Coinbase and Crypto.com are two popular crypto exchanges that give investors access to top coins, along with extra ways to earn rewards.
While Crypto.com does offer some unique additional options that could appeal to more advanced investors, we think Coinbase is a better option for most people. Both exchanges have solid security measures in place, but there are a couple key ways in which Coinbase is a better fit for most investors, and especially beginners.
Coinbase was founded in 2012, making it one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in operation. Coinbase was also the first crypto exchange to be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange as a publicly traded company, which brings additional transparency and regulation that benefits investors. Coinbase offers a variety of coin-to-coin trades and makes it easy to liquidate coins and withdraw fiat funds to your bank account. Coinbase does charge higher fees than other cryptocurrency exchanges, but experts we’ve talked to say the fees are worth the security, simplicity, and reliability of the most popular exchange.
Crypto.com offers a full suite of products and services related to cryptocurrency. Like Coinbase, Crypto.com offers a rewards debit card, but Crypto.com has a more developed crypto ecosystem, including operating on its own blockchain and offering its own native coin (CRO). While Crypto.com does have lower trading fees and can be a good choice for many investors, it also has a $500 minimum withdrawal requirement. So if you’re just getting started and only want to invest a few hundred dollars to start, that could present some complexity if you later decide to cash out with less than that amount.
If you’re considering one or both of these exchanges, here’s more information to help you decide which is a better fit.
Before You Invest In Crypto
Experts say it’s smart to keep your crypto investments under 5% of your overall portfolio. Crypto prices fluctuate wildly by the day, and experts also say you’d be smart not to invest more than you’d be OK losing if the market dropped out altogether. Crypto investments should never get in the way of other financial priorities like saving for emergencies, paying off high-interest debt, and saving for retirement using more conventional investment strategies.
|Good for||Ease of use for buy and hold crypto investors||Beginner to intermediate cryptocurrency investors looking for additional crypto products|
|Coins||150+ cryptocurrencies||250+ cryptocurrencies|
|Fees||0.50% spread; Trading fee between 1.49% and 3.99% (or $0.99 to $2.99 flat fee)||Up to 0.40%, with discounts when you use CRO|
|Wallet storage||Keep coins on Coinbase account, Coinbase Wallet option, or transfer to your own wallet||On the exchange, in the Crypto.com Wallet, or transfer to your own wallet|
|Security features||98% of crypto assets held in cold storage, FDIC insurance for U.S. dollar amounts, two-factor authentication||Crypto assets held offline with Ledger vault, FDIC insurance for U.S. dollar balances, multifactor authentication, whitelisting and industry best practices.|
|Additional features||EarnRewards debit card||Rewards debit cardNFT investingCrypto.com PayYield farmingStaking|
|Minimum trades||$2||Equal to the smallest amount of each coin that can be traded|
Pros and Cons: Coinbase vs. Crypto.com
|Pros||• FDIC insurance on U.S. dollar amounts
• Rewards debit card
• Ability to earn rewards
• Simple interface
|• More than 250 cryptocurrencies
• Suite of financial products
• Competitive fees and discounts
• Rewards debit card
|Cons||• High fees
• Not available in Hawaii
• No control over private keys when you keep coins on account
|• Understanding fees and accessing discounts can be confusing
• Must use CRO to see the most benefits from rewards and staking
• Minimum deposit or withdrawal for bank transfer is 500 USDC
Both Coinbase and Crypto.com offer the option to store coins on the exchange using a hot wallet, as well as providing access to noncustodial wallets.
Coinbase also offers its Vault, where you can store your crypto offline without setting up your own hardware wallet. You can also use the Coinbase Wallet on your mobile device or as a browser extension.
Crypto.com gives you storage options too, based on how much access and control you want. In addition to the exchange’s custodial wallet, you could use the platform’s decentralized wallet where you maintain control of your password and keys. Crypto.com’s decentralized wallet offers you a variety of options, including choosing a network for your transactions based on speed and fees.
Both exchanges have solid wallet offerings for beginners and advanced investors alike. Crypto.com likely has more options for advanced traders, but at that point many investors might just as soon consider a third-party wallet as a wallet through their primary exchange.
Coinbase and Crypto.com both have industry-leading security measures in place. Still, no exchange is immune from hacks and these two are no exception. Both also offer some additional insurance coverage for investors.
Coinbase makes it a point to tout its security measures, and offers educational articles to help you use tools like multifactor authentication to better secure your account. On top of that, U.S. dollar balances held on the Coinbase exchange are protected by the Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation (FDIC). Cryptocurrency balances aren’t guaranteed, although Coinbase has some insurance to protect against theft and hacks.
Even with relatively strong security measures, Coinbase has been the target of hacks and other issues. Toward the end of 2021, Coinbase admitted that 6,000 users were impacted by a hack that took place in May. There are also complaints of scammers accessing personal accounts, and frustration over Coinbase’s reaction to stolen funds.
Crypto.com also goes to great lengths to document its security measures. Crypto.com also protects U.S. dollar balances with FDIC insurance and customer cryptocurrencies are held offline with Ledger Vault.
Despite its security measures, Crypto.com was the subject of a $35 million hack in January 2022. The exchange restored user funds and then moved to improve their security features. Some updated measures include alerts for new payee addresses, and Crypto.com joined the Worldwide Account Protection Program, which restores a portion of user funds in cases of unauthorized access.
We reached out to Coinbase and Crypto.com for comment about these issues and for more information, but received no response. We’ll update this comparison if Coinbase or Crypto.com get back to us.
Both Coinbase and Crypto.com are relatively secure and offer decent protections for consumer funds in the event of a hack.
Coinbase offers more than 150 cryptocurrencies, while Crypto.com offers more than 250 cryptocurrencies, including its native coin, CRO. Coinbase does offer CRO too if you’re interested in the coin itself but prefer to engage with this exchange.
If you’re looking for access to a wider variety of available cryptocurrencies, Crypto.com is the clear choice.
Crypto.com uses a tiered maker/taker model for fees, while Coinbase uses a flat fee structure.
Coinbase’s structure is generally more expensive and depends on how large your transaction is, as well as what payment method you use.
In the maker/taker model, when a buyer places an order that isn’t fulfilled immediately, they are considered a maker as their order results in more liquidity for the exchange. By contrast, when someone places an order that is matched immediately, they are considered a taker. A taker generally pays higher fees than a maker.
Crypto.com fees can be up to 0.40%, and you can get a discount using CRO to pay your fees. Navigating how Crypto.com’s fees work and how to access the discount by paying fees with CRO can be difficult. Keep in mind that if you want to withdraw from the exchange into your bank account, you’ll need to use a minimum of 500 USDC ($500). This could be a deterrent if you’re not looking to get in that deep, but if it’s not an issue, Crypto.com could still be the right choice for you.
Finding the fee schedule on Coinbase can also be difficult and you’ll pay some small costs based on transaction amounts. For example, the flat fee on a transaction of $10 or less is $0.99, but the flat fee on a transaction amount between $50 and $200 is $2.99. Beyond a flat fee, you can be charged a percentage of the transaction based on payment method. If you use a debit card or PayPal, you’ll pay a higher percentage than if you use your bank account or Coinbase USD Wallet. Coinbase offers its Coinbase Pro exchange, which uses a tiered maker/taker model, but that is a separate system.
Once you figure out the fees and discounts, Crypto.com is likely to cost you less in fees than Coinbase.
Staking, Credit Cards, Other Options
Both Coinbase and Crypto.com offer Visa rewards debit cards that allow you to earn crypto for each purchase you make with the card. You can stake coins on both and receive interest paid in that particular coin. However, with Crypto.com you need to allocate coins to its Earn feature, while Coinbase allows you to earn staking interest just by holding the coins.
Coinbase also offers you the chance to earn free coins by learning about them. Watch a few videos, and you’re rewarded with coins that you can then trade for other coins or cash out for fiat currency.
In addition to staking and a debit card, Crypto.com offers some products and services that Coinbase doesn’t provide:
- NFTs: Access different NFTs, including collections and drops. Coinbase allows you to store NFTs in your wallet, though it doesn’t have a robust NFT marketplace.
- Pay: Use the Crypto.com network to receive payments as part of your business, or to buy goods and services from others. You don’t need to worry about gas fees and you can get a bonus of CRO to use later.
- Yield farming: Lock up your coins to earn even more by providing liquidity to the exchange and other projects. This offers a higher potential return than staking.
If you’re just looking to buy and hold and keep things simple, Coinbase offers easy staking and the opportunity to use a debit card to boost crypto rewards. Crypto.com, on the other hand, has a richer suite of crypto-related products and services if want to integrate crypto more into your life.
How to Decide Between Coinbase and Crypto.com
We see Coinbase as a better option for more investors, and especially beginners.
Crypto.com will give you more products and services, including the chance to earn returns via yield farming (though you need to be content with most of your rewards and benefits being paid out in CRO). Additionally, Crypto.com will likely save you more on fees.
But if you’re a true beginner, you may do better with Coinbase, as its interface is easier to use, and you can set up all aspects of coin storage — including offline storage in the Vault — without setting up your own hardware wallet or find other solutions. Note that Coinbase is not available in Hawaii.