The crypto market has been on quite a wild journey over the past couple of years, with massive highs, devastating lows, new coins popping up all the time, and the fervour caused by the rise (and fall?) of the NFT (Non-Fungible Token). While nay-sayers may harken the death of cryptocurrencies from rooftops, the reality is that blockchain and the crypto market aren’t going anywhere.
If you’ve dabbled in the crypto space before, you’ll likely have heard about Coinbase. There are an increasing number of crypto exchanges that you can use to safely turn your hard-earned AUD into digital assets in order to invest and trade. Coinbase is one such trusted platform, with a great deal of features and safeguards to help you trade in this emerging market. Whether you’re just starting out, or shopping around for a new home to park your wallet, this is everything you need to get started with the Coinbase Exchange.
What Is Coinbase?
Coinbase is a secure online platform for buying, selling, transferring, and storing cryptocurrency (crypto). When compared with other major players in the crypto exchange space, Coinbase focuses on ease-of-use, and offers a simple “one stop shop” that works great for beginners and supports a wide selection of cryptocurrencies. Founded in 2012 in the US, Coinbase currently has over 103 million customers worldwide. It officially launched its Australian exchange in October 2022, coming out of the gate with advanced trading options and a local in-app customer support team.
What Cryptocurrencies Can I Trade On Coinbase?
Coinbase users have access to over 220 of the most popular cryptos on the market, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, the upcoming Ethereum 2.0, Binance Coin, Cardano and more. We’ve gone through some of the larger assets available through Coinbase below, but the entire list is massive. Find out for yourself on the Coinbase assets page here. There are also a plethora of resources in the Coinbase portal on each of the available cryptocurrencies to assist you in your purchase.
- Bitcoin (BTC): The largest cryptocurrency by market cap, considered to be the first wide-scale implementation of blockchain technology.
- Ethereum (ETH): This leading cryptocurrency has received international recognition from technology giants such as Microsoft and Intel. In addition to payments, Ethereum also supports “smart contracts.”
- Ethereum 2.0 (ETH2): Ethereum 2.0 is an upcoming set of upgrades to Ethereum that’s intended to make it significantly faster, less expensive, and more scalable.
- Tether (USDT): An Ethereum token that is pegged to the value of a U.S. dollar (also known as a stablecoin). Tether’s issuer claims that USDT is backed by bank reserves and loans which match or exceed the value of USDT in circulation.
- USD Coin (USDC): An Ethereum token and stablecoin. 1 USDC can always be redeemed for USD$1 for customers with a US dollar bank account.
- Binance Coin (BNC): The cryptocurrency issued by the Binance decentralized exchange (DEX), which is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges by volume. BNB is an acronym for “build and build” and is designed for ultra-fast trading.
- XRP (XRP): This popular cryptocurrency enables real-time payments with greater transaction speeds and lower costs, and is already in use by many well-known brands.
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH): A ‘hard fork’ designed to be a solution to the transaction backlog Bitcoin was experiencing, Bitcoin Cash’s block size is eight times that of Bitcoin.
- Cardano (ADA): Inspired by Ethereum, Cardano differentiated itself with a dual-layer structure running each layer separately, as opposed to Ethereum, where both layers are intertwined.
- TRON (TRX): Tron aims to create a decentralised alternative for digital content distribution via one of the largest blockchain-based operating systems in the world.
- Dogecoin (DOGE): Originally created as a satire, but quickly gaining popularity on social media, Dogecoin is named for an internet meme featuring a Shiba Inu dog (Not to be confused with copydog crypto: SHIBA INU (SHIB)).
- Advanced Trade: Coinbase’s Retail Advanced Trading feature allows you to buy and sell crypto using advanced trading tools, earn staking rewards, and spend with Coinbase Card using one primary balance, on one platform. Advanced Trade has charts powered by TradingView to give you as much information as possible about the crypto assets you’re investing in. In short, it gives you many of the same benefits of Coinbase Pro, with the same liquidity. You can also earn rewards from trading, up to 5.75% APY on eligible crypto balances like USD Coin, staked ETH (ETH2), and more. To learn more about Advanced Trading, check out the Coinbase overview here.
- USD Coin: USD Coin (USDC) is a type of cryptocurrency that is referred to as a stablecoin. You can always redeem 1 USD Coin for USD$1, which gives it a stable price. It’s an interesting proposal that can provide stability to your crypto wallet and allow individuals in any country (such as here in Australia) to hold a US dollar-backed asset with no geographically-tied bank account needed. USD Coin is an Ethereum token, so while it’s designed to be used on the Coinbase Exchange, it can be held in any Ethereum-compatible wallet, including Coinbase Wallet. It’s also currently being massively promoted on the platform as a consistent offering within Coinbase’s many rewards programs. USDC can earn rewards at a rate of 1.0% APY on Coinbase, and also has 0% commission fees on the Coinbase platform. The higher your USDC balance, the more rewards you earn. The higher your USDC balance, the more rewards you earn. Find out more about USD Coin here.
- Learning Rewards: A particularly beneficial program for new users and crypto-newbies, Coinbase offers educational tutorials and quizzes to teach you about the crypto market. Not only do these educational materials not shy away from the inherent volatility of crypto, and provide a great overview of the market to help you get your foot in the door, they also reward you with actual crypto for completing quizzes. It’s a flagship feature of the platform that shows both a long-term commitment to the market, as well as creating tools to educate on responsible trading. Find out more about the Coinbase Learning Rewards program here.
- Coinbase Card: The Coinbase Card is a physical debit card that allows you to spend crypto or AUD anywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted. In the same way that your regular debit card is linked to your everyday account, your crypto debit card is linked to your crypto wallet. Spending with the Coinbase Card has no transaction fees, and you can earn up to 4% back in rewards whenever you make a purchase. Learn more about what you can do with the Coinbase Card here.
How To Get Started With Coinbase
First things first, you’ll need to make an account. You’ll need to be over 18 to start up with Coinbase. If you want to invest, trade, and store crypto on Coinbase, you’ll need:
- A government-issued photo ID (for proof of identity and age verification)
- A computer or smartphone connected to the internet
- A phone number connected to your smartphone (that can recieve SMS text messages)
- The latest version of your browser of choice, or the latest version of the Coinbase App
Coinbase doesn’t charge a fee to create or maintain your Coinbase account, however there are fees that will pop up later down the line that we’ll get to later. Once you’ve made your account, you’ll very quickly be directed towards educational content that will teach you not only how to use the platform, but also tips on the crypto market itself. This eases new users into things, as getting started with trading in crypto can be a hugely daunting task.
How Do Fees Work On Coinbase?
It’s free to create a new Coinbase account, and there is no fee to create or maintain your account. They also don’t charge for transferring crypto from one Coinbase user’s primary balance to another user’s primary balance. There is also no fee to stake or unstake. Coinbase takes a commission based on the rewards you receive from the network. You can cash out your Australian Dollar (AUD) balance to your bank account with no transaction fee. However, you may need to sell your crypto before being able to cash out.
Coinbase may charge fees when you buy, sell, or convert cryptocurrencies. These fees are calculated at the time you make a trade and are determined by a combination of factors, such as your location, the selected payment method, the size of the order, and market conditions. This means you generally won’t know how much you are paying in fees until you make a trade.
This is not uncommon for crypto exchanges, and is the reality of such a constant, fast moving market. Coinbase attempts to manage this by providing a spread in the price to buy or sell cryptocurrencies when you use the simple ‘Trade’ option, as well as in the exchange rate when you convert cryptocurrencies. This temporarily locks in a price for trade execution while you review the transaction details prior to submitting your transaction. Learn more about pricing and fees here.
What Payment Methods Are Accepted?
Coinbase supports both bank transfer, and credit/debit card. The recommended payment option is via bank transfer, as debit card payments do come with some restrictions, as seen below:
Your bank account must be added through your PayID account. Coinbase also notes that your first PayID deposit may take up to 24 hours to complete due to your bank’s security measures.
Is Coinbase Safe?
When trading in crypto, there are always risks to consider. The cryptocurrency market is notoriously volatile, and this should always be kept in mind before making any investments. That said, Coinbase have been in business for over a decade, and have made a name for themselves for running a secure platform. They are a publicly traded company in the United States and as such must fully comply with all requisite rules and regulations, and they also have an admirable number of features aimed at educating its users, preventing foul play and protecting customer investments.
All Coinbase transactions are encrypted end-to-end, and Coinbase uses two-factor authentication on all versions of its platform. It stores 98% of customers’ crypto offline, and maintains a fully audited ledger identifies your account, your fiat and crypto holdings, and tracks your account activity in real time.
Why Trade Crypto On Coinbase?
The Coinbase platform does a great job of lowering the barrier to entry for investing in crypto, with a free, straightforward onboarding process that eases users into trading. At the same time, its interface makes navigating the platform and managing crypto a seamless experience. While it can sometimes result in higher fees than some of its contemporaries, weaved into a fee structure that varies from trade-to-trade, Coinbase more than makes up for it with its easy, user friendly interface and purchasing experience, with a massive number of cryptocurrencies to choose from. The Learning Rewards program is also worth mentioning, with extensive educational material on everything from blockchain to volatility to keep you up-to-date with the crypto market and trading with relative confidence. Read up more on Coinbase, or get started with a free account here.
Disclosure: This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, accounting, legal, or tax advice, or investment recommendations. There is no consideration given to the specific investment needs, objectives or tolerances of any recipients. Recipients should consult their advisors before making any investment decision. This information is not intended to and does not relate to any investment strategy. Coinbase and/or its employees may have a significant financial interest in one or more of the positions, securities, digital-assets, and/or derivatives discussed in this material, or may in the future undertake such a financial interest without notice. Additionally, Coinbase may have financial interests in, or relationships with, some of the entities and/or publications discussed or otherwise referenced in the materials. Those responsible for preparing the materials may receive compensation based on among other factors, their relationship with Coinbase and/or the quality of their work.