, it would be nice to see them spend more on scaling and training support members. While most crypto exchanges have been blasted for poor customer support during the 2021 bull run as everyone was caught off-guard, many exchanges invested heavily into improving their support team while Coinbase repeatedly gets criticized for poor support year after year.
Coinbase Pro has pretty poor customer support access for the Pro exchange. While Coinbase support is okay, with contact methods being in-app chat support, email, online, and even phone support, support for Coinbase Pro can only be done by filling out their email support form. It would be nice to see them include things like chat and phone support for Coinbase Pro as well.
To their credit, Coinbase Pro has a very well-built out FAQ and self-help section that covers everything users need to know, so if you are someone who likes to help yourself and find your own answers, this is something Coinbase did pretty well.
This may be a bit petty on my part to point this out, but I found this incredibly frustrating when doing my research for this article. If anyone from Coinbase is reading this, you guys seriously need to sort out your indexing and search algorithm on the help site, I don't want to play Where's Waldo when searching for simple answers
I would search “withdrawal fees” and receive articles on the Coinbase card and direct deposit, but no articles on withdrawal fees at all. I searched “how to open an account” and was directed to an article about crypto taxes. Searching “fiat fees” took me to articles about ordering the Coinbase card for EU and UK residents, and this went on and on… So, pro-tip for anyone trying to find Coinbase help articles, search in Google for them instead as Google does a better job finding the articles than searching the Coinbase help site.
Coinbase Pro Top Benefits Reviewed
What Coinbase Pro Does Well
Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are both experts in onboarding those new to crypto and bringing them into the space. They are very beginner-friendly; simplicity and ease of use are built into everything they develop. Users can also sleep sound at night knowing their funds are held at one of the most reputable and regulated exchanges in the world, no need to worry about Uncle Sam coming door-kicking for trading crypto there.
What can be Improved
In case it wasn’t already obvious, Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are not my favourite platforms. In fact, most veteran crypto users I speak to tell a similar story of how Coinbase was like their exchange with training wheels before they graduated onto more robust, feature-filled (and cheaper) platforms.
I was a user of Binance and KuCoin long before opening a Coinbase account to see what the attraction was. I felt like I was missing something as Coinbase offers far less, but charges far more. After trying them out and exploring the platform, I closed my account and never regretted it.
Here is what I mean, when we look at Binance compared to Coinbase, Binance offers way more in terms of products and features (rectangles in red), and they have substantially lower fees on average.
Coinbase needs to up their game on features and should consider lowering their fees if they want to remain competitive. Lack of features and product offerings is something they are aware of and are working on. The Coinbase Pro exchange is also not suitable for serious traders as it lacks the features of a fully functional trading platform. They should look to create a more robust trading interface or add a TradingView integration to match the utility of other exchanges.
If we again compare Binance to Coinbase Pro, you will see what I mean. Features are highlighted in yellow:
In Coinbase’s defence, they are making good progress on this front. They have built out new platforms and features for the main platform and have really beefed up their Web 3 and Dapp support for the Coinbase wallet. With the acquisition of FairX, hopefully, they will be able to offer more trading products to make their Pro exchange as good as other exchanges.
Coinbase is dedicated to advancing not just themselves, but the crypto industry as a whole and I applaud them for that. Even though I am not a fan of the platform, we all owe the Coinbase team and CEO Brian Armstrong a debt of gratitude for all the good they are doing in the crypto space, tirelessly meeting with regulators to help guide crypto regulation, and for their work with the Crypto Council for Innovation.
Coinbase Pro Review Conclusion
Coinbase was one of the first and remains one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world for good reason. There is no safer nor more reputable and well-respected exchange in the industry. No other major exchange comes close to being as specialized in beginner-friendliness and simplicity.
Though resting on these laurels will only get them so far and the platform has a lot of work to do if they are going to remain competitive and stop its dwindling user base and trading volume. Offering fewer products, features, markets, assets, functionality, and usability while charging more in fees is never a sustainable recipe for long-term success.
If we were to compare crypto exchanges to the fabled race between the tortoise and the hare, exchanges like OKX, Binance, and KuCoin may be akin to the hare, while Coinbase remains the tortoise. Seriously, check out what OKX is doing with MetaX, GameFi, and NFTs, pretty cool stuff!
But, just because Coinbase may lack many of the features and functions of their competitors now, they are aggressively developing and innovating and I would not be surprised if a decade from now, slow and steady wins the race.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Crypto users will often echo my sentiment in saying Coinbase is the best platform for beginners. Coinbase is one of the easiest and most convenient platforms, while Coinbase Pro Exchange is easier to use than most other crypto exchanges.
Yes. Coinbase is the only publicly traded crypto exchange. It is fully compliant and regulated by the authorities in the jurisdictions in which they operate.
It is of my opinion and most users in the crypto space that Coinbase Pro is not better than Binance. Binance is by far the largest crypto exchange in the world by users and volume for a reason. Binance offers far more functions, features, markets, assets, and products, not to mention offers substantially superior trading products including leverage, options, and futures.
Binance also has a more functional trading platform. They have their own designed trading screen, or users can choose one powered by TradingView that is built right into the exchange for ultimate convenience. The Coinbase Pro exchange lacks the functionality needed for day trading.
Coinbase Pro cannot be accessed directly from within the Coinbase platform, but don’t worry, it is very easy to access. If you already have a Coinbase account then the hard work is already done in terms of ID verification and KYC. Simply sign up for a Coinbase Pro account using the same credentials as your Coinbase account, and the two accounts will automatically be linked. Users can switch back and forth seamlessly between the two.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.