Coinbase Pro is one of the oldest exchanges that are both still around and doing well. It’s still in the conversation for the world’s top exchange and provides a competitive service for experienced traders. However, for beginners, the firm might be a bit intimidating and even overwhelming at points. Assumedly, that’s why it remains separate from its older brother, Coinbase, which serves as a much simpler tool. The pro version provides a much more in-depth, all-encompassing trading experience along with pricing benefits.
Coinbase Pro started operating in early 2015, under the name of GDAX. It was Coinbase’s response to the issue of their service being too bare-boned. As the original was only for buying and selling bitcoin, they needed a solution for more sophisticated traders. GDAX had a separate office and added more cryptocurrency variations, and a more detailed platform, among other things. However, the GDAX brand didn’t last long, as the separate office was shut down in 2018, and the project became Coinbase Pro.
In this Coinbase Pro Review, we tried to gather all information relevant to this crypto exchange at one place.
All About Coinbase Pro
Since then, the exchange has taken up a prominent space in the crypto sphere. It consistently ranks among the top brokerages at different data aggregator websites, demonstrating its continued popularity. It’s especially beloved by US users, as that’s where the exchange is located. However, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine, as the exchange has also had its fair share of controversial moments.
For example, it made a few questionable decisions in 2019, with the acquisition of the Hacking Team being perhaps the worst. For the uninitiated, the group is known for developing privacy-invading tech and selling it to arguably malicious sources. That’s shaken up the community, although it hasn’t made a lasting impact.
You might be wondering how come Coinbase Pro’s series of bad decisions didn’t result in a significant customer loss. Well, the answer is quite simple, since security and service level-wise, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better exchange. Coinbase Pro’s set of conditions provides a secure and fair chance of earning to anyone that signs up. Here are the exchange’s features we found most attractive:
It’s no secret that many traders find their initial steps the most difficult. As such, having a simple option to serve as an introduction can be invaluable. In this case, that’d be Coinbase, with its limited features allowing users to grasp the basics quickly. However, it’s also true that most customers outgrow Coinbase’s simple nature quickly, and that’s when they can progress to the pro version. It’s great that the website makes the path to progression clear, especially since you share credentials for both versions.
Personal Security with Coinbase Pro
Despite the controversial Hacking Team acquisition, Coinbase Pro remains one of the safest exchanges online. The firm is US-based, meaning it must adhere to strict regulations regarding its functioning and user fund handling. On top of that, even the Hacking Team fiasco was an attempt to improve the exchange’s security protocols. It’s had no major breaches, demonstrating that the effort the firm has put in has been worth it.
One of the major benefits of having a prominent market position is having high liquidity. As users will be naturally drawn towards more popular services, their trading volumes and trading requests increase. That leads to higher levels of liquidity, allowing traders to buy and sell transparently and near-instantly. That leads to a much more precise and skill-expressive experience, which favors the experienced trader group the exchange is catered towards.
Another one of the advantages Coinbase Pro has over the base version is the presence of advanced trading options. While the base only offers simple buying and selling, Coinbase Pro also has more complex methods, such as margin trading. The margins go up to 3x, although we should note that the option is still unavailable in certain areas.
Security at Coinbase Pro
As we’ve already mentioned, the website’s security on a technical level is unparalleled. Its US location means it adheres to much stricter laws than offshore exchanges and that the regulation is much more stringent. For example, it must work under The USA Patriot Act and The Bank Secrecy Act. On top of that, it’s one of the few crypto exchanges that operate under a regulator. Coinbase Pro works under FinCEN, meaning there’s pressure against the firm acting maliciously.
That tight security works against the company somewhat, as it imposes strict KYC and AML laws. That leads to less anonymity (which is a key factor for some crypto traders) and longer verification. Be that as it may, we believe that’s a small price to pay for Coinbase Pro’s security record.
However, there are some more concrete flaws we can point to. The Hacking Team scandal came shortly after a strange request for Coinbase Pro’s customers. It wanted clients to store private wallet keys on a drive, potentially causing a massive security breach. Then it doubled down by acquiring the controversial group.
If there’s any room for concern, it’s that Coinbase Pro will potentially sell your data. However, no such cases have been confirmed, so it’d be unfair to say the exchange partakes in such activities. As far as other security factors go, though, the firm is airtight.
Fees & Conditions
Recently, the exchange had no withdrawal charges at all. More precisely, the Coinbase Pro paid the withdrawal fees instead of the users. However, it seems that the load has become too heavy, resulting in the exchange transferring the expenses to customers. Naturally, that resulted in a backlash, but it was to be somewhat expected, as it’s the norm for crypto exchanges.
As for trading fees, they rely on a maker-taker structure that scales with trading volume. It starts out at 0.5% per trade, which is quite high, and progresses to 0.04% (T) or 0.00% (M). However, the last level requires you to have a trading volume of over a billion US dollars, so it’s unattainable for most. To reach what we deem an acceptable fee level of 0.25 for takers and 0.15 for makers, you’d need to hang in the $50.000 – $100.000 monthly range. It might sound a bit steep, but it’s in line with the exchange’s intended audience.
As for the deposits, they’re free for Crypto and ACH. Wire transfers carry a $10 deposit and $25 withdrawal fee, while on SEPA, you pay 0.15 EUR both ways. SWIFT (GBP) deposits are free but have a 5 GBP charge for withdrawals.
As for the trading conditions themselves, Coinbase Pro does quite well. It has a detailed platform that avoids the issue of being needlessly complicated. On top of that, it’s got some sophisticated trading options and a decent selection of coins/pairs.
We already touched on the account funding methods slightly in the previous section of our Coinbase Pro review, but let’s look a little closer. As per usual, there are funding methods for both crypto and fiat currencies, although the latter is slightly limited. Namely, there are only three options for fiat deposits and withdrawals, USD, GBP, and EUR. And although that covers a significant portion of the globe, it may leave some users wanting.
Additionally, fiat funding imposes stricter fees than doing the same with crypto, as outlined in the previous section. We don’t really consider that a significant downside, though, as it’s standard for the industry. Digital currency deposits don’t cost anything, but withdrawals carry a coin-specific fee. Naturally, you can check how high the charge will be on the website before withdrawing.
Another thing to note is that Coinbase Pro has a daily withdrawal limit. It starts at $10,000 and improves at higher account ranks. The ranks are dependent on trading volumes.
The exchange has a solid variety of coins spread across over 150 pairs. Both crypto-crypto and crypto-fiat pairs are present. The most prevalent fiat currency the coins are put against is USD. The total number of coins comes in at over 30.
Coinbase Pro Review: Conclusion
There’s no denying that Coinbase Pro is a quality exchange. Just by looking at how long it’s maintained a top position in the crypto exchange world, that should become apparent. Its greatest strengths are its stringent security, platform, and relatively low fees. It aims to conquer and maintain a specific audience of serious traders and makes no compromises in that regard.
Naturally, it’s not without flaw. The focus on pros makes it somewhat unwelcoming towards newcomers, and it had a period of questionable decisions. However, trying to find a perfect crypto exchange is a fool’s errand since you’ll always find a few mistakes.
If you’re a complete beginner, Coinbases basic version might be a better suit for you. However, if you’re a serious, confident trader with some experience under your belt, Coinbase Pro is definitely worth a shot.
We hope that you will find this Coinbase Pro Review useful and interesting!
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