Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX) is the advanced cryptocurrency trading platform that is owned and operated by Coinbase.
Apart from a much more extensive coin selection, traders on this platform can trade with more sophisticated systems. Coinbase Pro operates like a more traditional “exchange” with real order books and market liquidity.
However, is it really worth it?
In this Coinbase Pro review, we will give you everything that you need to know about this exchange. We will also give you some top tips to make the most of the trading platform.
As mentioned, Coinbase Pro used to be called “GDAX” and was the advanced trading platform that was operated by Coinbase. In 2018, the exchange was re-branded to “Coinbase Pro”.
Coinbase is well known to nearly every cryptocurrency trader in the world and was one of the early exchanges. They opened their books to the market in June of 2013 and have only grown since then.
Based in San Francisco, Coinbase has over 20 million users that have traded over $150bn since the exchange opened its doors. They have also expanded into numerous countries around the world and have easy fiat currency on-boarding in the US, UK and EU.
Coinbase Pro was built to tap the large and lucrative crypto-to-crypto trading market. Traders can trade a number of different coins using market order books. This is different from Coinbase where you are buying directly from the exchange as the market maker.
Despite the more advanced platform, Coinbase Pro operates off the same technological infrastructure and expertise that runs Coinbase.
This point ties in nicely with our next question…
Is Coinbase Pro Safe?
Coinbase Pro has exactly the same security procedures that are in place at Coinbase. This means that traders are benefiting from years of experience from the developers running a security system that is battle tested.
It also means that Coinbase Pro has much of the same regulatory oversight as Coinbase. Let’s take a closer look into all of these.
Coinbase Pro operates a cold storage policy for the bulk of the coins that they hold. Over 98% of all the coins at Coinbase Pro are stored in offline wallets that are “air-gapped” disconnected from the internet.
They also operate multi-signature wallets. This means that coins can only be taken from the cold storage if a number of different individuals in the organisation authorise the transaction.
Something else that Coinbase Pro has that is not available at many other exchanges is FDIC insurance on their USD accounts. This is something that banks usually have to protect their clients.
FDIC insurance means that traders with USD balances below $250,000 are federally insured by the US government. If Coinbase Pro was to go under then you would be reimbursed by the US government for the balance.
There are also a host of security procedures that they have to protect individual accounts. Firstly, you have two factor authentication that is required by default on your account. This will protect you from phishing.
There are two methods that you can use for two factor authentication and this is either through SMS verification or through Google’s authenticator app. We would recommend the latter given the risk that has been posed by sim swapping.
Coinbase Pro 2FA and Authenticator App
On the wallet side, Coinbase Pro also lets you white label your cryptocurrency addresses. This means that you can only withdraw to certain pre-approved cryptocurrency addresses.
Below are some of the additional coins on Coinbase Pro with full trading enabled:
There are also a number of other smaller altcoins that you can trade on but there may be restrictions on the type of trading that you can do (Limit orders only). You can see the live status of all the markets in their market page.
Market Status Overview at Coinbase Pro
There are also a number of different markets for all of the coins listed above. For example, you have the standard fiat markets of USD, EUR and GBP. Then, you also have the coins crossed with BTC and further ones that have been crossed with USDC, Coinbase’s stablecoin.
Coinbase Pro Fees
One major difference between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro is the trading fee structure.
Coinbase Pro operates a maker-taker fee model. This means that there will be two rates dependent on whether you are creating liquidity on the exchange or whether you are taking liquidity off their books.
Because Coinbase Pro wants to incentivise their traders to make liquidity on the books, the maker fee is less than the taker fee. There are also different fees that apply based on the volume that you have traded. Below is a simplified fee table:
|30 Day Volume||Taker Fee||Maker Fee|
|Up to $100k||0.25%||0.15%|
|$100k – $1m||0.20%||0.10%|
|$1m – $10m||0.18%||0.08%|
|$10m – $50m||0.15%||0.05%|
|$50m – $100m||0.10%||0.00%|
As you can see, the more volume that you trade, the lower the fees you are charged. The volume above is calculated based on your previous 30 days USD trading volume on a rolling basis.
If you wanted to see the fees that you have been paying on your transactions then you can view them in your account dashboard. You would head on over to the “My Orders” section where you will have your previous orders as well as what you paid on them.
Something else we found quite handy was the ability for you to quickly generate statements of all of your past trades. This is done in the profile section of your account and these documents could be used for administrative purposes like taxes etc.
Funding / Withdrawal
When it comes to funding / withdrawing from your account then you will pay the same fees that are charged at the Coinbase main exchange.
For example, when funding via a credit card, you are charged a 3.99% fee. Funding via wire is free but withdrawing via wire will incur a £1 fee for GBP bank accounts and a €1 on EUR accounts.
Of course, when it comes to cryptocurrency withdrawals, you will have to pay the network or “miner” fees. These are really quite insignificant though.
Coinbase Pro Countries
Coinbase Pro is available in most of the regions that Coinbase is. This means that they have quite an expansive reach and are open to a number of people.
Firstly, for those who are in the United States, the UK and most of the EU, you will have full access to the fiat trading pairs on the exchange. You also have access to all of the crypto-to-crypto markets.
If you are not located in one of the regions above then you can still access all of the crypto-to-crypto pairs. This includes the following:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Korea
Of course, when it comes to funding your account with fiat, this is only available to the US, UK and EU. Those who are in Singapore, Canada and Australia can buy Bitcoin with a credit card only. You can see more in our Funding / Withdrawal section below.
It is also worth pointing out that Coinbase Pro is only for individual accounts. If you have a company or institutional level trading requirement then you can make use of Coinbase Prime. This gives you access to the same liquidity pools as Coinbase Pro but with much more refined service.
Coinbase Pro Registration
If you already have a Coinbase account, then registering for Coinbase Pro is pretty darn simple. All you have to do is log in with your Coinbase credentials and you are ready to trade.
However, if you have not registered with Coinbase yet, then you have to do this before you can trade on Coinbase Pro. This means that you will have to complete their verification and compliance steps.
Coinbase Pro Regisration Form
This requires you to send them proof of identity as well as proof of address. The former can be something like a passport / driver’s licence copy whereas the latter can be a bank statement or utility bill.
Coinbase Pro will also require you to take a selfie holding up the identity card. This will allow them to verify that you are indeed the holder of document that you are trying to submit.
In most cases, they are able to verify the documents and the selfie using facial recognition technology which means that it can be done almost instantly. However, verifications may take longer if they need more information from you.
Coinbase Pro Platform
One of the main reasons that this is called “Pro” is because of the trading platform.
Having said that, the platform is pretty well laid out and relatively intuitive for the beginner traders. It also has many of the features that advanced cryptocurrency traders have come to expect.
Coinbase Pro Trading Interface
Let’s take a closer look at each of these segments of the main trading interface more closely.
The order forms are on the left. This is where you will be placing your orders and sending them onto the exchange order books. There are a number of order parameters that we will cover below.
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.
The price chart is in the top at the middle. This has pretty basic functionality and you can change the tick size, chart size as well as overlay two different moving average indicators (EMA12 or EMA26).
Unfortunately for the seasoned crypto technical analyst, there are no studies, charting tools or other technical indicators that you can use on these charts.
Moving on, below the charts you the buy / sell walls. These are used in order determine the depth of the order book and who has control of the market between the bulls and the bears. You can also zoom in on this chart in order to get more insight.
Below these you have your recent orders that have either been executed or are still live. To the right of this you have all the orders that were just executed on the market.
What happens if you want to change the markets that you are trading?
Switching Between Markets
To the left of the platform, you have a drop-down menu where you can switch between the different markets. In the drop-down menu you can also search for the desired pair and it will filter out.
There is a reasonable amount of order functionality at Coinbase Pro.
The order form is easily located on the left of the trading interface. The first thing that you will need to decide is whether you are going to be buying or selling. Then you will select the amount that you would like to trade.
Different types of orders in order Forms
Now that you have the basics of the order sorted, you have to decide on how you would like the order to be placed. There are three order types at Coinbase Pro and it is important to know what each of these mean:
- 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 these orders above, you also have more advanced options when it comes to how the “order life” of market orders. These are the following parameters:
- Good Till Cancelled (GTC): This is an order that will remain open until it is either executed or cancelled by you. If neither happen 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
So, if you are looking to just buy a set amount of Bitcoin at a particular price, then you should set a FOK order. If you are more flexible around the amount that gets executed then you could consider the GTC or GTT. We can’t really see a need for IOC orders currently.
Deposits / Withdrawals
Funding your account is just as simple as it is at the normal Coinbase exchange.
To do so on Coinbase Pro, you can head on over to your “My Wallets” section. This will give you an overview of all of the previous deposits / withdrawals that you have done on the the account.
You will select the type of funding that you would like to do. Assuming that this is in Bitcoin then you will hit your Bitcoin wallet. Then you will select “Deposit” and this will generate a Bitcoin address.
Making Bitcoin Deposit at Coinbase Pro
If you have funds on a Coinbase account then you can also transfer them from the wallet that you store there. This is instantaneous as Coinbase merely transfers the balance from one account to the other.
If you are going to be withdrawing funds then the process is just as simple. You will have to either insert a new wallet address or use one of the previous ones in your address book. You can also transfer quickly back to your Coinbase wallet if you need it there.
We used Bitcoin as an example but Coinbase Pro has funding / withdrawal functionality for all of the coins that they list on the exchange. The process is exactly the same as the Bitcoin example explained above.
It is also important to take note that Coinbase Pro has withdrawal limits in place as a default on your account. This is set at $10,000 for most accounts. If you want to increase this then you will have to submit a request.
In this request, Coinbase Pro will need more information on why you are making the request as well as a link to your Linkedin. They also ask for a bank statement in order to speed up your request. We found this quite onerous and intrusive but you may be less bothered by it.
Fiat Funding / Withdrawal
If you wanted to send in either USD, GBP or EUR then you can use of of the numerous options they have for fiat funding at Coinbase Pro.
As with the Bitcoin funding, you will head over to your Wallets section and you will select the currency that you would like to fund in. In our case we will be looking to fund in GBP. This will generate the below form:
Fiat currency deposit Coinbase Pro
This will generate the bank account information that you will need to fund with your own bank. You should also make sure that you use the unique identifier when funding as this will allow Coinbase Pro to track your transaction.
Once you make the payment, the time taken will depend on where your bank is located etc. Usually it should be within 1-2 business days.
Fiat withdrawals to bank accounts can only be done once you have linked up your bank account to Coinbase Pro.
You will head on over to the “Banking” section in your account profile. Here you will see the current accounts that you have linked to your account. If you want to add one you will click “Link New Account”.
Linking Bank Account at Coinbase
The above information is required for UK and EUR accounts. Also note that as is the case with funding, you can only withdraw funds into an account in your name. Linking up your account can usually be done instantly assuming the correct information was given.
In the event that your bank cannot be linked up this way then Coinbase will require you to complete a deposit verification. They will send you a short code in a small deposit to your bank that you will have to use to verify.
The customer support at Coinbase Pro is not exceptional but is in line with most other exchanges.
There are a number of methods that you can use in order to get hold of them. Perhaps your best bet is through their ticket support system. This can be accessed straight from your online dashboard.
In the top right corner, you will have your name. You can hover over it and it will present your dashboard options. Here you can click “contact us” and it will bring up the whole contact form.
Exactly how long they take will depend on the type of request and the complexity of your case. If you are still in the verification phases then this can take a bit of time especially if your documents need to be manually checked.
If you are still not having any luck through this ticket support system then they do have dedicated phone lines. You can contact them on +1 888 908-7930 if you are in the US / international or you can use 0808 168 4635 if you are in the UK.
Of course, if you would prefer to not have to deal with them through these methods then you can always make use of their customer resources. This has a whole host of FAQs and other information that can help solver your query.
Coinbase Pro API
For those developers out there, Coinbase Pro had a pretty robust API. The API will allow you to code your own bots and algorithms to trade the markets 24/7/365.
Firstly, you have the websocket API that will allow you to read market data. Then you have the FIX (Financial Information Exchange) API where you can place order requests. Finally, you have the REST API which will have all account management tools. You can read the API docs here.
If you want to start using the API then you will have to get your API key. This can be generated from inside your account dashboard. You will hit the “New API Key” in the top right of the screen.
Generating Your API Key
Once this is done, you will have to select the type of permissions you would like the key to have. You will also need to choose a passphrase as well as whether you will want to bind the API to a particular IP address. Your key will then be generated with a “Secret” string.
Once you have your key, it will be listed in your API section. You can now take these and use them in your bots which interact with the Coinbase Pro API.
What We Didn’t Like
No Coinbase Pro review would be complete without taking a look at some of the things that we thought warranted improvement.
Firstly, although the asset coverage is more extensive than the regular Coinbase platform, it is still quite limited when compared to other exchanges. There are some important coins in the top 20 that are not included such as Monero (XMR), DASH, Cardano or Neo.
Similarly, while the trading platform is more advanced than the traditional one, there are some places that we think it lacks functionality. This is particularly the case when it comes to the charting on the platform. They should at the very least integrate tradingview software.
There is also no Coinbase Pro app and if you want to trade coins on your phone you will have to use the mobile browser. The only app available from Coinbase is that of their standard exchange. This is far from ideal and Coinbase Pro needs its own application.
Finally, Coinbase Pro has all the restrictive KYC requirements that you have at the likes of the Coinbase main exchange. This means that it may not be ideal for those traders who value privacy and would prefer to trade on an anonymous exchange.
In summary, our Coinbase Pro review has found this exchange to be pretty user friendly while still having a relatively advanced trading platform.
Moreover, these users have access to a larger array of coins while still benefiting from the expertise and security that is provided by the folks at the main Coinbase exchange.
Of course, there are some things that we think warrant improvement but these are relatively easy to implement and could come with time.
So, should you consider Coinbase Pro?
We would encourage you to do your own research but if you are looking for a simple yet powerful Exchange that is secure and reliable then it could be for you.
Featured Image via Coinbase Pro