2019 Expert List: Top 3 Coinbase Alternatives – Blockgeeks
Coinbase is easily one of the most popular crypto exchanges in the world. Not only is its interface very intuitive and easy-to-use, but it allows you to buy crypto with fiat. While it is somewhat limited when it comes to the variety of cryptocurrencies it has to offer, it is incredibly beginner-friendly. In this guide, we are going to be looking at alternatives to Coinbase. What other exchanges are out there which are as easy to use and straightforward as Coinbase? Let’s take a look.
What makes for a good crypto exchange?
An exchange forms a critical component of the crypto ecosystem, acting as a portal between the fiat world and the crypto world. When it comes to exchanges, there are two kinds out there:
- Fiat-to-crypto: Buy cryptocurrencies in exchange for fiat, like Coinbase.
- Crypto-to-crypto: Use the more popular cryptos (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) to buy other cryptocurrencies, like Binance.
So, before we look for alternatives, let’s look at what makes for a good exchange.
- Manageable Fees: All exchanges charge fees on every transaction made. You must monitor these fees to make sure that you are getting the best deal possible. These fees can get out of hand if you are looking to transfer large amounts of money.
- Maximum Caps: Many exchanges impose a maximum cap of the deposits and the number of cryptos a user can buy. Also, it is important to know how much transaction volume an exchange can handle.
- Credibility: Probably the most important factor. Please always make sure that the exchange that you are dealing with has a good and reputable track record.
Why would you want an alternative to Coinbase?
While Coinbase still maintains its status as one of the most prominent Bitcoin exchanges in the world, there are a lot of issues that its users have been facing which has left a bad taste in their mouths.
- High Fees: Coinbase has received a lot of complaints due to its fee structure. They have been accused of charging exorbitant fees. The reason why they do that is that they can. They are one of the most popular exchanges in the world, so they can leverage their popularity to charge more fees.
- Extra Monitoring: Coinbase has a very rigid monitoring system. The company has made it a habit of asking its users plenty of questions regarding their finances. Based on those answers, they have frozen or closed many of their accounts. Reasons for closure include using crypto for online gaming, gambling, and escort services.
- Lack of Availability: This is the biggest knock against Coinbase. They serve only 32 countries. It is very ironic that buying an open, borderless, decentralized currency should be so severely restricted, but this is the reality of the present situation. In fact, with its fees, excessive monitoring, and limited availability, Coinbase has unfortunately started to act as a traditional bank.
What to look for in a Coinbase Alternative?
So, if you are going to look for an alternative to Coinbase, then what are the qualities that you will be looking for? Let’s go through them one-by-one.
#1 More Supported Currencies
While Bitcoin and Ethereum may be the most popular cryptocurrencies which are usually available everywhere. However, if you are a serious trader or just looking to diversify your portfolio, then you would want an exchange that offers a greater variety of currencies. You should make sure that you have a good idea of which coins you want to trade beforehand, so make sure that your exchange has your currency of choice.
You shouldn’t refrain from carefully researching the various coin offerings of different exchanges before you make your choice.
#2 An Easy-to-Understand Platform
The crypto exchange that you opt for must be easy to use. There is no point in signing up for an exchange if you no idea how to use its tools. Before you sign up for anything, make sure you go through a tutorial of what all you need to know to use the tools in the exchange. A written guide or Youtube video should be more than helpful. Also, as a rule of thumb, only opt for exchanges which clearly and succinctly shows you how to buy and transfer cryptocurrencies for their accounts.
#3 Availability in your Country
Finally, please make sure that you are opting for an exchange which is available in your country. You don’t want to sign up for something and go through a tedious KYC process only to find out later that you can’t trade there. The issue of a crypto exchange’s legality is a dicey one and may even vary state-to-state. Please do your research beforehand
Best Alternatives to Coinbase
So, you are ready to begin trading? Let’s go through some of the best Coinbase alternatives.
Coinbase Alternatives #1: Coinmama
Coinmama has been operating from Israel since 2013 and is originally a venture of NBV internationally registered in Slovakia. It allows investors to buy popular coins such as BTC, ETH, BCH, ADA, LTC, etc. It hosts around 1.5 million users around the world and operates in 190 countries. While prices are shown in USD and EUR, you can buy coins using any currency via credit cards. In fact, they recently added an option to sell Bitcoin for Customers in the 37 European countries that are part of SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area).
However, when it comes to buying, the number of coins available is a little limited. They only offer Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Qtum, Ripple, Ethereum Classic and Cardano. Having said that, the company did say that they are looking into adding more cryptos to their list.
Unlike other exchanges, Coinmama doesn’t have an in-built BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, ETC, XRP, QTUM, ADA wallet. If you want to trade in the exchange, then you must have your own wallet for each of the available cryptocurrencies. This could be perceived as both a good thing and a bad thing. While it encourages users to make their own wallet, which is a lot more secure, it is not the most convenient option.
Coinmama Spending Limits
Another highly attractive proposition of Coinmama is its high spending limit, especially with credit card transactions. Users can purchase up to $5,000 each day with a maximum limit of $30,000 per month. Daily limits last for 24 hours from the moment it is reached, while the monthly limit is a moving sum of the previous 30 days.
The actual amount of crypto that a user can purchase is solely dependent on the level that they have reached with the platform. The more documentation the user provides about their identity, the more the currency that they will be entitled to purchase. However, do keep in mind that the predefined daily and monthly limits are applicable regardless of what level the users have reached. The levels are as follows:
- Level 1: To reach this level, users need to just provide a valid government-issued ID. This will allow users to purchase up to $15,000 of crypto from the exchange.
- Level 2: To reach this level, users have to provide two government-issued IDs. Plus, they will need to upload a utility bill or a selfie of the user holding the ID.
- Level 3: This is the highest level that the user can reach in Coinmama. To obtain this level, users have to fill out a short form and return it to Coinmama. A Level 3 user can purchase up to $1 million in crypto.
- One of the biggest advantages of Coinmama is that it allows you to buy crypto via fiat cash. fiat-to-crypto exchanges are usually considered extremely convenient for beginners.
- Speaking of beginner-friendly, the exchange is extremely easy-to-use and has a simple interface.
- Unlike Coinbase Coinmama is available in several countries. It supports most of the sanctioned countries and is also available in the following US states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
- High spending limit regarding crypto transactions. Users can purchase up to $5,000 each day with a maximum limit of $30,000 per month.
- Coinmama is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) in the U.S. This brings in an extra layer of security and credibility into their operations.
- Coinmama is a buy-only exchange. So, while you will be able to buy cryptos, you won’t be able to sell and trade them.
- The range of coins that you can actually buy from the exchange is pretty limited.
- While easy purchase through credit card is extremely appreciated, the flipside is that the fees charged are pretty exorbitant. To use your card, you will have to pay an extra 5% fee on top of the rate that Coinmama charges. However, keep in mind that no matter what exchange you use, buying via credit card will always inflict extra charge.
- Speaking of fees, Coinmama also charges an average fee of 5.5% for every transaction you make. The exact fee is dependent on the number of coins you want to buy.
Coinbase Alternatives #2: LocalBitcoins
LocalBitcoin (LBC) is an exchange based out of Helsinki, Finland and has been operational since 2012. The thing that makes LBC unique is the fact that unlike Coinbase and Coinmama, it is not centralized. In fact, it is a P2P Bitcoin exchange. LBC has Bitcoin buyers and sellers in more than 15,000 cities around the world. Traders can trade between themselves by paying in cash or sending money via wire transfer or PayPal or SEPA or direct bank deposit or anything that the seller wants. Registration in the exchange only requires you to use your email ID. However, if you verify your identity, then you will be raising your trust between traders.
The buyers and sellers set the fees in LocalBitcoins. However, they are still governed by specific rules and regulations.
- Buying and selling Bitcoin is completely free.
- If you advertise your Bitcoins for sale to other LBC users, then you will be charged a 1% fee on all completed trades.
- Sending Bitcoins to the wallets other LBC users is also free. However, the Bitcoin network itself will charge the required transaction fees which you will need to pay regardless.
- In case you are a merchant, invoicing has a 0.5% service fee which is taken from the invoice amount.
- If the invoices are paid using external transactions, you will attract some extra costs as well.
- If custom projects are performed, (e.g. research) a fee of 200 euros/hour is charged. This amount is payable in Bitcoin using the most current BTC/Euros exchange rate.
- Since there is no centralized governing body, there are no limits on the number of cryptos that can be traded on LBC.
You may be a bit wary of LocalBitcoin’s security and credibility since it is a peer-to-peer system. However, they are taking plenty of security measures which should put your mind at rest.
- LBC uses 2-factor authentication or 2FA to add extra security. This is a handy addition which will help prevent account hacks. This feature is not activated by default. It has to be done by the user.
- LBC will keep a record of the IP address of the computer which was used for account creation. The exchange will also keep a record of the browser which is constantly used for logging into the account. If the user uses a new IP address (say they move to a new location), then a verification process is done via email to confirm identity.
- LBC does a rigid KYC protocol to help weed out scammers.
- All the transaction done between the parties uses LBC as an escrow to store the funds. The funds are only released when the transaction has been confirmed to be complete.
- The free structure is pretty fair. The exchange charges zero fees for Bitcoin transactions.
- The security measures are pretty robust and strict.
- The exchange has a map that co-locates sellers with buyers in their region. The is ensures high liquidity of funds.
- The exchange still doesn’t accept clients from the U.S. because of regulatory reasons.
- The customer support is a little slow.
- The exchange also doesn’t have a hard wallet system. As such, the users are responsible for protecting their own crypto.
Coinbase Alternatives #3: Kraken
Kraken was founded by CEO Jesse Powell back in July 2011 and officially launched to the public on September 2013. While they are based out of San Francisco, USA, they still have one of the largest Euro-to-crypto markets in the world. Kraken is available to residents of US, Canada, Japan, and various European nations. It also allows you to deal with multiple fiat currencies like the US Dollar, the Canadian Dollar, the Euro, the British Pound, and the Japanese Yen. Kraken does not currently accept deposits via credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, or similar services.
Alright, so what all cryptos are available for trade here?
Apart from Bitcoin, they also provide trading of Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Stellar/Lumens (XLM), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Augur REP tokens (REP), ICONOMI (ICN), Melon (MLN), Zcash (ZEC), Dogecoin (XDG), Tether (USDT), Gnosis (GNO), and EOS (EOS).
In 2014, Kraken became the number one exchange in the world when it comes to Euro trade volume. They also pioneered the first verifiable cryptographic proof of reserves audit system and was also listed on the Bloomberg Terminal within the same year.
Kraken Security Against Hacks
Kraken has enjoyed a very healthy reputation in the market due to its resiliency to major hacks. In fact, to show how secure it is, Kraken was chosen as the platform by which creditors of the Mt. Gox exchange could receive their claims. Following Mt. Gox’s filing for bankruptcy protection, the admin team chose Kraken as a partner to help creditors receive their payouts. Along with this, consider the following factors:
- The exchange operates a dark pool, which is a private securities exchange that allows large financial institutions and high net worth individuals to make anonymous trades.
- The exchange enables 2-factor authentication.
- Email supports PGP/GPG signing and encryption.
- The exchange helps you to create a master key for account recovery.
Unfortunately, to maintain such high levels of security, certain areas need to be compromised. Account verification in Kraken takes a long time and getting through it does require some patience. To make sure that everything is going smoothly, take care to follow the steps properly.
Customer Spending Limits
Since Kraken operates via a tiered verification system, the trading limits of a user are based on the level of their tier verification.
Tier 0: Users enter this tier by just entering their email address. Tier 0 users are capable of navigating the site, but they can’t make any deposits, withdrawals, or trades.
Tier 1: Users enter this level by inputting their full name, date of birth, country, and phone number. Users can deposit and withdraw cryptos (deposits and withdrawals are allowed in digital currency only). They will be able to trade in cryptos as well. While there is no deposit limit, withdrawals are limited to $2,500 per day and $20,000 per month.
Tier 2: Users belonging to this tier can deposit and withdraw fiat currencies depending on the country they reside in. You can enter this tier after you provide Kraken with your address. Deposits and withdrawals in fiat currency are limited to $2,000 per day and $10,000 per month. Cryptocurrency withdrawals are capped at $5,000 per day and $50,000 per month.
Tier 3: You can enter this tier by giving a valid Government ID and a recent proof of residence. Users from US, Canada, Germany, Japan, and some other countries must be in this tier for them to deposit fiat currencies. Fiat deposits and withdrawals are limited to $25,000 daily and $200,000 monthly. Withdrawals in digital currencies are limited to $50,000 per day and $200,000 per month.
Tier 4: Users enter this Tier after submitting a signed application and KYC documents. Kraken provides Tier 4 accounts to both individuals and corporates.
- Very high-security standards and credibility.
- Has high liquidity.
- Allows bank transfers and margin trading.
- Precise charting is available via Tradingview.
- The signup and account verification time can take a long time (even weeks).
- There is no phone support available. Plus, support response times can be very slow.
- The site is known to have had some downtime, which may affect user experience.
Other Interesting Coinbase Alternatives
If you have had prior trading experience, then you may want to look into some hardcore alternatives like Binance and Bittrex. In those crypto-to-crypto exchanges, you will be able to get your hands on a host of cryptocurrencies that you may want to trade-in. We have written an article some time back comparing Bittrex to Binance – you can check it out here.
Conversely, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating your account in exchange and just want to buy cryptos in the simplest way possible, then you can buy them from us! Just click here and you will be able to buy Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin with your credit card.
We have increased maximum limits for hassle-free transactions:
- First transaction from $50 to $10,000
- Daily limit up to $20,000
- Monthly limit up to $50,000
When it comes to fees, there is a one-time per transaction Simplex fee of 10$ USD or 5% (whichever is greater). Additionally, Blockgeeks will charge a one-time per transaction fee of 2.5%. There are a $50.00 minimum and a maximum of $20,000 per transaction (as stated above).
Coinbase Alternatives: Conclusion
So as you can see, there are plenty of alternatives to Coinbase. If for whatever reason you can’t or won’t use the exchange, there are plenty of other options for you to choose from. We hope that you found this guide useful in your trading journey. If you did, then please share or comment below to share your views.
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