If you have started to delve into the cryptocurrency space only recently, then it would not take a genius to guess that buying some cryptocurrency of your own might be the next thing on your agenda.
Given that the assumption is correct, you would probably be at the point where it’s time to pick an exchange to actually get some Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies of your choice.
When it comes to purchasing and trading cryptocurrencies, Coinbase and Bitstamp are two of the most famous exchanges in the world. These two exchanges command the attention of quite a large user base and it looks like they both will continue to grow for a while now.
These names are certainly spoken of in many a conversation in regards to cryptocurrencies. Therefore, we thought to compile a side by side guide on both exchanges in order for you to easily determine which out of these two should you select for your cryptocurrency trading needs.
What is Coinbase?
Coinbase was founded in June 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, with the company’s headquarters being in San Francisco, California. From there, they started building the world of Coinbase, which would grow to be one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges on the web.
Coinbase is a massive exchange platform for buying, selling, trading, or even storing cryptocurrencies. Their goal is to have a platform that’s open to the world, and to become a “leading global brand.” In addition to being an easy to use cryptocurrency exchange, they also have their own wallet, and they offer a bunch of nice tools for merchants to use as well. They even have a mobile app to let you use Coinbase anywhere you go – and it’s Coinbase app is one of the key aspects which has made the exchange so popular.
Coinbase has done a splendid job of bringing together key parts of the consumer experience, from its aesthetics, functionality and security, the team really seeks to shine through.
What does Coinbase support?
From cryptocurrencies to payment methods, Coinbase doesn’t support everything, so it’s good to look at what Coinbase accepts before you get started. You don’t want to get involved with an exchange that doesn’t carry the cryptocurrencies you’re looking for, it would be quite frustrating to sit through the verification process and do everything needed to sign up, just to be disappointed by the lack of offerings that meets your criteria.
It is always a good idea to see what Coinbase supports from cryptocurrencies to payment methods. Coinbase allows bank connections, and credit card purchases as well.
Coinbase’s supported Cryptocurrencies:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Ethereum Classic (just added!)
As mentioned above, Coinbase has a pretty small list of accepted cryptocurrencies. Hence, it could be possible that if you are looking for any other cryptocurrencies than these 5 popular ones, then you might have to look elsewhere.
However, if you’re looking for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin or Bitcoin Cash,then it goes without saying Coinbase can certainly help you with that.
Coinbase supports a fair amount of countries including major markets such as the United States and United Kingdom as well as Australia and a slew of European countries.
Countries Where Coinbase’s Services are Available:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
The next thing you’ll want to know for Coinbase, is what payment methods are accepted. They can vary from country to country, but you’ll normally have the same three options for most places.
- Bank account.
- Debit card.
- Bank Wire transfer.
- Another cryptocurrency wallet.
By offering credit card purchase and fiat deposits and withdrawals, Coinbase gets to be in a line of a handful of exchanges that still support fiat deposits from their users in addition to accepting cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals.
The exchange also has a very easy to use yet highly secure wallet of its own which is accessible through its user-friendly app, which means that if you sign up with Coinbase, then you may not need an additional wallet service.
Coinbase: Buying and Selling
Coinbase requires its users to complete a detailed verification process in order to employ industry best practices pertaining to anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) procedures. The verification procedure usually gets completed in a few days and users are then all clear to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on Coinbase.
Buying coins through Coinbase isn’t all that difficult. To buy cryptocurrencies with Coinbase, you just have to follow a few very simple steps.
- Create an account and complete the verification process.
- Navigate to the “Buy” page.
- Pick out the type of currency you want, and how much you want to buy.
- Choose the wallet where you would want to the funds to be deposited.
- Select whatever payment method you’ll be using.
- Then confirm, and click buy to finish your order for the cryptocurrency.
As you can see, buying coins from Coinbase is relatively simple to do. Selling your coins is also just as easy and simple as purchasing them as well.
- Create an account and complete the verification process.
- Navigate to the “Sell” page.
- Put in the amount that you’d like to sell.
- Pick out which wallet will be providing the funds that you will be selling.
- Select the account for the returning funds to be deposited.
- Check your order, and click on “Sell” to confirm your order.
It is however, important to keep in mind that there is a minimum amount you can buy and sell with your coins. Coinbase states that it is a minimum of “2.00”1 of your local currency (out of the one which it supports). For example, this would be $2.00 in U.S. Dollars and €2.00 in Euros.
Coinbase Fees & Pricing
Coinbase has two major fees. One coming from your exchange rate, and the other being the conversion fee itself. The exchange rate is a fee someone pays to trade the cryptocurrencies back and forth over the network. The exchange rate is calculated “as the market rate of the digital currency on Coinbase’s GDAX platform” while also taking into consideration the size of the transfer, and the “market volatility.”
Coinbase’s other major fee comes from the Conversion Fees. These come from using their conversion service (most places have a fee for conversion services). These fees will always vary depending on where you live, and also what your payment method might be. However, Coinbase will always let you know what fees you’ll be paying before you make a transaction, so you’ll know what your total should be before it’s completed. They also show the fees used on the receipt you’ll receive for making the transaction as well, so they aren’t trying to hide these fees from you. A full list of their information for fees can be found here.
Usually, the fees for buying with a credit or debit card are at a 3.99% fee, while bank account transactions have a fee of around 1.49%.
The fee for withdrawals for SEPA and UK accounts stands at €0.15, while for the U.S, outgoing wire transfers are charged at a rate of $25.
While the deposit and withdrawal fees are on par with a few exchanges, the trading fee of credit card and bank deposits through the app makes Coinbase one of the more expensive exchanges to trade with, since most exchanges work on a trading model of less than 0.5%.
However, since Coinbase offers services such as credit card purchases and that too through its user-friendly app, it makes up in delivery what it lacks in providing economical pricing.
Therefore, if pricing is not an issue, and all that you are looking for is a trusted exchange that allows you to trade cryptocurrencies easily and safely, then Coinbase might just be the exchange for you.
What is Bitstamp?
So we’ve talked a lot about Coinbase, but what about Bitstamp?
Well, Bitstamp is another cryptocurrency exchange that was founded in Luxembourg, Slovenia in August 2011 by Damijan Merlak, and co-founded by Bitstamp’s current CEO, Nejc Kodric. It was originally founded to be a “European-focused alternative” to then-dominant bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. Their current business address has them located in London, United Kingdom.
Bitstamp is yet another cryptocurrency exchange that claims to be secure, fast, and trusted – and for the most part, it delivers on what it claims
They’ve been around a little longer than Coinbase, and are one of the exchanges that have been around very early on in the world of cryptocurrencies.
What does Bitstamp Support?
Just like with Coinbase, you’ll want to know what things Bitstamp actually supports before getting started with it. For all you know, they may not have the cryptocurrency that you’re looking for, or they may not work with your specific payment method either. So as always, you should know what Bitstamp can work with first.
Bitstamp’s Supported Cryptocurrencies:
- Bitcoin Cash
Similar to Coinbase, Bitstamp also does not support a lot of cryptocurrencies, but it still supports one more cryptocurrency than Coinbase in the form of Ripple.
However, if you’re only really concerned with using any of the aforementioned cryptocurrencies and not other altcoins, then Bitstamp would be able to provide you with a good set of services.
Bitstamp’s Supported Countries:
Bitstamp also has a global reach for its services. and it can run exchanges all across the world with no issues. With that being said, in circumstances involved with using a credit or debit card, there are some limitations for locations and countries, but otherwise, Bitstamp can let you trade all across the globe.
Bitstamp’s Supported Payment Methods:
- Credit/Debit Card
- Wire Transfer
- Cryptocurrency deposits.
Bitstamp is basically the same as Coinbase for payment methods, where it allows its users to use debit and credit cards as well as bank accounts for fiat deposit and withdrawals, while also supporting cryptocurrency withdrawals and deposits for supported currencies.
Bitstamp Fees & Pricing
Just like Coinbase, Bistamp has some fees as well. Most exchanges actually have their own fees, so this isn’t anything new. These fees are really just coming from the withdrawals and deposits on the site.
Their fees is divided into tiers, where it starts from 0.25% for any trader having a 30 days’ trading volume of less than $20,000, and keeps decreasing for those who have a higher trading volume on the exchange, ending with just 0.10% for a trading volume of more $20,000,000.
For Bitstamp’s deposits, your “SEPA” deposits would be “free of charge” according to their website. However, there are fees for international wire transfers, and these fees are usually at 0.05%. Usually a minimum of 7.50 USD or EUR is needed on Bitstamp’s end for the fees.
As for Bitstamp’s withdrawals, the fees here are different than the deposit fees. There are fees for SEPA withdrawals, which are a fixed rate of €0.99, with the minimum SEPA withdrawal amount set at €10.00. However, international withdrawals have a 0.09% fee, which is usually roughly $15.00. The minimum amount you can withdraw internationally is $50.00.
With that being said, when these withdrawal fees are compared with other exchanges, it seems that they are on the same level as being practiced throughout the industry.
Bitstamp: Buying & Selling
- Just like Coinbase, Bitstamp requires its users to go through a verification process in order to comply with industry standard AML and KYC procedures of its own. Typically, the verification takes a few days to complete, after which users can use the complete set of services offered by Bitstamp.
- Bitstamp also makes it fairly simple to get the cryptocurrencies you’re trying to get. While it does not sport an interface that is as simple and easy to use as the revered Coinbase app, Bitstamp does charge lower fees than Coinbase.
- It also comes with a traditional trading interface that is relatively convoluted when compared to Coinbase app, yet it still remains easy to comprehend when you give it a few minutes.
- Due to that traditional trading interface of Bitstamp, you aren’t directly buying or selling cryptocurrencies, but you’re trading them for other currencies just like on a conventional exchange. However, the process still remains simple to operate.
- For instance, what you need to do to in order to start trading on Bitstamp is to:
- Create an account with Bitstamp and follow the verification process. Put some of your funds into your Bitstamp account.
- Pick out a trading pair, and tell how much you’d like to buy.
- Place the order, and then confirm it by clicking the “Buy” button for the currency.
Coinbase or Bitstamp?
Both Coinbase and Bitstamp are popular and credible cryptocurrency exchanges that have a large user base and an immensely high trading volume to boast. However, much like entities in any other industry, both of them their pros and cons.
That being said, neither of these exchanges are just “good” and “bad” but one might be less suited to you than the other. So let’s go over why they’re good, why they’re bad, and whether they’d be a good fit for you.
What makes Coinbase good?
Coinbase has a really good reputation. It’s been around for quite some time and is currently considered as one of the most popular exchanges in the world.
- Coin Insurance
Coin deposits are insured.
- Beginner Friendly
Coinbase is considered to be very user friendly and simple to use.
It has great security and uses 2-Factor authentication.
Coinbase has a popular mobile app, and mobile wallet services.
What makes Coinbase bad?
- Monitored Accounts.
While this can be good for security, it does mean accounts aren’t totally anonymous.
- Slow Support.
They have good support – when they get to you. It can take a while for support to help you out.
- Limited Cryptocurrencies
They have a very small selection of cryptocurrencies.
Fees at Coinbase are considered to be pretty high.
What makes Bitstamp good?
Bitstamp has a worldwide reach to users all over the globe and it’s considered as a revered cryptocurrency exchange.
It has really good customer service.
Bitstamp has been around a bit longer than Coinbase, and has a bit more experience.
What makes Bitstamp bad?
- Fees for Credit Card.
Similar to Coinbase, Bitstamp has somewhat higher fees when it comes to credit card purchases.
- Limited Cryptocurrencies.
It has a very limited number of cryptocurrencies.
- Security Breach.
Even though it’s fairly secure, Bitstamp did suffer a big security breach in 2015.
While both Coinbase, and Bitstamp have a lot of good things that make them unique and useful, they also have some shortcomings that can make them less than desirable.
So which is better?
It really comes down to what’s most important to you. Coinbase is known for better security but it’s support services have been known to take quite a long time to get back to you.
On the other hand, Bitstamp can reach a world-wide trading audience, but it’s also had a security breach in the past. Although the exchange hasn’t had any other massive security issues, it is still a worry many users can have for the future.
So is the better support and global exchange a better option for you? Or maybe you feel that the security and coin insurance is more your style? Either way, both exchanges bring their set of good and bad to the table.
Therefore, this round could be called for either one of these exchanges. Coinbase and Bitstamp are both good exchanges if you’re looking into purchasing or trading cryptocurrencies easily, one will fit your needs well, and the other not so much. At the end of the day, it all depends upon your criteria.
Most prefer to start of their cryptocurrency journey by playing it extra safe and going with Coinbase, but as stated earlier, it is all up to you.