Coinbase vs Bittrex Comparison

Coinbase vs Bittrex

Coinbase and Bittrex are two of the most popular exchanges for cryptocurrencies. In this Coinbase vs. Bittrex review, we’ll go over everything from the key features of each platform, who each platform is best suited for, and more.

Coinbase vs. Bittrex Key Information

coinbase wallet review logo

Reviews

Coinbase Review

Bittrex Review
Site Type Easy Buy/Sell Methods Cryptocurrency Exchange
Beginner Friendly
Mobile App
Buy/Deposit Methods Credit Card, Debit Card, Bank Transfer Cryptocurrency
Sell/Withdrawal Methods PayPal, Bank Transfer, Cryptocurrency Cryptocurrency
Available Cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin,

and 190+ More

Company Launch 2012 2014
Location San Francisco, CA, USA Seattle, WA, US
Community Trust Great Good
Security Great Good
Customer Support Good Good
Verification Required Yes Yes
Fees Medium Very Low
Site Visit Coinbase

Visit Bittrex

The Coinbase to Bittrex Pilgrimage

Coinbase and Bittrex follow a similar flow of users.

This flow of users might not be so different from what brought you to your search.

Let’s take a guess.

You started out on Coinbase. It was easy to navigate, you bought some Bitcoin, Ethereum, and/or Litecoin and got some skin in the game. In time, you wanted more.

However, the Coinbase fees were starting to look daunting. You wanted to start trading other coins.

You started to look at other alternatives such as Bittrex, Gemini, Poloniex, and others.

Now, you’re here.

Even if this pattern doesn’t accurately describe your journey (as it does mine), it is very insightful to the difference between Coinbase and Bittrex.

See, Coinbase makes for an excellent first platform. This is why it’s the leader in attracting new users and is considered a “unicorn” among startups valued at $1.6 billion. However, many of these users eventually advance their understanding of the cryptocurrency world. They want to explore new waters with different altcoins, and want to stop paying the relatively high Coinbase fees. This is when they end up splitting off to a variety of different exchanges that give them more trading flexibility and offer lower fees.

Many of these users find the features they want on Bittrex, and end up spreading out their holdings across Coinbase, Bittrex, and potentially a hard wallet or two.

This guide will help you to understand the differences between Coinbase and Bittrex, and which is the best fit for you.

Exchange Basics

Keep in mind that when picking a cryptocurrency exchange, you don’t necessarily have to only use one. Each exchange has its strengths, and by spreading out your portfolio you effectively differentiate some of the risk of any of them getting hacked.

So, here are the top features you should consider when comparing Coinbase vs. Bittrex.

Security

In order to be a successful exchange in the modern day, your security has to be absolutely water-tight. There are so many great exchange options out there, and a single poorly handled security threat could be lethal for the exchange company’s user-base.

Coinbase treats USD wallets like bank accounts and are FDIC insured up to $250,000. At any given time, only 2% of Coinbase holdings are exposed, and any losses incurred are covered by a private insurer.

Bittrex uses an elastic multi-stage wallet strategy that keeps 80% to 90% of all funds offline. Bittrex also requires Two Factor Authentication (2FA) for all withdrawals and API usage.

Both Coinbase and Bittrex are considered very secure platforms, but it’s worth mentioning the fact that they are both on the Internet and inherently exposed to a small risk of being hacked. It’s not recommended you store your funds on either exchange long-term because it increases the potential of them getting hacked. Storing them for a short-period is fine, but only keep what you plan to actively trade.

Coinbase, Perfect for Beginners

There’s a reason so many people get into the cryptocurrency world through Coinbase. Coinbase has done a phenomenal job at creating an extremely user-friendly interface and makes buying coins a very simple process.

Users can buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin on both Coinbase and Bittrex, but the platforms are drastically different for beginners.

Bittrex is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to trade coin pairs with each other similar to a stock or forex exchange. This can get complicated for beginners and there’s a lot of room for making small but costly mistakes.

Coinbase, on the other hand, keeps the process very narrow-focused and simple.

When trading fiat currency for Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, Coinbase allows you to deposit your fiat currency and buy your selected quantity. The reason many users prefer Coinbase is because it’s so much simpler and more convenient to use for many first time users. Buying cryptocurrency via Coinbase is a very straight-forward process:

Credit/Debit Card Purchases:

  1. Verify your account & Credit Card.
  2. Instantly buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin at the set price.

buy bitcoin with a credit card on coinbase

finished buy order with credit card on coinbase

 

You should note that the credit card and bank transfer purchasing limits on Coinbase vary by user.  Credit card limits are determined by buying history, account age, and verification status.  If you want to purchase greater amounts, it’s better to use bank transfers since you can immediately access higher limits after you’ve been verified.

Bank Transfer Purchases:

buy bitcoin on coinbase 

  1. Verify your account.
  2. Buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin at the set price.
  3. After a few days of processing, the amount of coins will be in your account.

Bittrex does not offer direct purchase of coins using credit, debit, ACH bank accounts, or wire transfers. The feature is currently closed, but the site claims that Bittrex will be launching better USD markets and options to deposit.

This means you would have to buy your Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin on another exchange such as Coinbase or GDAX, and then transfer it into Bittrex to trade.

It’s highly recommended you use a bank transfer on Coinbase instead of a credit card in order to get the lowest amount of fees.  When you buy coins on Coinbase, you lock in the current price, but you can’t transfer your coins out until after your bank transfer is done being processed.

Customer Support

When it comes to customer support, the cryptocurrency world doesn’t really have anything to brag about. A simple search on Google for any exchange will turn up dozens of seething reviews criticizing the poor customer service of whatever platform you’re looking up.

This is largely due to the massive recent influx of new investors, and most cryptocurrency sites are so consumed with growth that their customer service has become neglected and exhausted.

Coinbase has customer support via email, and it’s not as bad as many of its competitors. Coinbase customer support still has its shortcomings, but it generally responds within 24-72 hours for support tickets.

Bittrex has its fair share of negative reviews for its customer support, but communication is not out of reach. Bittrex offers a support center, as well as a support email at [email protected].

Both Coinbase and Bittrex Are Trusted

Coinbase and Bittrex have been around for a while and are run out of the United States.

As the most popular cryptocurrency exchange platform, Coinbase has attracted a significant amount of investment capital from reputable investors, venture capital firms, and even financial institutions and banks such as the New York Stock Exchange, USAA Bank, BBVA. Coinbase’s USD balances are FDIC insured up to $250,000.

Bittrex doesn’t have the same investment accolades as Coinbase, but it is still seen as a very trusted platform. Bittrex was founded by a group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts with security and development experience from a variety of companies including Microsoft, Amazon, Blackberry, and Qualys. The story behind Bittrex is also pretty interesting, check it out here.

Fees

While Coinbase does offer an extremely user-friendly experience for beginners and has a few more benefits that are unique to the platform, their fees are comparatively high to most other exchanges. This makes sense given the value Coinbase provides, but it’s worth mentioning. Coinbase fees are as follows:

  • US bank account standard buy/sell: 1.49%
  • Credit/debit card buys: 3.99%

If you’re looking to save on trading fees, Bittrex is definitely worth considering.

Bittrex has a simple .25% commission trading fee.  

However, it’s worth noting that Coinbase charges these fees to buy Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum with USD, whereas the Bittrex fees are on the trading of other cryptocurrencies, such as buying Ethereum with Bitcoin.

That being said, you can utilize both Coinbase and Bittrex in your cryptocurrency trading routine by exchanging USD for your coins of choice, then transferring your coins to Bittrex to trade for other coins that Coinbase doesn’t have.

Just a word to the wise, using a credit/debit card will get you a 3.99% fee which should be avoided.

Available Cryptocurrencies on Coinbase and Bittrex

If you want to purchase a bunch of different altcoins, you’ll likely get a lot of value from Bittrex. The ability to buy a wide variety of altcoins is where Bittrex stands head and shoulders over Coinbase.

Bittrex Exchange

Bittrex supports the trading of a whopping 190+ different coins, whereas Coinbase currently only supports the purchase of Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. Coinbase has stated plans to add more coins in the future, but they’ll likely only add a few more of the most popular ones.

Coinbase vs Bittrex: Final Thoughts

If you had to pick one over the other between Coinbase and Bittrex, you might have some difficulty because they serve two different purposes. While there is some overlap between the services they offer, they both possess a huge advantage that the other doesn’t.

Coinbase lets you purchase BTC, LTC, and ETH with USD, something that Bittrex currently does not support.

Bittrex supports the trading of over 190+ different cryptocurrencies, whereas Coinbase only lets you buy BTC, LTC, and ETH.

Something many people do is use Coinbase to get buy their Bitcoin, and then move it to Bittrex or another exchange to purchase other altcoins.
If you’re looking for something simple to get started with cryptocurrencies, Coinbase is a great choice. Once you’ve developed an intermediate understanding and want to invest in other altcoins, Bittrex is a solid next move.

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Alex Moskov

Alex is Head of Content at CoinCentral and a bona fide content nerd. He has experience in startups, digital marketing, and cryptocurrency.