Best Coinbase Alternative? (GDAX vs Gemini vs CEX)

Coinbase is a popular platform for buying cryptocurrencies in 2018. For newcomers it's user interface is very user friendly and less intimidating than exchanges like Kraken or Bittrex, easily allowing Bitcoin to be bought with credit/debit cards.

But Coinbase isn't perfect. It charges very high fees, supports a limited range of countries, offers a limited range of coins (BTC, BCH, LTC and ETH), and has had a lot of negative press around it going into 2018 (things like insider trading and double charging users, some of which isn't their fault directly but does effect them). This guide will go through some alternatives to Coinbase that offer similar features.


See this guide for a more general comparison of crypto exchanges, the below guide will focus on Coinbase alternatives. Any links to exchanges below may be affiliate links (so we'll earn some money if you sign up via them).

Also if you view Bitcoin as an investment rather than something to buy things with online, consider using a CFD (contract for a difference) trading platform like IQ Option. Generally using a CFD is less risky (as they own the crypto on your behalf); and similar to Coinbase, IQ Option is very user-friendly. See this guide for more information.


So when searching for Coinbase alternatives, five names seem to frequently come up:


In this guide we'll go through these five exchanges, and give you the low down as to what you can switch to if you want to give Coinbase a break.


GDAX

We decided to mention GDAX, as it's owned by Coinbase, but it isn't one of our recommended alternatives. Some highlights of GDAX:

  • You can login using your Coinbase account (although they have higher verification requirements, so you'll likely have to fill in some information when first logging into GDAX)
  • Verification for GDAX can be very slow
  • GDAX has much lower fees than Coinbase

The big problem is that the GDAX user interface is much less user-friendly. Unlike Coinbase, where you just have a buy/sell button, on GDAX you need to know what different order types are - not something a beginner would be aware of.


Gemini

Gemini comes up very often when looking for Coinbase alternatives, but we think this is fairly strange. Gemini is most similar to GDAX rather than Coinbase, where you need to be aware of different order types. Its payment options are also much more limited in comparison. What it does offer is strong compliance and collaboration with financial authorities and lower fees (be aware that they only support a limited number of countries likely due to this; currently supporting the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom - although Coinbase also supports a limited set of countries, with better European coverage than Gemini).

Fees

  • Trading fees range from 0.25% to 0/0.10% depending the volume of trading that month
  • Deposits are free (you can use wire transfer or ACH deposit)
  • Withdrawals via wire transfer and ACH are free
  • Withdrawals in crypto are free up to 10 per month

Gemini seems like a good option if you don't mind the hassle of bank transfers, and you want low fees & free withdrawals.


CEX.IO

CEX.IO is the closest alternative on this list to Coinbase, offering the most similar services such as card payments and bank transfers. It also supports a wide range of countries compared to Coinbase/Gemini.

Fees

  • Trading fees are similar to Gemini, ranging between 0.16/0.25% down to 0/0.10% depending on monthly trading volume.
  • Deposits and withdraws are more varied and confusing. Looking at just the Euro (€) section, for mastercard it charges 3.5% + €0.24 to deposit and 1.2% + €3.50 to withdraw.
  • Bank transfers are €0 to deposit and €25 to withdraw.

Available payment methods are VISA, Mastercard, bank transfer, Crypto Capital and SEPA. Some deposit methods aren't available for withdrawal and vice versa, so take a look at their fees page before you deposit money on this exchange.


LocalBitcoins

The Finnish company Localbitcoins is very different to Gemini and CEX, but came up as a popular Coinbase alternative due to it's wide range of payment methods and peer-to-peer functionality. Rather than being a centralised exchange, it facilitates person to person trades in your local area. The company provides an escrow service, where it holds the crypto that is being traded so if there is an issue, the company itself can settle the dispute and give it to whichever party was in the right.

Fees

  • Trading is free unless using advertisements, then it's 1%.
  • Moving currency between LocalBitcoins wallets is free.
  • Moving currency between non-LocalBitcoins wallets requires normal bitcoin network fees.
  • There are other potential fees for what they refer to as 'Custom work'.

Available payment methods are include national bank transfers, Cryptocurrency Trades, PayPal, cash, credit card, Starbucks gift cards, and many more.

Bitcoin.de is a popular alternative to LocalBitcoins, but LocalBitcoins seems cheaper and more flexible (where Bitcoin.de charges 0.8/1% per trade and offers just SEPA bank transfer).


Conclusion

Although Coinbase is popular, there are some great alternatives out there. Depending on your goals; whether it be low fees, a particular deposit/withdrawal method or decentralised trades, one of the above exchanges should be a good place to start.

DISCLAIMER: This site cannot substitute for professional investment or financial advice, or independent factual verification. This guide is provided for general informational purposes only. Anything Crypto is UK-based and not regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). The group of individuals writing these guides are cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors, not financial advisors. The ideas presented are our analysis, learning & opinions on a range of cryptocurrency topics. Trading or mining any form of cryptocurrency is very high risk, so never invest money you can't afford to lose - you should be prepared to sustain a total loss of all invested money.

This website is monetised through affiliate links. Where used, we will disclose this and make no attempt to hide it. We don't endorse any affiliate services we use - and will not be liable for any damage, expense or other loss you may suffer from using any of these. Don't rush into anything, do your own research. As we write new content, we will update this disclaimer to encompass it.

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