Coinbase.com and GDAX.com Review
  • Bitcoin Wallet
  • GDAX Platform
  • Commissions & Fees
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Number of Tradable Cryptocurrencies
4

Summary

Coinbase.com is the largest U.S. based cryptocurrency brokerage platform with an estimated 11 million users. GDAX.com is a cryptocurrency exchange platform owned by Coinbase.com. In this review, find out what you should know if you are trading cryptocurrency.

About Coinbase

Coinbase.com is the largest U.S. based cryptocurrency brokerage platform with an estimated 11 million users. GDAX.com is a cryptocurrency exchange platform owned by Coinbase.com. Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) was launched in May 2016 by Coinbase and accepts customers in the U.S. and internationally. Registered users of Coinbase.com also have access to GDAX.

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Coinbase has seen a parabolic growth of customers from the media coverage and price acceleration of Bitcoin and various other crytocurrencies. Both sites offer trading in four cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC). Coinbase has an incredibly simple interface tailored for investors, whereas GDAX offers more depth, control and tools to accommodate active traders and speculators. Opening an account at Coinbase gains you access to the GDAX platform. Funds can be transferred from a user’s Coinbase wallet directly to their GDAX account instantly. This allows for newbies to get acclimated on the basic Coinbase dashboard and basically upgrade to the more advanced platform when ready. These are two cryptocurrency platforms you should know about.

We are generally dedicated to reviewing stock related platforms, but the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies has funneled a lot of traders into the world of cryptocurrencies. We decided to take a closer look at one of the top tools.

coinbase dashboard

Commissions and Fees:

Coinbase Commissions

Commissions on Coinbase vary depending on the source of the funds making a purchase. All orders are market orders with no ability to place limit orders, thus maker fees.  If buying from a U.S. bank account, the fee is 1.49% with a $0.15 minimum. Credit and debit cards are charged 3.99%. Trades funded from Coinbase USD wallet are charged at 1.49%.  Funds can be deposited into the Coinbase wallet directly from a bank account or credit/debit card. Transferring from Coinbase wallet to GDAX is free and instantaneous.

GDAX Commissions

GDAX implements a maker and taker schedule for commissions. Maker orders are free. This applies when placing and getting filled on limit orders on the bid to buy and on the ask/offer to sell, providing liquidity. When buying on the bid or ask, usually with a market order or above ask buy or below bid sell limit order, the taker commission schedule applies. BTC markets have a 0.25% taker fee and ETH and LTC have a 0.3% taker fee.

  • 0 percent (~0 BTC) – 0.25 %
  • 1 percent (~6,483.83 BTC) – 0.24 %
  • 2.5 percent (~16,209.58 BTC) – 0.22 %
  • 5 percent (~32,419.16 BTC) – 0.19 %
  • 10 percent (~64,838.33 BTC) – 0.15 %
  • 10 percent (~129,676.65 BTC) – 0.10 %

At the end of the day, a rebate is issued based on percentage of total exchange volume per product that a trader has participated in the last 30-days. There are no maintenance fees.

Account Fees and Margins

There are no account maintenance or software fees on either Coinbase or GDAX cryptocurrency platforms.  Bank fees apply for wire transfers. Neither platform provides margin or leverage. USD deposits are covered by FDIC insurance up to $250,000 per customer on GDAX.

Platform Features and Tools:

Coinbase is the gateway platform with the basic tools designed for easy introduction, onboarding and acclimation to the world of trading cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency platforms. As users gain more experience, they can migrate over to the GDAX platform. Experienced online traders will transition relatively quickly as the tools and order types are familiar.

Coinbase Charts: Coinbase has basic line charts that have time frame increments from hourly to all time for the four cryptocurrencies. There are no indicators or charting tools on the dashboard. The charts are meant to simply eyeball the price history.

coinbase order entry

Coinbase Order Types: Coinbase only allows market orders through both the online and mobile app. While this is convenient and simple, traders will be paying the maximum commission as a liquidity taker on all transactions. Market orders give very little control in exchange for immediate fills. The slippage can be expensive during volatile trading climates.

GDAX Platform: GDAX offers more in depth tools and options that enable more control for experienced traders as part of these cryptocurrency platforms.

GDAX Platform Price Chart

GDAX Charts: GDAX offers diversity with charts by providing many popular technical indicators. Users can choose between candlestick and line charts with time periods ranging from 5-minute to one-day. Exponential moving averages are provided with 12-period and 26-period settings. The depth chart is a visual depiction of the bid and ask sizing at the various price levels. Overall, the charting is still very limited but that can be offset by using a standalone charting platform that has cryptocurrency data feeds like TradingView.com.

Order Book: The order book shows the ask size and prices above, the bid/ask spread and the bid size and prices below with graphical indication of the size on the left side. This is very helpful for traders with level 2 experience.

Trade History: GDAX trade history is a basic time and sales tape indicating the size of the trade, price and time of each trade.

GDAX limit orders

Order Management: GDAX allows more flexible order types. Traders can use market, limit and stop orders. The limit orders enable traders to receive rebates when providing liquidity as maker (IE: selling on the inside ask and buying on the inside bid). Limit orders also have the option to Post Only, which only fills your order as a liquidity maker or Allow Taker, which allows your order to be either maker or taker. Advanced functions also give the trader a time in force option (IE: Good-til- Cancel or Good-for-the-Day). Users can point and click the price level on the order book to auto fill the price amount.   

Trading View Cryptos

Pros

+ Easy gateway into the world of cryptocurrency investing and trading
+ Simple self-explanatory dashboards
+ 24 hours a day and seven-days a week open access to crypto markets
+ Quick executions and maker liquidity rebates available on GDAX
+ Limited cryptocurrencies keeps you focused with deep liquidity
+ No inactivity fees

Cons

–  Charting could be improved with more indicators and multiple time frames
–  No short-selling available currently

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