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Coinbase vs. Wealthsimple: Which crypto exchange is better?

Canada’s Wealthsimple goes head to head with one of the world’s biggest crypto exchanges.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

How does Canada’s Wealthsimple match up to crypto giant Coinbase when it comes to fees, coins and security? Coinbase is known for its educational approach and beginner-friendly platform, but its fees can be on the high side. While Wealthsimple is newer to the crypto world, it is already using its expertise in stock trading to create an easily accessible platform for Canadians to buy and sell digital assets. Here’s our Coinbase vs. Wealthsimple breakdown to help you choose the platform that’s right for you.

Round 1: Coinbase vs Wealthsimple on vital statistics

In terms of vital statistics, Coinbase and Wealthsimple are relatively matched. Although not registered, Coinbase is one of the most used platforms with over 98 million verified users. In contrast, Wealthsimple’s crypto services are offered under a time-limited registration through the Canadian Securities Administrators’ Regulatory Sandbox, showing that it is committed to working with regulators.

Both exchanges adopt a beginner-friendly approach and have easy-to-use platforms. Coinbase goes one step further and gives users the opportunity to earn free crypto when they complete learning modules on its platform. But Wealthsimple is Canada’s first-ever regulated crypto platform. And Coinbase is not currently available to residents of Ontario.

Coinbase Digital Currency ExchangeWealthsimple Crypto
Overall rating★★★★★★★★★★
Costs rating★★★★★★★★★★
Exchange locationUSACanada
Offers a debit card
More InfoMore Info

Winner: Draw

Round 2: Supported coins

If it’s how many coins are supported, then Coinbase wins hands down with a far greater variety available. But if you aren’t particularly concerned about obscure altcoins, then Wealthsimple has a solid variety and includes the major coins of BTC and ETH.

Coinbase Digital Currency ExchangeWealthsimple Crypto
Number of tradeable crypto assets25765
More InfoMore Info

Winner: Coinbase

Round 3: Supported fiat currencies

Wealthsimple is purely a platform for Canadians, so it is understandable that its only supported fiat currency is Canadian Dollars. While this may well fit with your crypto trading needs, it can be useful to have options – and Coinbase certainly can offer that.

Coinbase Digital Currency ExchangeWealthsimple Crypto
Number of supported fiat currencies232
More InfoMore Info

Winner: Coinbase

Round 4: Fees

Fees on Coinbase’s basic platform can be confusing and sometimes costly, often varying depending on payment method, cryptocurrency or location. In contrast, Wealthsimple has no fees for fiat deposits or withdrawals. There are no trading fees, but it does roll an operations fee into the prices it displays.

Coinbase Digital Currency ExchangeWealthsimple Crypto
Deposit FeesWire transfer: US$10
Cryptocurrency: Free
ACH: Free
Trading FeeMaker fee: 0.00-0.4%
Taker fee: 0.05-0.6%
Withdrawal FeesWire transfer: US$25
Cryptocurrency: Price varies depending on the asset
ACH: Free
Deposit methodsDebit card, PayPalCryptocurrency, Interac e-Transfer, Wire transfer, Linked bank account, Bank transfer (EFT), Online wallet, Debit/credit cards
More InfoMore Info

Winner: Wealthsimple

Round 5: Wallets

Wealthsimple’s custodial wallet allows users to move digital assets outside exchanges and platforms as well as transfer crypto in to host it all in one place. However, it is relatively limited in the number of coins you can withdraw. Coinbase’s wallet has a wider reach, supporting every ERC-20 token as well as a host of decentralized apps. It is also a self-custody wallet, which means you retain control over your crypto assets.

Winner: Coinbase

Round 6: Security

Coinbase’s size and popularity mean that it has in place insurance and undertakes regular security audits to ensure its customers’ assets are safe. It has experience hacks in the past but reimbursed all affected customers. Wealthsimple’s crypto trading is offered by Wealthsimple Digital Assets (WDA), a registered derivatives dealer. Cash is also held with a custodial broker, ShareOwner, and crypto is held with Gemini Trust Company, a qualified custodian under Canadian securities regulations.

Winner: Wealthsimple

Round 7: Ease of Use

Both Coinbase and Wealthsimple have user-friendly interfaces and features designed to help crypto newcomers on the first steps of their journey. Coinbase is known for its learning resources that look to educate users on the crypto basics. On the other hand, Wealthsimple’s app allows access to both crypto and traditional stock trading and is designed to make it easy to track your portfolio.

Winner: Draw

Wealthsimple vs. Coinbase Winner: Wealthsimple

It was extremely close between the two platforms, but if you are a new crypto investor in Canada looking for a simple and easy-to-use platform, then Wealthsimple could be a good choice. It supports a many core cryptocurrencies and keeps its pricing transparent and simple. While Coinbase is bigger and supports a wider variety of coins, it is not available to residents of Ontario. If what you are looking for is a slick, beginner-friendly experience, then Wealthsimple has all you need.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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