4 Coinbase Alternatives

 

Coinbase has quickly become the defacto app to begin investing in cryptocurrency. Boasting 11.5 million users and over 38 million wallets, it’s no surprise that the exchange has the massive visibility that it does. As someone looking to start investing in crypto, it may seem like there’s no other platform available to do so.

Well, I’ve got news for you. Not only are other platforms available, but many of these exchanges have advantages that are preferable to the high fees and limited trading options found on Coinbase.

In this article, I’m going to provide an overview of four alternatives to Coinbase and what advantages they provide. The alternatives are:

  • Gemini – More advanced trading at lower cost
  • GDAX – A smooth transition from Coinbase
  • Kraken – A way to expand your altcoin portfolio
  • Bitcoin ATMs – The option for the unbanked

Coinbase Key Information

Key Information

coinbase wallet review logo

Site Type Easy Buy Methods
Beginner Friendly
Mobile App
Company Location San Francisco, CA, USA
Company Launch 2012
Buy Methods Credit Card, Bank Transfers
Sell Methods Bank Transfers, PayPal
Available Cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin
Community Trust Great
Security Great
Fees Low
Customer Support Good
Site Visit Coinbase

 

Gemini – More advanced trading at a lower cost

Maybe you’ve gotten comfortable trading on Coinbase and want to add some advanced tactics to your investment strategy. Or maybe you’ve already got traditional investment experience, so the simplified Coinbase platform doesn’t appeal to you. Either way, Gemini is worth your attention.

Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange where you can purchase and trade Bitcoin and Ethereum. The platform has a more complex interface than the simple design of Coinbase but is still intuitive enough for new investors to figure out.

As with most exchanges, you buy/sell coins through an order book – a different process than what you’d find in Coinbase. If you’re strategic with your order, you can oftentimes get your coins at a better price than the price set on Coinbase. You can place market and limit orders as well as set maker-or-cancel (MOC) and immediate-or-cancel (IOC) orders on Gemini.

Gemini Order Form

 

Another advantage of Gemini is the ability to do analytics on the order book chart as you place an order. Learning how to recognize generic patterns in this chart is a good way for new investors to begin studying technical analysis (TA).

Gemini Order Book Chart

 

The trading fees on Gemini range from -0.10% (a rebate with enough volume) to 0.25% – significantly less than Coinbase’s 1.49% to 3.99% fee range.

Gemini Key Information

Key Information  width=
Site Type Cryptocurrency Exchange
Beginner Friendly
Mobile App
Company Location New York
Company Launch 2015
Buy Methods Bank Transfers & Wires
Sell Methods Bank Transfers & Wires
Available Cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum
Community Trust Great
Security Great
Fees Very Low
Customer Support Good
Site Visit Gemini

 

GDAX – A smooth transition from Coinbase

GDAX is an online exchange that’s owned by the same company as Coinbase. Similar to Coinbase, you can buy/sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin with fiat currency. This exchange is a great option for investors who’ve enjoyed using Coinbase but aren’t pleased with its high deposit and withdrawal fees.

Investors who use Coinbase can instantaneously transfer their funds to GDAX for free. Once on the exchange, you can freely trade your coins paying a maximum trading fee of 0.25%.

Looking at the sleek interface on GDAX, it’s apparent that the exchange shares a parent company with Coinbase. The design cleanly places several important pieces of information (trade history, order book, price chart) on a single page alongside the order form. This is important for investors looking to further improve their TA skillset.

GDAX Chart

You’re able to place market, limit, and stop-loss orders on GDAX as well as trade on margin. Although, unless you’re an experienced investor, I recommend that you avoid margin trading due to the high-risk nature and volatility of cryptocurrency investments.

GDAX Order Form

GDAX Key Information

Key Information
Site Type Cryptocurrency Exchange
Beginner Friendly
Mobile App
Company Location San Francisco, CA, USA
Company Launch 2012
Fiat Deposit Methods Bank Transfer
Fiat Withdrawal Methods Bank Transfer
Available Cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin
Community Trust Great
Security Great
Fees Very Low
Customer Support Good
Site

Visit GDAX

Kraken – Expand your altcoin portfolio

Coinbase is ideal to get your first taste of crypto, but after some time, three coins just might not be enough for you. If you’re looking to expand your portfolio with the addition of new coins, you should check out Kraken.

It’s important to note that Kraken can be overwhelming to new investors. The platform has over 15 coins that you can trade through numerous pairings, and there are a number of tabs containing trade, market, and account information. Unlike Gemini and GDAX, the price and order book charts are on a separate page from where you place your order which makes analyzing the data inconvenient at times.

Kraken XBT/USD Chart

 

To support new investors, Kraken provides a comprehensive support center with a large list of FAQs. The company has also created a trading guide to further help you become a better investor.

Kraken conveniently provides three interfaces for you to make trades: Simple, Intermediate, and Advanced. The Simple tab has more than enough features for the casual investor who’s only interested in adding a few different coins to his/her portfolio.

Kraken Bitcoin Dashboard with Simple Tab SelectedAlthough there are several other exchanges where you can purchase altcoins, Kraken is one of the few and most trusted ones that allows you to purchase coins with fiat.  

Kraken Key Information

Key Information
Site Type Cryptocurrency Exchange
Beginner Friendly
Mobile App
Company Location San Francisco, CA, USA
Company Launch 2011
Deposit Methods Bank Transfer, Cryptocurrency
Withdrawal Methods Bank Transfer, Cryptocurrency
Available Cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin,

and 14+ More

Community Trust Great
Security Good
Fees Very Low
Customer Support Okay
Site Visit Kraken

Bitcoin ATMs – The option for the unbanked

Bitcoin ATMs have been growing in popularity lately and will continue to become commonplace as cryptocurrency achieves market adoption. People without access to a reliable banking system or those trying to cut ties with the traditional banking industry consider these to fund their cryptocurrency needs.

Bitcoin ATMs look and operate similar to typical ATMs but only accept cash in exchange for Bitcoin (or other altcoins at some ATMs). These ATMs are one of the few ways that you can purchase cryptocurrency without a credit or debit card.

There are some significant downsides to using an ATM to purchase to crypto, though. For most ATMs, you need to provide a photo ID and take a selfie to make a purchase. This could be a deterrent if privacy is one of your concerns.

However, the biggest drawbacks are the insanely high fees and rates attached to your transaction. Fees can range anywhere from 3-5% and the exchange rates are almost always worse than the market rate.

At the time of this writing, Bitcoin had a price of ~$5,970 according to coinmarketcap.com.

Bitcoin on Coinmarketcap

 

The exchange rate at the nearest ATM to me listed Bitcoin at the price of $6818.92. That’s a markup of over 14%.

Bitcoin ATM

These fees and poor exchange rates aren’t likely to decrease until more ATMs are on the market and cryptocurrency has wider adoption. For now, though, they’re still a good option for people outside of the banking system or travelers who often pay similar fees to exchange currency outside of their country.

You can find a map of ATMs around the world here.

Conclusion

There are numerous reasons why Coinbase is so popular among new investors, but, as you can see, alternatives exist that may be better suited for your needs.

Gemini has more advanced trading options and lower fees than Coinbase without being too complex for new investors.

GDAX is a clear next step beyond Coinbase and provides instantaneous, free fund transfers for Coinbase users. Like Gemini, GDAX has low trading fees and displays numerous charts to help with analysis.

Kraken should be your exchange if you want to buy more than just Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The platform has comparatively low fees and includes different interfaces appropriate for each type of trader.

Bitcoin ATMs have ridiculously high fees but give the convenience of being able to purchase cryptocurrency easily without a bank account.

Steven Buchko

Steven is a cryptocurrency writer at Coin Central and a blockchain investor. He is also the co-founder of Coin Clear, a mobile app that helps you invest your spare change into cryptocurrency.