Coinbase has been the most popular digital currency exchange for several years, but after scandals such as Bitcoin Cash insider trading, and the fact that they have allegedly stolen peoples money many are starting to look for other alternatives. People want a more reliable exchange, one with better a customer service and lower fees.
Here is a list of the Coinbase substitutes that people may find more reliable. Every alternative listed allows customers to buy coins with fiat cash such as USD, GBP, or EUR. Exchanges such as Binance and Kucoin are not listed here as they have no fiat pairings.
Coinbase Alternatives Overview
|Coins you can buy||Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum.||Bitcoin, Ethereum.||Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ethereum, Stratis, Dogecoin, and many more.||Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, Bitcoin Cash.||Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic (ETC), Augur, Quantum, Dash.||Bitcoin.||Bitcoin, Ethereum.|
|Customer Service||Poor customer service, unresponsive to issues raised.||High quality customer service. Prompt response times.||Follows AML and KYC best practices. Promises to refund you if payments arrive late. Waiting times for a reponse typically under a week.||Generally responds within 2-3 days. No live chat option.||Poor customer service, known to withhold transactions.||Mixed reviews regardining customer service. In many cases they cannot refund money as they are only a middleman.||Email and live chat, reasonable response times. No phone number.|
|Fees||1.49%-3.99% fees for buying and selling in most countries. $10 wire transfer fee in the US.||Dynamic fees. 0.25% fee for makers and takers. Fees are lowered when buying large quantities.||Substantially more expensive to purchase small amounts. Rates are not pegged to the market.||$3.70 fee for depositing Bitcoin, $3.90 for withdrawing.||Free SEPA transactions, international wire transfers set at minimum of $15.00. Sometimes includes hidden fees.||Fees are decided by traders rather than the site. Advertising fee at 1%.||5.50% fee, plus 5.00% additional fee added by credit and debit processors.|
|Full exchange features. |
Good customer service.
|ID not needed for some purchases. |
Wide range of coins.
|Built-in wallet. |
|Buy precious metals and other assets as well as cryptocurrencies. |
|Trade with individuals.||Extremely simple interface.|
|Cons||Buying and selling orders. randomly cancelled at times.|
Possibly took part in insider trading.
|Poor range of coins. Can be confusing to newcommers.||Not easy to sell coins. |
No in-built wallets.
Expensive exchange rates.
|EU only.||Poor customer service. |
Confusing to newcommers.
|Easy to get scammed.|
Can only buy Bitcoin.
|No ability to sell.|
No in-built wallet.
Coinbase alternative 1: Gemini vs Coinbase
Gemini is a full fiat-to-crypto exchange which offers the purchasing of Bitcoin and Ethereum with US dollars. In general, the site is designed for traders and investors who handle large funds, but it is still usable for small purchases. Due to the number of analytical features that it offers, Gemini can be daunting to beginners. One of the site’s popular features is its ‘Auction’ function, this is because it allows for simultaneous buy and sells orders to be handled by traders. All Bitcoin wallets on Gemini support SegWitX2 (unlike Coinbase). Another point to keep in mind is that Gemini has a habit of taking a long time to verify users, so it is best to sign up early if you are considering using them.
One of the main reasons people turn to Gemini instead of Coinbase is because their customer service is of a higher quality. Gemini support staff are generally prompt when a dealing with an issue; they take between one to four business days.
The fees on Gemini are dynamic, meaning that they often change in relation to how much you are trading. In general, it is a 0.25% fee for ‘makers’ who add liquidity to the market, a separate 0.25% fee for ‘takers’ who take liquidity away from the market, and a 0.25% fee for auction trades. These fees lower dramatically when higher amounts of money are handled. The ‘maker’ and ‘auction’ fees can be reduced to 0% and the ‘taker’ fee can be reduced to 0.10%. This is by far a cheaper platform than Coinbase.
Coinbase alternative 2: Bittylicious
Bittylicious is a UK based Bitcoin marketplace which operates in the US, Canada, Australia, and most other countries. It has a simple interface due to its stark minimalism. It allows anybody around the world to buy Bitcoin, but to sell it you need to apply to be a broker. In many cases you don’t even need to register to use the service, all you need is a Bitcoin address, an email address, and a supporting payment method. The site allows you to pay with a credit card, but due to legal complications, some payment types will require identification. Bittylicious offers Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Dash, Dogecoin, Stratis, and a handful of other more obscure coins.
At the bottom of the homepage Bittylicious state that they promise to refund you if a payment arrives late. This is a great expression of customer service because it builds trust between you and the exchange. They also state that they follow AML and KYC best practices, but it is unclear how rigorous they adhere to them. Using support tickets is generally fast with waiting times in less than one week. Bittylicious also have a Reddit account which they can be reached by.
Bittylicious is one of the more expensive exchanges on the market, this is because the exchange rates they use are provided by sellers and therefore not pegged to the industry rate. This means that buying small amounts of coins (less than $500) becomes greatly expensive, but large quantities provide a discount. Also, make note that Bittylicious includes the transaction fees and payment fees within their pricing.
Alternative 3: BitPanda (EU only alternative)
BitPanda is one of the easiest exchanges for somebody to use if they are new to cryptocurrency. It is a German site which makes it the perfect substitute for any European citizen; at the moment it is not usable outside the EU. Like Coinbase, it has a simple interface which allows people to swiftly buy and sell several coins. You can buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple. The site also has built-in ShapeShift functionality, meaning that you can quickly send your coins to another location to get converted.
BitPanda requires you to verify your identity as a means of using the site. Verification generally takes a day, but this may change depending on if there are complications. The more verification you give, the higher your purchasing limits are. They also give you different means of withdrawal to fiat cash. ‘Gold Status’ is the highest tier they offer. A fully verified account allows you to buy and withdraw using your credit card, Neteller, Skrill, SEPA, and Giro Pay. This gives you a full control over your finances. In terms of customer service, BitPanda seems to be prompt to respond; they usually take 2-3 days to get in touch via email.
There is a $3.70 fee for depositing Bitcoin and a $3.90 fee for withdrawing. Some may consider this to be unreasonable. For people handling large sums of money, this becomes less of a problem because there is no deposit fee for large quantities. You can find additional information about fees here.
Alternative 4: GateHub
GateHub is an exchange which allows for more than cryptocurrency trades; you can also purchase fiat currencies and precious metals. This makes it a great choice for those who day trade for a living. Unfortunately, this means that it may be confusing to some newcomers to the market. The service includes a full set of analytical tools such as order books, trading logs, and various graphs. GateHub managed to make a name for itself by offering a Ripple (XRP) trading pair before many other exchanges. This is not much of a selling point anymore as numerous other services offer this too.
A major downside to GateHub is that it has poor customer service to the point where many people have lost trust in the company as a whole. Several people have missing transactions and the exchange has been generally unresponsive to support tickets. Common problems with the exchange can be found on the GateHub subreddit.
GitHub’s fees can be found here. As with many exchanges, SEPA transactions are cheapest with deposits being free, and international wire transfers are much more expensive with a minimum fee of $15.00. Take this with a pinch of salt, though, as there is some discrepancy regarding the transparency of the fees. GateHub seems to be charging fees for cryptocurrency deposits at around $25.00 for Bitcoin deposits and $30.19 for Ethereum deposits. This is not normal behavior for an exchange. More information about this can be found in this Reddit post.
Alternative 5: LocalBitcoins
Perhaps one of the most interesting Coinbase alternatives on this list is LocalBitcoins. It is a website which connects Bitcoin sellers to Bitcoin buyers whilst working as a medium. Rather than purchasing coins from, and selling coins to the website, you actually buy and sell directly to other people. LocalBitcoins is simply a means of setting up a dialogue with buyers and sellers. The website allows you to choose the individual user you want to buy from (and to some extent who you sell to). A huge perk of the site is the level of anonymity that it gives. Identification is not needed for many trades which makes it the perfect choice for those who value their financial privacy.
The site gives statistics and helpful data on each Bitcoin seller, such as reviews and feedback, verification status, trustworthiness, and how fast the seller often releases funds. Sellers choose how they accept payment, so it is up to the buyer to decide which payment method works best for them. Buyers also need to be wary of which users they can trust. Cryptocurrency is still largely unregulated so there is a likelihood that a few scam artists can be found on the site.
For some, it may be more efficient and lucrative to sign up as a LocalBitcoins trader. Being a trader gives you the most freedom as it lets you choose your desired payment method as well as set your fees. Do note that it is your responsibility as a trader to maintain good feedback, as anybody will be able to check. The site may require ID from some traders.
Customer service is reasonable but there are times when they cannot help as they are merely a middleman. In cases of malpractice, it is best to message the seller/buyer directly.
LocalBitcoins apply no fees for buying and selling, but users should be mindful of fees which may be added by traders on the site. Each trader sets their own prices and fees so it is best to shop around before choosing one. Traders who use LocalBitcoins’ advertising service are subject to a 1% fee on every trade, You can find a comprehensive guide here.
Another site largely similar to LocalBitcoins is LocalMonero, which functions on the same principals. The only difference is that it focuses on Monero rather than Bitcoin.
Alternative 6: CoinMama
CoinMama is a service which allows you to purchase Bitcoin and Ethereum with Mastercard and Visa cards. It is usable in all countries (including the US, Singapore, and around Europe). One interesting feature is that CoinMama provides various deals, such as purchasing 0.1246 BTC for a rate of $999.99 (as of right now). This makes the buying process extremely beginner-friendly. You cannot currently sell your Bitcoins and Ethereum through CoinMama, but according to their FAQ, they are working on it. CoinMama also does not store your coins in an in-house wallet. To some, this is a positive as it means that your currencies will always be in your own wallets, but many others like to store their coins in a marketplace.
Email and live chat can be used for purposes of customer service. CoinMama generally responds within one business day, but during times of high market fluctuations, they are often slower. They do not have a phone number which is inconvenient.
CoinMama includes a purchasing fee of 5.50%. Credit and debit processors add an additional fee of 5.00%. Details on fees can be found on the CoinMama FAQ.
The following are exchanges or services which are not full alternatives but are still worth being discussed.
GDAX is not so much a Coinbase alternative as it is an extension of Coinbase itself. Coinbase essentially runs GDAX, but using the service offers some perks. GDAX’s fees are set at 0.25%, which is significantly lower than the 1.50% that Coinbase offers. Additionally, there are no transaction fees for Bitcoin. It also has more functionality as it has full exchange trades as well as order books and more in-depth graphs.
The stock trading company Robinhood has recently announced that they will be moving into the Cryptocurrency industry, making them a direct competitor with Coinbase. On the 29th January, it was reported that over one million people signed up for their crypto ‘Early Access’. Many in the cryptocurrency industry are predicting that Robinhood has the potential to overtake Coinbase as it already has a fully functional app for stocks, meaning it will be easy to extend it to cryptocurrency.
Another alternative to Coinbase is Bitcoin ATMs. They make it easy to buy Bitcoin because you can use a credit card or even physical cash. Due Bitcoin’s lack of regulations ATMs has a habit of including hefty fees. If there are several ATMs within your reach you should read up and shop around before picking one. A map of ATMs can be found here.