Binance vs. Coinbase: Which Platform is Better?

What to consider when comparing both crypto exchanges

binance vs coinbase mobile
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Let’s compare Binance and Coinbase side-by-side. Binance and Coinbase are two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Many wonder how the two platforms chalk up head-to-head. If you are looking to deep-dive into a crypto exchange platform, you most likely stumbled across these names along your research journey.

One company spawned in the tech-enthused towers of Shanghai, while the other emerged in the VC-ridden hills of Silicon Valley. Despite being two of the three largest crypto exchanges (Huobi Global is the other), Binance and Coinbase have two very different platforms built for different users.

Like many crypto-related products, Binance and Coinbase offer access to different coins and/or platform features based on user location. Some countries take a harder stance on retail trading for cryptocurrencies, whereas other countries completely embrace it.

That makes it difficult for exchange platforms to determine universal rules for all users. Sometimes, it runs them into legal trouble. It’s important to understand your local laws and regulations to determine whether Binance or Coinbase, or any other crypto exchange platform, is the best option for building out your portfolio.

Now we’ll take a closer look at the platform features, currencies offered, and the pros/cons of both Binance and Coinbase. Last, we’ll compare the ease of use and security for each platform. By the end of the article, we hope you will be able to 1) know what to expect from a coin exchange 2) understand what type of coin exchange fits your needs.

Coinbase Overview

Coinbase platform features

Coinbase operates in over 100 countries as both a mobile app and web platform on iOS and Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux. Coinbase allows you to buy, sell, exchange, send and receive its approximate 50 available cryptocurrencies. They also allow you to check prices and chart data for many other coins.

The remote-first company also offers Coinbase Pro with no upfront cost. It permits users to access premium features like lower fees, real-time charting tools and higher-level trading. So why don’t they charge you extra? It really depends on how much you trade. Coinbase Pro uses a maker-taker business model, where orders that provide liquidity (maker orders) are charged different fees than orders that take liquidity (taker orders).

Put simply, Coinbase makes its money off trader fees.

Coinbase currencies offered:

Coinbase offers about 50 cryptocurrencies to send, receive, and/or trade (what you can do depends on the coin). When you think about the more well-known coins like BTC, ETC and LTC, you can assume it’s on Coinbase. Other popular coins like DASH were added in 2019 as part of its growing portfolio of supported currencies.

The list is certainly not exhaustive, but it covers all the bases for a beginner-intermediate-level trader who does not want to dive too deep into the volatile world of altcoins.

Coinbase Pros:

  • Coinbase is an easy solution for users looking to purchase Bitcoin. In crypto, there is a slight barrier to entry for users with US bank accounts (regulations are slowly evolving). Coinbase makes it easy to link your bank account, buy crypto, convert your crypto to fiat and send it back to your bank account. It sounds simple, but the more you immerse yourself in the world of blockchain, the more you’ll appreciate a product that can efficiently accomplish that.
  • Coinbase is also a large player in the space, so you can trust their customer support and infrastructure. They will not respond immediately (none of them do), but their system as a publicly-traded company is robust enough to warrant some accountability.
  • Coinbase is highly liquid, making it a safe choice for investors in a volatile market. You can confidently expect Coinbase to retain your funds.

Coinbase Cons:

  • Unless you are a Coinbase Pro member, exchange fees are high. Coinbase charges 0.50% per trade, which is higher than most of its competitors.
  • Like most centralized exchanges, Coinbase controls user wallet keys. That means you technically don’t own your cryptocurrency, you own a digital asset that Coinbase is holding on your behalf. This is seen as a bad thing because it creates a higher security risk and goes against the original intention of decentralized currency.
  • Limited coin selection. Compared to other exchange platforms, Coinbase does not offer a large variety of altcoins for users. This is partly due to restrictions enforced by US regulators, but Coinbase is still adding more coins to its platform.
  • Customer service is slow. One of Coinbase’s advantages is its institutional-like infrastructure. That includes a deep customer service team. So you can trust them, but for whatever reason, they are still painfully slow. When you run into an issue that needs troubleshooting, expect to wait a few weeks to resolve it. Keep in mind: the industry standard for customer service in crypto is notoriously awful. Coinbase is no exception.

Coinbase is far from perfect. But for US users, it is a clear frontrunner. No other platform in North America can match their security, reliability, accessibility, and ease of use. The high exchange fees are not ideal, but that’s the price you pay for a low barrier to entry. More technical users can seek alternatives, but your everyday trader should be willing to pay a premium for a streamlined crypto exchange service.

If you haven’t already, you can sign up for a Coinbase account here.

Binance Overview

Binance Platform features:

Binance operates similar to Coinbase, as a mobile app and web-based platform. Users can trade over 500 cryptocurrencies and altcoins, plus access to high-level trading tools like limit orders, market orders, and margin trading.

Binance Currencies offered:

Binance offers over 500 cryptocurrencies. So too many to list here. But it is important to note how there are a few key cryptocurrencies not available on Coinbase that Binance offers like Harmony; Coinbase only recently added Dogecoin.

Binance Pros:

  • Binance offers some of the lowest fees in the industry. Users pay 0.02% to 0.10% purchase and trading fees compared to Coinbase’s 0.5%.
  • Binance has a plethora of options for both beginner and advanced traders looking to make different types of transactions.
  • Binance allows transactions for many different coins compared to other major competitors.

Binance Cons:

  • US customers cannot use Binance; they have to use, a significantly more limited product
  • Although Binance’s platform is useful for all skill levels, it can also be quite complicated to navigate because there are so many options. The UI is not as intuitive as Coinbase.
  • Binance has no built-in digital wallet.

If you do not reside in the US, you can sign-up for Binance here.

Binance vs. Coinbase: Ease of Use

Coinbase is the easier option for beginner retail traders. Think of Coinbase as the Robinhood of stock trading, and Binance as the Fidelity or Charles Schwab. For a low-volume trader in the US looking for quick, convenient crypto trading options, Coinbase is the clear choice. Binance is also somewhat easy to use for beginners, it’s UI is just geared more toward users already well-versed in the crypto space.

Neither company is beloved for its customer service. However, Binance is a bit more responsive (IMO) due to their live chat features and social media team. Good luck getting Coinbase to respond to a ticket.

Binance vs. Coinbase: Security

Both exchanges are considered safe, but Coinbase is generally considered a more reputable company. As we mentioned early, Binance had a falling out with US regulators due to accusations of tax fraud and money laundering. German regulators also warned Binance for failing to publish an investor prospectus.

Coinbase is no darling child for security features, but they do a good job complying with regulators. You can feel secure putting your money in Coinbase, but I highly recommend setting up 2FA or other security measures to keep your account safe.

Most hacking occurs at the user level, with scammers setting up spoof emails and texts pretending to be the company. Although they are centralized exchanges, both Binance and Coinbase use cold storage to keep your data from hackers. 2% of Coinbase’s funds are kept in hot storage (making it more vulnerable), but Coinbase will insure your loss of funds if a security breach occurs at the company's side.

Binance vs. Coinbase: Currencies Offered

Like we mentioned above, Binance offers over 500 cryptocurrencies compared to Coinbase’s 47, making it a difficult comparison. The main reason Coinbase has fewer currencies is because US regulators have taken a harsher stance on certain altcoins. Binance has made the decision to not remain US compliant and instead ban US users. It is possible for US-based users to operate under a VPN and still use Binance services, however.

Should I try Binance or Coinbase?

So, is Binance or Coinbase right for me?

If you live outside the United States, I’d recommend using Binance. The fees are lower, they offer more coins, and it’s worth the extra learning curve in the long-term if you are serious about building a crypto portfolio. Once you learn how to get your way around Binance’s platform, it will be much more beneficial to use.

You can’t beat their supported coins list, and with such a large infrastructure, you can feel confident about the security of your funds. As mentioned, most hacks/security breaches occur on the user-side, not the company-side.

For US users, Coinbase is the industry-standard. Anyone with a smartphone and a bank account can buy and sell Bitcoin in seconds. That’s a powerful form of technology that propelled Coinbase to its near $100 billion valuation.

Sure, the prices are high, but unless you want to spend hours reading and researching the best way to retain full control over your crypto, just use the app and pay your fees. You can’t underestimate the value of saving time.

For more serious US-based crypto traders, there are certainly other options to consider, and I’d recommend exploring them. At the most basic level, use Coinbase to buy your crypto and then send it to a cold-wallet or MetaMask. You don’t have to use one service for all your crypto needs.

Happy trading!

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