Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro

Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro

Both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX) are exchanges that allow the purchasing and sale of cryptocurrencies. They are both owned by the same company but are aimed at different use cases. Coinbase aims at delivering a highly simplified interface that makes buying and selling cryptocurrencies as easy as possible, even for novice investors.  Coinbase Pro is aimed towards more experienced traders who want more control over their trades and advanced functionality.  Let’s walk through some of the differences between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro and then finally look at the advantages of each.

Coinbase Pro is the new name for GDAX the rebranding was announced in May 2018. 


Since both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro are owned by the same company you will be able to use a single sign on.  When you first sign into the Coinbase Pro website using your existing Coinbase credentials you will then be asked to verify your identity, since Coinbase Pro has additional identification requirements. Once you have completed this initial setup you will then be able to log in with the same credentials on each site.


It is free to sign up for an account on both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro.  To sign up and receive $10 of free Bitcoin use this link.


Since Coinbase Pro offers more features it is available in less regions due to regulations. Take a look at the following list of supported locations to see if your region is supported.

Interface and  Ease of Use

The Coinbase interface is very clean and aims to be foolproof, allowing someone with zero experience of cryptocurrencies to buy them at a set price as easily as they would make a purchase on Amazon. The simplicity comes at the cost of information and options.

The Coinbase Pro interface is at the other extreme when you first load the screen you may feel overwhelmed or like you are the controls of a NASA space shuttle, there is a massive amount of information and it will all be flashing green and red at you. You will have access to more detailed price charts, order books, depth charts plus more trading options which are covered next. To get used to the interface check out our full how to use Coinbase Pro guide.

Buy / Sell Options Coinbase and Coinbase Pro

With Coinbase you basically don’t get any options you either buy or sell at the price and fees offered.  It’s a bit like the old joke about Ferrari’s you can have it in any colour as long as it’s red. With Coinbase Pro being the more advanced tool you get many buy and sell options including :

  • Market Orders
  • Limit Orders
  • Stop Orders

API Support

An API is an interface or a way into an application for programmers.  Both versions of Coinbase offers an API which basically means that people can make their own programs and applications that can interact with Coinbase . The API exposes the capabilities of that version i.e. you will see the advanced trading functionality when using the Coinbase Pro API.

Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro Fees

The cost of simplicity with Coinbase is higher fees, if you purchase via card you will be charged 3.99% and 1.49% if you purchase via deposited funds.

Coinbase Pro is cheaper offering 0% for a maker order or between 0.1% and 0.3% for taker orders. We have previously discussed Coinbase Pro fees in detail.

Coinbase Prime vs Pro

Coinbase Pro is intended for individual investors whilst Coinbase Prime is for institutional investors. Institutions can apply for a Prime account online and must undergo a full compliance review. Prime has features targeted at corporate investors such as algorithmic orders, additional market data and research products.


Coinbase Advantages

  • Nice simple interface,  the easiest place to start for beginners
  • Available in more regions

Coinbase Pro Advantages

  • Cheaper fees or even no fees if using limit orders
  • Greater information available in interface
  • Advanced trading options

Coinbase offers a very simple route to buying and selling cryptocurrencies, if you are new or want the simplest experience this is the choice for you.  If you are a more experienced trader who wishes to save on fees and have more information and trading options go the Coinbase Pro route, whichever route you take transferring between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro is easy. If you are a new user sign up use this link to get $10 of free Bitcoin.

Make sure you fully understand the risks of trading before you begin.

Further Reading

Coinbase Pro Tutorial – Complete trading guide, how to use every aspect of Coinbase Pro including understanding the charts, new interface and trading

Coinbase Pro Fees – Understanding fees and how to trade for zero fees

How to read the Coinbase Pro Depth chart

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