Coinbase Vs Coinbase Pro (Formerly GDAX): A Comparison

Coinbase vs GDAX (now Coinbase Pro): which exchange is right for your needs? After reading this article, you will have all the info you need to make an informed decision on which exchange is better suited for you.

Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. The company is run from their headquarters in San Francisco, California.

Coinbase is famously known for its wallet services and fiat-to-crypto exchange.

For most people, Coinbase is the best way to enter the crypto market as people often need to buy bitcoin or ether with their fiat currency before sending it to a crypto-to-crypto exchange (for example, sending Bitcoin from Coinbase to Binance). Coinbase serves over 20 million customers around the world.

Coinbase has 2 core services: the simplified fiat-to-crypto exchange for novice retail traders and the advanced trading platform for professional traders. The advanced trading platform is known as Coinbase Pro (formerly known as GDAX), while the basic exchange is simply known as Coinbase.

Coinbase Pro was founded as GDAX (Global Digital Asset Exchange) in 2016. It was rebranded to Coinbase Pro in May 2018.

There are a number of differences between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro, although both are run by the same company.

Comparing Coinbase Vs Coinbase Pro (Formerly GDAX)

Sign Up Process

Signing up on Coinbase is made as simple as possible. What is required is your name, email, and password.

A verification link will then be sent to the email address supplied. This link will verify the user’s email. After the email is verified, other details necessary for the operation of the account is requested. These include a phone number (for 2FA), address, a mode of identification (which could be either one of international passport, driver’s license, or a government-issued ID card), and a payment channel (such as debit card or credit card).

When sign-up is complete, the user can buy and sell any of the available cryptocurrencies.

Signing up for Coinbase Pro is not so different. An individual can only have one account on Coinbase. This means that users who already have a Coinbase account are required to login with the same email (for Coinbase) when registering for Coinbase Pro.

For those who do not have a Coinbase account, they will go through a similar process of account setup for Coinbase. However, Coinbase Pro will require new users to agree with the Coinbase Pro terms and conditions. Also, additional information may be required.

You must be at least 18 years of age to use any of the Coinbase services.

Countries Supported

Coinbase supports the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies with fiat currencies in 33 countries which includes Singapore, Australia, Canada, USA and 29 countries in Europe. However, wallet services with only send and receive functions are available in 190 countries worldwide. Currently, fiat transactions are not enabled for Singapore, Australia, and Canada accounts.

Coinbase Pro is currently available in 32 countries including US, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and 27 European countries. There are no fiat trading pairs available for Australia, Singapore, and Canada accounts. Hawaii is not supported by Coinbase Pro, although it is a US state.

Available Cryptocurrencies

Available cryptocurrencies on Coinbase are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic and the newly-added 0x.

The fiat currencies supported also include US dollar, GB pounds, and euro. Coinbase expressed support for ERC-20 tokens on their platform earlier in 2018. Not too long later, they announced 5 cryptocurrencies they are considering to add on their platform (which included 2 ERC-20 tokens).

On Coinbase Pro, the 6 cryptocurrencies available on Coinbase are present. This includes the new addition, 0x, which was one of the cryptocurrencies previously announced for consideration on the platform. The trading pairs available for each region is listed here.



API is short for Application Programming Interface. API is basically a pathway for programmers to interact with an application.

Both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro allow APIs on their platform. However, the capabilities of the Coinbase Pro API are better than the basic Coinbase, as users of Coinbase Pro API can build more efficient trading bots.

Trading Features

On Coinbase, the prices of cryptocurrencies are openly displayed. Users can only buy and sell cryptocurrencies at the price displayed on the dashboard at that particular time. There is no flexibility or options around trading for users.

On Coinbase Pro, there are more trading features for users. Users with Coinbase accounts have their wallet balances integrated on Coinbase Pro for trading purposes. The trading options available on Coinbase Pro include market order, limit order and stop order.

Market Order

Market orders refer to orders that are made at market price at a particular time. This is the option that allows the user to buy or sell instantly based on the current price displayed by the exchange.

Limit Order

Limit orders refer to orders that are made at a desired price of the customer but requires a waiting period for the market conditions to come up to the price set by the customer. The waiting period can be a few minutes, hours, days or even months. For example, a user can set a limit buy order for bitcoin at $6,100, when the current price is $6,500. Whenever the price hits that amount, the order is immediately filled.

Stop Order

Stop orders are orders that guard trades against losses or limit the losses on a particular trade. For example, if a user has 1 bitcoin currently priced at $6,500, a stop order can be made for $6,000. This means that if the value of bitcoin drops to $6,000, the 1 bitcoin is automatically sold at that price to avoid further losses as it falls lower.

User Interface

The basic Coinbase platform is designed for retail users and novice traders or people who just want to buy and hodl. It requires no trading experience. The interface is simple, as shown below.

The Coinbase Pro platform is for professional traders that want advanced trading features. Due to the availability of these trading features, their user interface is a bit more complex.

A sample of the user interface is shown below.


It is free to sign up on both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro. The variation in cost is, however, reflected in the fee structure.


For buying and selling on Coinbase, a fee of 1.49% is applied to the transaction. This means if a user makes a buy order for $100, the total amount deducted will be $101.49.

Also, if the user makes a sell order for $100, the total amount received will be $98.51. However, when the transaction is made from a credit or debit card, the fee is 3.99%. This credit/debit card transaction fee can be higher, based on the bank (or card provider) fees.

On Coinbase Pro, it is possible to have as low as 0% in fees. The chart below illustrates the fee structure for Coinbase Pro.

Source: Coinbase Pro website

The taker in a transaction is a user that buys or sells with the market order. They take an order created by another user and hence pay the fees. The maker is a user that buys or sells with the limit order. The maker makes the order and then waits for the market to come to the set price. Users who make a limit order are not charged any fees when the orders are filled.

Transaction Speed

Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are identical when it comes to transaction speed.

.he time taken for deposits ranges from 1 to 5 business days depending on region and mode of deposit. For example, ACH bank transfers in the U.S. takes 3-5 business days, while credit or debit cards purchases are available almost instantly.

Details of the time taken for purchases for each region and withdrawals for each region is clearly expressed by Coinbase.


The Coinbase basic platform to buy and sell cryptocurrencies is designed for people who are beginners or who are not interested in active trading of cryptocurrencies. Coinbase Pro was designed to meet the needs of professional traders who want advanced trading features.

The most significant difference is in the fees charged by each platform. As the fees charged by Coinbase are high, many Coinbase users embrace Coinbase Pro to make the fees significantly less or even 0%.

Coinbase is suitable for beginners and non-regular traders of cryptocurrency, while Coinbase Pro is a better fit for professional and regular cryptocurrency traders.