Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro: What’s the Difference?

Coinbase and Coinbase Pro (formerly known as GDAX) are two of the most popular platforms in cryptocurrency trading. Coinbase is known as the place to go if you wanted to buy Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. GDAX was the website professional traders used to build their fortunes.

Coinbase operated both of these platforms under two brands until recently when GDAX became Coinbase Pro.

If you’re wondering what the difference is between Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro, you’re in the right place.

Read on to learn what changes the company made when changing the platform and bringing both the buying and exchange operations under one umbrella.

variety of cryptos next to phone

What is Coinbase and Coinbase Pro?

Coinbase is one of the world's most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. It was founded back in 2011 by Brian Armstrong, and it has been credited with playing a big role in today’s adoption levels for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin(LTC).

Coinbase (and Coinbase Pro) are crypto exchanges, meaning it functions as an online brokerage for buying and selling of all sorts. Users create a free account to buy cryptocurrencies from other users at the current market rates or engage in trading themselves if they so choose.

Coinbase will store any currency purchased until you decide sell, trade, or transfer to a different wallet.

Similarities

Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are both the same company. However, they are different in their functions. We will get more into the differences later.

Both accounts are free and offer the ability to buy and trade multiple kinds of cryptocurrencies. Although, Coinbase Pro supports more altcoins).

What's the difference?

Coinbase and Coinbase Pro provide two different account options for buying cryptocurrencies with fiat currency (like USD or Euro).

Coinbase is like a brokerage that people can use to buy various currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin(LTC) but it also provides a wallet to crypto walle to store your assets.

Coinbase Pro on the other hand is an exchange that allows trading pairs and allows investors to sell and buy with each other.

Both have a mobile app, which is great for active traders who like to trade on the go. But what is the actual difference between the two? Is there a difference in security? What if you want more features

Beginner investors find the simplicity of using Coinbase appealing, while more experienced users will appreciate the advanced features offered by its counterpart, Coinbase Pro. Needless to say, the ease of use of regular Coinbase accounts are what makes it so user friendly.

Coinbase Pro Advantages

Coinbase Pro has a different tone, making it harder for users to purchase cryptocurrencies. It is not possible to use your debit or credit cards on the platform so only fiat currency can be used in this setting which could put off some investors.

The platforms differ in purchasing options as well as fees; however both are secure and easy to use. While fees on Coinbases plan may be higher than those charged by other exchanges available online or offline today, this doesn't mean that you should stray away from it!

Coinbase Pro is a user-friendly cryptocurrency trading platform that offers advanced features for experienced traders. Pro users naturally want to take advantage of real time trading for their digital assets which is offered on a full functioning exchange like Coinbase Pro.

Coinbase pro offers an intuitive application including real-time charting tools with moving averages and exponential moving averages so you can see what's happening in the market before placing your trade.

The real time trading feature on Coinbase Pro is what makes it significantly more appealing for most traders. If you are trying to buy 1BTC for a price of 55k on Coinbase, but you can see that the real time price is 54.5k, it's a no-brainer that you would want to use the real time price.

You also have access to detailed information on all of your transactions, including buy/sell orders, price charts, order books and transaction history; plus Coinbase Pro provides more sophisticated options like stop orders (to protect gains), limit orders (for precise entry points) and margin trades which enable users to leverage their positions.

Coinbase and Coinbase Pro both support fiat currencies like USD, GBP, and EUR. But that’s not all! You can also choose from more than 50 altcoins on either platform with some differences in what is available across the two: for example Coinbase offers Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) but it doesn’t have Golem or Loom Network. On the other hand you can buy LOOM and GNT on both platforms - though they are only supported by Coinbase Pro currently.

Overall, Vs Coinbase, Coinbase Pro offers much more advanced trading options.

Coinbase Vs Coinbase Pro Security

98% of Coinbase's customer funds are stored in a cold storage offline. They are stored in geographically distributed safe boxes. They cannot be hacked because of the fact that they are being stored offline in a secure location.

Coinbase does have an insurance policy for its users. It stores it's cash balances in these ways:

  • USD custodial accounts at U.S. banks;
  • USD denominated money market funds; or
  • invests them in liquid U.S. Treasuries

The process is complicated and your funds could be held in any one of these three manners. However, holding USD at a U.S bank it will either have pooled custodial accounts with FDIC insurance up to $250k per person (per-depositor coverage limit).

Coinbase wallets have private keys used to send and receive crypto, it's up to you to keep your wallet and your funds safe.

Fees: Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro

Coinbase establishes the exchange rate for cryptocurrency transactions (“consumer exchange rate”) by adding a margin, or spread (the “spread”), to the market exchange rate on Coinbase Pro (“Pro exchange rate”). Coinbase may also charge a separate fee (in addition to the spread) that is either a flat fee or a percentage of the transaction (the “Coinbase Fee”), as further described below in the section entitled Buy/Sell Transactions. https://help.coinbase.com/en/coinbase/trading-and-funding/pricing-and-fees/fees

Transaction fees are something that every crypto trader should be aware of in order to maximize their assets. Trading fees are to be expected with any cryptocurrency exchanges but which Coinbase account offers a better deal? Does Coinbase Pro offer a better deal because it is targeted to more advanced traders? Or is not too different vs Coinbase?

First, let's take a look at Coinbase Pro

graph on laptop showing trade fees


Coinbase Pro Trading fees

Maker-taker fees, also known as payment for order flow, provides crypto exchanges with rebates for participating in the crypto market.

Pricing Tier

Taker Fee

Maker Fee

<$10K

0.50%

0.50%

$10 - 50K

0.35%

0.35%

$50 - 100K

0.25%

0.15%

$100K - 1M

0.20%

0.10%

$1- 10M

0.18%

0.08%

$10 -50M

0.15%

0.05%

$50 - 100M

0.10%

0.00%

$100 - 300M

0.07%

0.00%

$300 - 500M

0.05%

0.00%

$500M

0.04%

0.00%

 

If you place an order at the market price and that gets filled immediately, they are considered a “taker” and are charged that fee.

If a user places an order that is not matched to one of those orders quickly enough (until someone takes it), then it will be placed in what's called "the book" and only when somebody matches their trade with them will they both charge each other for doing so - a maker fee is for the person who made the trading pairs.

Your taker fees are based on the total USD trading volume of all order books over a 30 day period. This includes trades made in US Dollars, such as BTC-USD, and other currency pairs that quote their value against dollars like ETH-BTC for example.

If you buy 1 Ethereum (ETH) with Bitcoin (BTC), it will be converted to an equivalent amount of money in the current US Dollar exchange rate at time of purchase through our most recent fill prices from different markets where Coinbase offer this service. Pricing tier-taker fee ratios will continue to change as crypto trading evolves. This fee structure can be changed by Coinbase (or any cryptocurrency exchange)

For larger crypto exchanges on Coinbase Pro, a wire transfer is the most secure and the best way to avoid additional fees.

Coinbase fees

The fees regular Coinbase trading platform charge are a bit different than the Pro structure.

Coinbase charges a Spread of 0.5% on trades, which can be higher in volatile markets and is subject to change at any time. Coinbase also has flat fees depending on the trade amount or variable fee dependent upon where you live and how they are paid.

The fact that Coinbase lacks real-time trading and options like limit orders, means that you are likely going to be paying a higher rate for your cryptocurrency vs Coinbase Pro.

To learn get more information, read my ultimate guide to Coinbase fees article.

Payment methods

When using your credit/debit card through their website, there will be an additional 2-3 business days delay before funds transfer into digital currency (bitcoin). Card purchases are slow compared to connecting your bank account. This is because of the security steps to authorize the transaction for your financial institution.

With debit and credit cards incurring even more expensive rates than credit card payments due to differences in merchant processing costs as well as risk mitigation issues from chargebacks.

MasterCard and Visa debit cards can be used to purchase using Coinbase.

With both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro, connecting a bank account is the fastest way to trade while avoid higher fees. You can do a free wire transfer from your US account.

More recently, you can use Paypal to purchase crypto on your coinbase account. Some might feel that this is more secure compared to using a bank account.

Wire transfers can be used for larger trading volume or bigger purchases.

Improvements Made To GDAX vs Coinbase Pro

If you are deciding between Coinbase vs. Coinbase Pro, you should at least be aware of the improvements made to the predecessor of Coinbase Pro, GDAX.

After the switchover to Coinbase Pro, there were a few changes noticeable to traders.

First, users can immediately access their balances and transaction history in the renovated “my wallet” view in the upper right corner of the screen. This feature consolidates all your account orders and transactions into one interface. Users enjoy a more intuitive interface for users.

Another change is in the user interface. One of the complaints about GDAX was the complication in making transactions, withdrawals, and deposits. The new method is easier and takes fewer steps.

Coinbase Pro has a new update to their platform that will allow you to view the order books of trading pairs, but not trade on them. They cannot add more exchanges or countries due to compliance with local regulators.

There’s a new chart system that allows users to scroll through their historical data, which is part of the desire of developers to make trading more intuitive.

Concerned About The Switchover to Coinbase Pro?

If you’re a trader that has yet to switch from GDAX to Coinbase Pro for the first time, know that Coinbase took every step to make the switch easy.

The first time you log in to the new interface, you’ll be able to access your trade history, balance info, and new metrics to make the transition easier. This information is very relevant to traders concerned about revenue info and tax liability.

The world-class analytic tools are still available to traders, with more added to give a complete picture of your chosen market. New users might want to take a few days to get used to the information thrown at them before diving in headfirst.

Both platforms operate on a maker/taker fee model. Orders that provide liquidity have different charges than orders that take liquidity. A similar fee structure means users won’t have to relearn the best ways to maximize their trades to produce the most profit.

In short, switching from GDAX to Coinbase Pro is easy and fast. You’ll be trading on the world’s best platform in no time. And vs coinbase, it's a no brainer to stay with Coinbase Pro.

And as always, make sure to keep your cryptocurrency off the exchange when you’re not actively trading! My preferred hardware wallets are the Ledger Nano X. If you do need a hardware wallet, buy it directly from the maker for your safety with my affiliate link in the last sentence.

Compared to the traditional coinbase wallet, a hardware wallet allows you to keep your funds on a tangible device which has many advantages over cold storage.

You can also use your hardware wallet for multiple exchanges which is great if you are looking to expand your digital assets beyond Coinbase's trading options.

It's always a good idea to have another place to store your assets besides the regular Coinbase wallet.

Additional features for Coinbase Pro

The Coinbase Pro trading platform offers more control over your cryptocurrency trades. Stop orders let you set a sell price to limit losses; while a limit order will allow users to set a buy point if they anticipate the price to decrease while trying to trade.

These features are extremely valuable and are the standard for any advanced digital asset exchange. Whether you are trading stocks or crypto.

Coinbase Pro gives third-party apps access to your account thorugh an API private key, letting you customize the way you use it.

person trading with app and computer

Summary: Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro

When comparing coinbase vs it's more advanced counterpart, Coinbase Pro, it is easy to assume pro traders will opt for the latter.

Additionally, many users who started out on regular Coinbase have upgraded to the Coinbase Pro platform once they become more educated and have a need for more advanced features.

There are a lot of similarities between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro, but they offer different features. If you're new to the cryptocurrency space, it's best to start out with simple charting at your fingertips on Coinbase - which will help guide you in understanding how trading works.

The user interface is also very easy for beginners who aren't familiar with investing or trading cryptocurrencies yet. Ease of use is a high priority for some.

But if you want more advanced charts and spot-trading options (with low fees), then go ahead and get yourself signed up for an account over at Coinbase Pro today! It all depends on your personal trading needs, which is right for you? Only you can decide.

Whether you’re a serious investor or a first-time buyer that wants to dip their toes into the crypto markets, we’re here to help. We have information designed to give you an advantage when tackling the markets.

Our advice is to look at Coinbase, read the reviews, and see for yourself if it’s a platform you want to use. If the Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro conversation confuses or concerns you, check out our guide about Binance since it’s a great exchange with lower fees.

About Crypto Ryan 58 Articles
Hi, I'm Ryan. I started investing in cryptocurrency in early 2014. Naturally, I want everyone to have the chance to learn about the crypto world so I created this blog! I hope my articles help you understand blockchain and cryptocurrency. Cheers!