In this Coinbase vs. GDAX comparison, we’ll walk you through the key differences and help you decide which platform is better for you.
Two Platforms from the Same Company
Coinbase and GDAX are two separate but connected platforms, owned by the same company, yet they cater to very different types of traders and users.
GDAX is a full-fledged cryptocurrency exchange for professionals to trade digital assets. It allows users to trade cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum, as well as EUR and USD fiat currencies. GDAX works similarly to traditional stock and forex platforms, but the platform does not provide an official wallet service, nor are they looking to introduce merchant services at this point. GDAX also allows users to trade using a variety of different strategies, including:
- Margin Orders – This means you can margin trade with a leverage between 2x and 3x depending on the crypto trading pair, which is a very risky way to go about trading. However, the upside can be enormous.
- Stop Orders – This allows you to set stop losses. This means that if the price drops to a certain threshold, GDAX will automatically sell a specified amount of your cryptocurrency.
- Limit Orders – This feature allows users to set a price limit that you want to purchase something at. For example, if you think the price of Bitcoin is going to drop overnight, you can set a limit buy for a lower price, and if the price does drop, GDAX will fulfill your order at the lower price.
- Market Orders – This is pretty standard on any exchange and can be done on Coinbase. However, you will pay a lower fee if you do it on GDAX.
Deposits and withdrawals can be made using cryptocurrencies or using bank transfers. You can also transfer funds instantly between your Coinbase and GDAX accounts.
Customer USD funds in GDAX are FDIC insured. This means that your balance up to $250,000 is protected.
GDAX comes with a very intuitive interface and provides users with charting tools and a trade history.
Coinbase is geared towards retail consumers and cryptocurrency newcomers, and it aims to make purchasing, selling, and storing cryptocurrency as easy as can be. Instead of requiring users to trade on a market, Coinbase allows you to purchase Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum directly from them at a set price, and this price is typically very close to the current market price being traded on GDAX.
In addition to bank transfers and cryptocurrency deposits, Coinbase also allows users to make withdrawals using PayPal. They also allow users to use credit cards to make purchases, something few exchanges offer.
Coinbase vs. GDAX: Key Information
|Site||Visit Coinbase||Visit GDAX|
|Company Location||California, USA||San Francisco, CA, USA|
|Site Type||Easy Buy/Sell Methods||Cryptocurrency Exchange|
|Available Cryptocurrencies||Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC)||Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC)|
|Buy/Deposit Methods||Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card||Bank Transfer, Cryptocurrency|
|Sell/Withdrawal Methods||Bank Transfer, PayPal, Cryptocurrency||Bank Transfer, Cryptocurrency|
|Fees||~4% buying with credit cards,|
~1.5% buying with bank transfer
|~.25% or less|
Deposit and Withdrawal Methods –Coinbase offers additional payment methods, including PayPal withdrawals and credit card deposits.
Beginner Friendliness – Considering the company’s goals with these two platforms, it should come as no surprise that Coinbase is the more beginner friendly option.
Fees – GDAX shines when it comes to saving on fees, with no fees charged on maker trades. Trading fees are typically .25%, and volume-based discounts can drop these fees down to .1%. Check their fee structure page to see the specifics.
Coinbase charges ~4% when using credit cards or PayPal and ~1.5% when buying or selling via bank transfer. It’s important to note that Coinbase offers some of the lowest credit card buy/sell fees in the industry. One more thing worth noting is that alternative payment methods will always have higher fees.
Keep in mind that both these sites use the same back-end and are both insured and backed by some of the biggest players in the finance world such as Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, and the New York Stock Exchange.
GDAX currently operates in the United States, Singapore, Australia, Canada, and Europe (including UK).
Coinbase serves customers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Spain, Malta, Monaco, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Singapore, Slovakia, Portugal, San Marino, Poland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Canada, Croatia, Belgium, and Bulgaria.
Which Site is Best for You?
Coinbase is the perfect option for those who are looking for a simple way to purchase and store Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum.
On the other hand, if you’re familiar with trading platforms or willing to learn to use them, GDAX is the option that can help you to save a ton of money on fees, as well as enjoy the much greater functionality.
GDAX looks complicated, and if you are a beginner, it may seem like a scary big step to jump from something as simple as Coinbase into GDAX. However, you’ll get the hang of it after you watch a few tutorial videos and play around with the options.
Both platforms come from a trustworthy company, well respected in the cryptocurrency community and they both offer something valuable to the right group of people.
Coinbase vs. GDAX Pros and Cons
- It has lower fees than “easy buy” competitors
- You can purchase cryptocurrency faster than most exchanges
- You can buy cryptocurrency with bank transfers and Credit Cards and Debit Cards
- Beginner friendly and easier to use than an exchange
- It safely stores customer funds
- Regulated and trustworthy company.
- It has slightly higher fees than most exchanges.
- Wallets are less secure than a wallet that is controlled by you
- It monitors how you spend your cryptocurrency
- International market
- Low fees
- Good liquidity
- Customer support could be better
- Not beginner friendly