Coinbase vs. Coinbase Pro (GDAX): Comparison and Review


Coinbase and Coinbase Pro (previously called GDAX) are among the top U.S.-based crypto exchanges and both have an excellent reputation. While both are great options for trading cryptocurrencies, there are notable differences between them.

The two exchanges are owned by the same operators and very popular, so it’s safe to say they are here to stay. Originally, GDAX was called Coinbase Exchange, and its aim was to offer advanced trading capabilities for professional traders. In May 2018, GDAX went through another rebranding process and became Coinbase Pro.

Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro review

Our Coinbase vs. Coinbase Pro review will analyze both exchanges and reveal the differences between them which will allow you to decide which one best suits your needs.

Coinbase was designed for casual and beginner crypto investors and as a result, it has a clean and minimal interface. The platform allows newcomers to easily purchase Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Litecoin directly from their bank accounts.

Coinbase Pro caters to seasoned traders, including additional capabilities. Since both exchanges have the same owners, transferring fiat currencies between the two is a streamlined operation.

While this is not the focus of today’s post, it’s worth mentioning Coinbase also has an exchange platform called Coinbase Prime designed for institutional clients.

Sign up

Signing up on Coinbase is a breeze and doesn’t take longer than creating a new email account. Furthermore, since the two platforms are linked, once you create your Coinbase account, you will automatically have a Coinbase Pro account.

After you log into Coinbase, you can easily link a bank account, credit, or debit card so you can use your local fiat currency to purchase any of the available cryptocurrencies. Right now, the two platforms allow you to purchase with fiat BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, LTC, and ZRX.

User Interface

Both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro have modern interfaces, but they are different as each platform has its own goals. Being oriented toward beginners, Coinbase’s UI is simple and familiar so anyone can easily purchase crypto with no need to gain any trading skills.

Coinbase also has a mobile app so those who want a way of purchasing crypto from their smartphone can use it to buy, sell, send, and receive cryptocurrency, check current prices, as well as their wallet balance.

Coinbase Pro fees

Coinbase Pro has a more feature-rich interface which includes various advanced capabilities. The most notable ones are trading from crypto to crypto, placing market, limit, and stop orders, advanced charts for short-term trend analysis such as order books, depth charts, volume, and so on, as well as lower fees, compared to Coinbase.

Deposits and withdrawals

Coinbase and Coinbase Pro allow you to make fiat deposits via bank transfers.

If you want to purchase cryptocurrencies directly with fiat, you will first need to link your bank account on Coinbase. This means you’ll have to verify two micro-transactions the exchange will send to your account. Then, you will be able to purchase the supported digital coins directly from your bank account.

Regarding withdrawals, both services provide multiple options including the ability to withdraw your digital assets to a crypto wallet for a low transfer fee. Crypto can also be exchanged for fiat on both platforms, and even directly to your bank account. Gdax fee is, however, lower than Coinbase, we’ll cover that soon.

Furthermore, Coinbase allows withdrawals to PayPal, as well as purchasing crypto using a credit card.

Order types

Coinbase doesn’t actually have order types. It simply allows you to purchase the digital assets it provides at the given prices and there are no other customization options.

Coinbase Pro allows you to place margin orders, stop orders, and market orders. As a result, the trading experience on this platform is much more flexible.

Coinbase and Gdax (Coinbase Pro) fees

Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX) fees are quite attractive and range between 0.1% and 0.3% depending on your total USD trading volume from the past 30 days. You can see all the details on their fees here.

On Coinbase, the fees are significantly higher likely because this platform is so convenient to use. When purchasing or selling crypto, the fee is 1.5%. If you want to buy crypto directly from your credit card the exchange will take a 4% fee. As you can see, Coinbase Pro fees are much lower, probably because this is a professional trading platform that aims to encourage traders in being as active as possible so the focus on volume makes perfect sense.

Interestingly, you can skip the higher Coinbase fees by using the two platforms together. Since having a Coinbase account means you will also have a Coinbase Pro account, you can fund your Coinbase account via a bank transfer to your USD wallet. Then, go to Coinbase Pro and create your account, visit the deposit screen and you should have the option to fund your account via Coinbase.

Finally, move your Coinbase funds to Coinbase Pro and you will be able to purchase your selected currency with much lower fees.

Security and support

Both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro have state-of-the-art security. They even offer ultra-secure “vaults” to their users, as well as custodial services to business clients and companies.

While many crypto exchanges are still having trouble offering decent customer support that’s not the case with Coinbase. They have reliable support staff and 24/7 customer support lines for urgent issues. However, for generic questions, it is best to use their support centres.