With these similar-sounding names, it’s easy to confuse Coinbase and Coinbase Pro, as both are popular ways to trade cryptocurrencies. Coinbase is still an entry-level service, while Coinbase Pro improves on many fronts. Each offers different levels of service, cost, and functionality, so cryptocurrency traders looking to get in on the game may want to figure out which exchange is best for their needs.
Here’s how Coinbase compares to Coinbase Pro in a few key ways, and what you need to know.
Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro: Trading Commissions and Other Fees
There are some notable differences between the fee structures of Coinbase and Coinbase Pro.
Coinbase’s fee structure may be uncertain as it is not clearly disclosed, and service fees vary depending on the size of your purchase and payment method. Recently, the company started hiding fees for this level of service, making it harder for you to see what you’re paying for.
For small trades, Coinbase includes a 0.5% spread premium on the value of your trade, so buy and sell prices may differ from what you see on other services. Then there are some other fees depending on how much you buy, as shown in the table below.
Coinbase’s fee structure:
|$10 or less||$0.99|
|More than $10 and up to $25||$1.49|
|More than $25 and up to $50||$1.99|
|More than $50 and up to $200||$2.99|
If you tweak the numbers a little, you can see the slashing that Coinbase could take. For example, if you only bought $10 worth of cryptocurrency, you would pay a fee of $0.99 — which is almost 10% of your investment. This is on top of the embedded fee you already pay in the spread markup. Even at $200, you’re still adding a $2.99 fee, which is almost 1.5% of your purchase.
For purchases over $200, Coinbase adds a variable fee instead of the fixed fee above. (See table below.) Therefore, if you purchase with a debit card, expect an additional 3.99% in fees.
Coinbase funding fees:
|U.S. bank account||1.49 percent|
|Coinbase USD wallet||1.49 percent|
|Debit card||3.99 percent|
|Instant card withdrawal||Up to 1.5 percent of any transaction; minimum fee of $0.55|
How does this compare to Coinbase Pro’s fees? Well, Coinbase Pro uses a sliding scale based on trading volume, which is more typical on crypto exchanges, with different rates for providing liquidity (maker) and acquiring liquidity (taker). Your price is also based on the dollar volume you have generated in the past 30 days.
Coinbase Pro fees
|PRICING TIER||TAKER FEE||MAKER FEE|
|$0 – 10K||0.60 percent||0.40 percent|
|$10K – 50K||0.40 percent||0.25 percent|
|$50K – 100K||0.25 percent||0.15 percent|
|$100K – 1M||0.20 percent||0.10 percent|
|$1M – 20M||0.18 percent||0.08 percent|
|$20M – 100M||0.15 percent||0.05 percent|
|$100M – 300M||0.10 percent||0.02 percent|
|$300M – 500M||0.08 percent||0.00 percent|
|$500M+||0.05 percent||0.00 percent|
A $200 trade on Coinbase Pro will cost $1.20, even at the highest rate. This is very different from what you pay for entry-level Coinbase transactions.
Advantages: Clear and huge advantages for Coinbase Pro, especially for anyone who wants to trade regularly.
Coinbase vs. Coinbase Pro: Fee Transparency
The difference in fee transparency between two transaction services offered by the same company is worlds apart. Coinbase does not provide the public with the information they need to know before becoming a customer. It’s a shame, but not surprising given the high fees for withdrawals from customers’ wallets, at least in percentage terms. Yes, Coinbase will tell you the fees you will pay before you make a transaction, but it deliberately avoids sharing its fees until you get there.
On the other hand, Coinbase Pro does a great job of sharing its fee structure with potential clients. This is not surprising, as the structure is broadly in line with that of other major cryptocurrency exchanges, even if it is not always the cheapest among its peers.
Advantage: Coinbase Pro. It’s hard to believe a service that tries to hide the price.
Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro: Available Cryptocurrencies
Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are very close in the number of cryptocurrencies available on their respective platforms. According to Bankrate’s latest count, Coinbase offers 174 coins on its platform, while Coinbase Pro lists 158 against the U.S. dollar. But both platforms contain the most popular coins – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Polkadot, Solana, and more. So if you don’t like niche coins, you’ll find them on both platforms.
Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro: Staking
Staking rewards are a form of income generated by holding cryptocurrencies that help support a particular crypto ecosystem. Think of it like interest on a bank account or stock dividends, but it’s riskier than that kind of income. You can earn more coins by using your coins with a larger group that validates crypto transactions.
On Coinbase, customers can stake their cryptocurrencies, and owners can earn staking rewards in a number of tokens, including Ethereum, Algorand, Tezos, Cosmos, and Cardano. You need a minimum balance of that particular cryptocurrency to participate, and you need to hold tokens on Coinbase.com. Once you sign up, Coinbase takes care of the technical aspects and it withholds some of your betting rewards.
Coinbase Pro does not offer staking rewards.
Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro: Custody
For many digital currency holders, the ability to control your cryptocurrency or keep your wealth safe is a big deal. You cannot hold assets yourself when trading with some traditional brokers. Instead, they are held by another financial institution. This is not suitable for those who believe that the promise of crypto is to avoid financial intermediaries.
Both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro allow you to store wealth yourself. You can set up a wallet, either a custodial wallet with Coinbase or Pro, or you can bring your own third-party wallet. You can choose the crypto wallet that works best for you, whether you use a hardware wallet, a software wallet, or prefer to keep your coins on the platform for trading.
Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro: Ease of Use
Coinbase has a relatively simple trading platform. Basically, you need to click “Buy” or “Sell” next to the asset you want to buy. It really couldn’t be simpler, which might be important to the beginners that Coinbase is targeting. It was a really streamlined experience.
Coinbase Pro offers a more sophisticated trading platform, and its trading interface can be daunting at first glance. You get a trading platform that feels more professional: a feed with live prices, charts, charting tools, order books and trading history. It can be overwhelming at first, but you’ll quickly figure out how to enter your order and find what you need.
Advantage: Coinbase Pro. The trading platform might seem overly complicated compared to Coinbase’s simple interface, but soon you’ll be able to move around fairly easily. Therefore, other features and benefits quickly outweigh the minimal increase in complexity.
Unless you plan to trade very rarely — maybe even if you do — Coinbase Pro is the clear winner here. You get reasonable and transparent pricing, as well as other features that make this slightly harder to use trading platform worth the extra time to learn. Yes, those interested in staking are excluded from Coinbase Pro, but is it really worth the higher percentages you pay for entry-level Coinbase?