GDAX vs Coinbase: Fees, Differences & Comparison

Coinbase and GDAX (now known as Coinbase Pro, but we’ll get into that later) are two of the most well-known cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Newcomers often turn to one of these exchanges when buying and selling cryptocurrency for the first time.

While both exchanges are owned by the same company, each offers their own distinct advantages. Additionally, the type of investor you are will decide which option makes more sense for you to choose. So let’s take a look at these two high-profile exchanges and determine which one is right for you.

GDAX

GDAX Logo

GDAX was established in 2015 as a cryptocurrency exchange which gives people the ability to trade, buy, or sell a selection of coins. The Global Digital Asset Exchange is owned by the same company that runs Coinbase.

However, the company that owns both GDAX and Coinbase have made the decision to rebrand GDAX as Coinbase Pro. Many still refer to it as GDAX, so when you hear or read about it, remember that it is now called Coinbase Pro.

One of the main differences between Coinbase Pro and Coinbase is the appeal and additional features for more experienced traders and investors. Those who use Coinbase Pro for trading are interacting directly with other users. Coinbase Pro aims to match sellers with buyers and vice versa. Additionally, Coinbase Pro users have the ability to deposit funds with fiat currency. If you have a Coinbase account, you can easily move your money over to Coinbase Pro.

Coinbase Pro trading screen

Features

When it comes to features, Coinbase Pro provides more options to users. For example, Coinbase Pro users can buy and sell cryptocurrency in a variety of methods. They can perform stop orders, limit orders, and margin orders. Let’s take a quick look at what these three terms mean.

Stop Order

A stop order is used when you want to limit the losses of a trade. Let’s say you bought Ripple at $300. You can set a stop order for $100 so that if the market crashes and the price continues to fall, the exchange will automatically close the trade for you at $100.

Limit Order

Limit orders let you buy or sell digital currency at a certain price. If you only want to buy Ethereum when it hits $200, set a limit order and when the price drops to that point, the exchange will automatically buy the coin for you.

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Margin Order

With a margin account, you can trade with more value than you actually have. You are essentially “borrowing” money from a broker, which increases your leverage. The margin order feature is suited more for traders with greater knowledge of how the market works since it involves higher risks.

Trading with Coinbase Pro also gives you the ability to create an in-depth chart analysis. You can view historical data along with real-time information in a number of customizable ways. This helps when you are trying to predict which way the market will move in the foreseeable future.

It’s important that you keep in mind that the additional features available on Coinbase Pro are definitely not for beginners. Be sure that you know the ins and outs of each feature before taking to the platform and risking your money.

Security

Security is an important aspect of any exchange. Several have been hacked in the past, so users want to be sure that their exchange of choice is safe. Coinbase Pro regularly performs routine security checks and audits on the platform for its user base. This helps to ensure that your data doesn’t become compromised.

In addition to regular checks, Coinbase Pro also keeps 98% of your money protected and secure in cold storage. This means your cryptocurrency is saved in an offline wallet. And, if the worst occurs and you do lose your money, Coinbase Pro will take care of you. Although the exchange has never been hacked, they carry FDIC insurance which covers damages for up to $250,000.

One last feather to put in the Coinbase Pro cap is a recent study performed by ICORating. Based on the results of the study, Coinbase Pro ranked at the top of all exchanges when it came to security. Its two-factor authentication and high-ranking web security make it an exchange you can use with confidence.

GDAX Fees

Like several other exchanges, Coinbase Pro uses the maker-taker method for its fees. Makers place orders which aren’t immediately filled by matching to an already existing order. Takers, on the other hand, are performed at market price and filled right away. Maker traders pay no fees on Coinbase Pro.

As you look at the fees associated with Coinbase Pro, remember that you can divide an order into multiple orders. You can also create an order that includes both taker orders and maker orders. In this instance, the orders are charged the corresponding fees, which of course do not include fees on the maker portion.

Pricing with Coinbase Pro is based on tiers. Essentially, every retail investor in the world will be paying the highest fees. However, here’s a quick breakdown on taker fees based on each tier:

  • $0-10m – 0.30% taker fee, 0% maker fee
  • $10m-$100m – 0.20% taker fee, 0% maker fee
  • $100m and up – 0.10% take fee, 0% maker fee

Coinbase Pro basis the trading volume on the past 30 days and anything on the books not made in USD is first converted to USD. Then the orders are filled from the most recent book and then Coinbase Pro calculates the volume.

In addition to taker fees, there are deposits and withdrawal fees for certain types of transactions. Digital Assets and ACH deposits and withdrawals are free, while wired USD deposits will cost you $10 and withdrawals will set you back $25. Additionally, SEPA (EUR) deposits and withdrawals with cost you just 0.15 EUR.

Coins and Currencies

Coinbase Pro supports USD, EUR, and GBP fiat currencies. For digital currencies, the exchange supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum Classic. Coinbase Pro offers a wide range of trading pairs, which you can find here, along with each region supported by the exchange.

Support

If you need support from Coinbase Pro, you can fill out a form on their site and they’ll provide a response to help you. The site also offers a number you can call if you’d prefer to speak directly with a real person.

At this time, Coinbase Pro does not offer a mobile application, however, you can access the site via your mobile web browser. The mobile web page, the menus, and displays are nearly identical to that of the desktop browser page. 


Coinbase

Coinbase mobile and desktop graphic

Coinbase launched in 2012 in San Francisco, California. The exchange has served more than 12 million users and supports 32 countries. Since its inception, Coinbase has exchanged over $40 billion in cryptocurrencies.

Within a year of its launch, Coinbase was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world whilst also becoming the Bitcoin startup that attracted the most funding. Where other exchanges might make their users trade in a marketplace of buyers and sellers, Coinbase gives users the ability to trade with them at a fixed price. 

Features

Coinbase is the ideal cryptocurrency exchange for those that are new to the digital currency industry. This is due to how easy Coinbase have made buying coins and how they accept commonly used payment methods. As a result, Coinbase is arguably the best exchange for new users available.

Buying Bitcoin on Coinbase image

That being said, other than buying or selling Coins to and from Coinbase, there aren’t a whole lot of features available on the exchange. That doesn’t mean Coinbase isn’t worth using. Many people use the exchange as an online wallet.

As opposed to withdrawing their coins from Coinbase, users can keep their digital currency within a Coinbase wallet. Additionally, if the need arises, users can transfer their coins from Coinbase over to Coinbasea Pro.

Security

From a security perspective, Coinbase is right up alongside Coinbase Pro as one of the most secure exchanges available. As a United States based entity, Coinbase is required to comply with all US state and federal laws. Exchanges operating in other countries may not face the same level of scrutiny or stringent regulations.

Coinbase offers a level of transparency other exchanges do not provide when it comes to storing user funds. The exchange separates customer funds from company funds and does its part to protect user deposits. If the company goes under, Coinbase has stated that neither the company nor its creditors have a right to consumer funds.

From a storage perspective, Coinbase says that 98% of digital currencies belonging to users are kept offline. Most are in paper or hardware wallets stored within safety deposit boxes or vaults. Additionally, anything kept online is insured, and if Coinbase is hacked, users will be reimbursed with any monies lost.

To prevent the worst from happening, Coinbase provides 2-factor authentication, which is performed through an SMS message to your phone, or via a third-party application like Google Authenticator. You’ll also receive a notification if a new or unknown IP address tries to access your account. No matter what, the safest method for you as a user is to store your cryptocurrency offline in a wallet controlled by you. However, if you are going to keep your crypto on any exchange, GDAX and Coinbase are probably your best bets.

Coinbase Fees

Trading costs on Coinbase for digital currency trading are comprised of two components: conversion fees and exchange rates. This might get a little confusing, so if you need more clarification, be sure to visit the Coinbase site for additional info.

The cost of trading from the exchange is made up of the bid/ask spreads at the time of buying and selling. However, the cost of converting digital currencies is the greater of either (1) the set minimum fee or (2) the percentage fee. The percentage fee is based on the amount of the transaction.

Flat fees are based on the following:

  • Transactions less than or equal to $10 – $0.99
  • Transactions more than $10 but less than or equal to $25 – $1.49
  • Transactions more than $25, but less than or equal to $50 – $1.99
  • Transactions more than $50, but less than or equal to $200 – $2.99

Coinbase users are not charged a fee to use the hosted digital wallet available through the exchange, however, any transfers made to external addresses are subject to transaction fees which are paid directly to miners.

Overall, using Coinbase is more expensive vs GDAX in terms of fees, and that’s true compared to other cryptocurrency exchanges too. It’s safe to say that fees are not the strong point for this cryptocurrency exchange. However, what you are paying for is the convenience and ease of use.

Coins and Currencies

Even though Coinbase only supports a limited number of digital currencies, it does a very high volume amount of trades. Currently, on the Coinbase exchange, you can buy and sell Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum Classic. Coinbase has plans to expand their selection of coins, which would allow users to buy even more different cryptocurrencies.

This is where Coinbase really sets itself apart from other exchanges. Not only does Coinbase accept cryptocurrency deposits, but it also provides support for fiat deposits as well. Users have the ability to deposit money into their Coinbase wallet, and then use it to buy the cryptocurrency of their choice.

Additionally, users can sell their digital currencies on exchange for fiat currency and cash out their crypto profits. Coinbase supports CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, and USD fiat currencies.

Support

Coinbase offers plenty of support pages for its customers to access if needed. The page is split up into different categories that should give you answers to some of the more common questions or problems you might run into. If you can’t find the answer, US and UK users have a number they can call, or Coinbase offers communication via email. Typical response times range from 24 to 72 hours.

Additionally, if you want to buy or sell cryptocurrencies while you’re on the go, Coinbase has a mobile application you can use. If you’re traveling and need to move some of your digital currencies around, you can do that through the easy to use mobile app. It is available for both iOS and Android devices and has the all the features you would get from the website. The mobile app also has a way to keep track of price movements and can send you automated notifications when one of your currencies reaches a certain price point.


Comparison Table: Coinbase vs GDAX

Coinbase and GDAX (Coinbase Pro) share many similarities, however, they also have their differences. Here’s a comparison table for a quick review of what each exchange has to offer.

 Small Gdax logoCoinbase logo
CryptocurrenciesBTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, and ETCBTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, and ETC
Fiat CurrenciesEUR, GBP, and USDCAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, and USD
Margin TradingYesNo
2FAYesYes
Payment MethodsCrypto, Bank wire transfer, ACH, SEPACrypto, Bank wire transfer, ACH, SEPA, Credit/Debit card
Deposit FeesNoYes
Withdrawal FeesYesYes
Customer SupportEmail and PhoneKnowledge Base, Email, Phone (US and UK only)
Mobile ApplicationNoYes (iOS and Android)
Best For Beginners

Chosen The Right Option For You?

Creating a Coinbase account will automatically create you an additional GDAX/Coinbase Pro account. So just go ahead and create your Coinbase account then login to the platform you wish to use:

GDAX Vs Coinbase graphic

  • Get access to both Coinbase & CoinbasePro (GDAX) from one account.
  • Access five different cryptocurrencies: BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, & ETC.
  • Deposit with fiat currency.
  • Fully regulated crypto exchange.

Create A Single Coinbase Account: It’s On You To Decide Which Platform To Use


Conclusion & Overall

It’s clear that Coinbase is designed and set up for people new to buying and selling cryptocurrencies, while Coinbase Pro is tailored for more experienced investors. If you’re comfortable with it, there’s no reason you can’t make use of both platforms. As a matter of fact, when you open an account on one, you are automatically registered for the other.

Coinbase is also great for making quick cryptocurrency purchases with fiat money and then using that value to buy additional alt-coins on an exchange that offers more coins. However, Coinbase Pro is great for trading on a secure and safe platform with other traders and users. The platform you should choose really depends on what you need and expect from your cryptocurrency exchange.

Further Reading At TotalCrypto.io
1) Not Convinced By Either Coinbase Or GDAX? Why Not Check Out The Best 5 Alternatives?

2) Want To Learn About The Ins & Outs Of Selecting An Exchange? We Reveal All In Our Detailed Guide.

3) Interested In Storing Your Cryptos Off Exchange? Store Over 100 Different Coins In The Ethos Univeral Wallet.

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