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Bitstamp vs Coinbase

We compare two of the largest crypto exchanges in the world to see how they stack up.

Bitstamp and Coinbase are two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Each allows their users to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies as well as offering a broad range of additional applications, such as staking crypto to earn interest on cryptocurrency holdings. Both exchanges are regulated. Bitstamp is based in the European Union and is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world as it started trading in 2011. The US-based Coinbase began selling cryptocurrency in 2012.

Bitstamp and Coinbase are two of the five exchanges – alongside Gemini, itBit and Kraken – that provide data to create the Bitcoin Reference Rate, which is used by professional derivatives exchanges such as CME Group for its Bitcoin futures products. As such, both are well-regarded in the industry.

One of the main differences between Bitstamp and Coinbase is the range of cryptocurrencies they each allow people to trade. As of 19 May 2021, Bitstamp only allows trading in 23 cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, while Coinbase offers users 63 coins to buy and sell.

Coinbase is much easier for beginners to use than Bitstamp. Bitstamp is aimed at more professional traders, while the set-up of Coinbase will be familiar to anyone who has used an online banking app.

Disclaimer: This page is not financial advice or an endorsement of digital assets, providers or services. Digital assets are volatile and risky, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Potential regulations or policies can affect their availability and services provided. Talk with a financial professional before making a decision. Finder or the author may own cryptocurrency discussed on this page.

At a glance

Bitstamp

Coinbase

LocationLuxembourgUnited States
Supports fiat currencies?
  • USD, EUR, GBP
  • USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN
Range of supported cryptocurrencies77 cryptocurrencies239 cryptocurrencies
Features
  • Instant buy
  • Staking
  • High liquidity
  • You can deposit crypto free of charge
  • SEPA deposits are free for EU users
  • Instant buy
  • Recurring buy
  • Coinbase Wallet
  • Coinbase Earn
  • Staking
Fees
  • Up to $10,000 per month: 0.5%
  • Up to $20,000 per month: 0.25%
  • Up to $100,000 per month: 0.24%
  • US$10 or less: $0.99
  • US$10 to US$25: $1.49
  • US$25 to US$50: $1.99
  • US$50 to US$200: $2.99
  • Crypto-to-crypto: 2%
Customer supportOnline help centre, email and social mediaOnline help centre, email and social media
User interfaceIntermediate
  • Differing set-up for beginner and professional traders
  • You can set limit orders for buying crypto at market
  • Simplified app for iOS and Android users
Beginner
  • Many currencies and deposit methods are available
  • User-friendly interface
  • Fast and simple crypto buy and sell
  • Access to sophisticated platform Coinbase Pro, available with the same account
  • Set up recurring buy for regular purchases
Set-up for new usersNew users must provide the following:
  • Email address
  • Proof of ID
New users must provide the following:
  • Email address
  • Proof of ID
  • Selfie” photo with current date for verification
Supported countriesGlobal (some US states may have to provide additional verification)Global
Learn more

Features

Bitstamp

  • Instant buy: Buy crypto instantly with a credit card.
  • Staking: Use Bitstamp Earn to gain interest on your crypto funds.
  • Trade live: Use the order book to see what prices others are paying.

Coinbase

  • Recurring buy: Automate your regular crypto purchases.
  • Coinbase Wallet: Get a free hosting wallet to spend the coins you buy.
  • Coinbase Earn: Get free coins for watching videos and learning about crypto.
  • Staking: Earn annual interest on your crypto holdings.
  • Convert: Swap crypto instantly without having to buy and sell.
  • Instant buy: Buy crypto with a debit card.

Supported cryptocurrencies and fiat

Bitstamp

  • Supported fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP
  • Supported cryptocurrencies: Approximately 77 cryptocurrencies

Coinbase

  • Supported fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN
  • Supported cryptocurrencies: Approximately 239 cryptocurrencies

*Availability varies by location

Trading Fees

Bitstamp

Like other cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitstamp charges a fee every time users buy or sell cryptocurrency. These fees depend entirely on how much you trade in every 30-day period and are calculated in US dollars. The higher the value of your trades, the less you will pay in fees.

For most casual users, the fee is 0.5%. Bitstamp charges this to anyone who trades between $0 and $10,000 per month. More frequent traders will see their fees decline substantially. For example, anyone who trades more up to $100,000 a month pays 0.24% per trade.

A full list of charges is available on the Bitstamp website. Specific extra fees may apply. For example, as of 12 May 2021, Bitstamp charges a 0.02 ETH fee to withdraw ETH from the exchange. For those buying crypto directly with a credit card, be prepared to pay a 5% service fee on top of any fees charged by your card provider.

Coinbase

Coinbase also offers a sliding scale trading fee structure. On top of a 0.5% fee for buying and selling crypto, users pay either a flat fee per trade, or a variable fee based on the region and payment type used, whichever is the higher of the two.

In general for transactions between $10 and $200, the flat fee ranges from $0.99 to $2.99 per trade.

Converting crypto-to-crypto comes with a 2% fee, although this amount can change slightly depending on the price difference between the two cryptocurrencies at the time of conversion.

Payment methods

Bitstamp

  • Bank transfer
  • Credit card
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Debit card
  • SEPA
  • Faster Payments (FPS)

Coinbase

  • Bank transfer (ACH)
  • Debit card
  • PayPal
  • Wire transfer
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay

Volume

According to Coinmarketcap.com, Coinbase is the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, with a 24-hour trading volume of over US$9 billion as of 21 May 2021. Bitstamp is much smaller, with around US$1 billion changing hands every 24 hours, but it still ranks in the top 10 largest cryptocurrency exchanges.

Bitstamp claims that it has around 4 million users at last count, while Coinbase is much bigger, with 43 million total users as of May 2021, and around 2.8 million people actively trading on the exchange every month.

Security

Bitstamp requires users to provide ID verification in the form of a driver’s licence or passport, as well as proof of residency such as a utility bill or bank statement, in order to start trading.

Coinbase asks users to upload pictures of the same kind of ID documents (a passport, driver’s licence or other government-approved ID), as well as taking and uploading a “selfie” photo of their face before they can open an account. Coinbase may also request that users verify their identity from time to time after they have opened their account.

Both Bitstamp and Coinbase offer two-factor authentication (2FA) for an extra layer of security when logging in.

In terms of how funds are stored, Bitstamp says that it holds only a very small proportion of cryptocurrencies in its “hot” (online) wallet and that it is secured using multi-signature technology to stop hackers from gaining access to user funds. It also says that the vast majority of coins are held in a “cold” (offline) wallet, although it does not give a percentage figure for this.

Coinbase reports that 98% of customer cryptocurrency funds are stored offline in cold storage, and the other 2% that is held in online storage is insured, so that if it were ever breached by thieves, customers would be able to get their stolen cryptocurrency reimbursed.

Bitstamp does not offer a free cryptocurrency wallet, so users have to connect their own external wallet to the exchange to trade and use the service.

Coinbase, by contrast, does offer a free hosted wallet service as part of its basic free package for everyday users.

Of the two exchanges, only Bitstamp has been hacked. In 2015, hackers managed to access Bitstamp’s hot wallet and steal 19,000 BTC. At the time, they were worth around US$5 million. Today the same amount would be worth US$774 million! Coinbase has never been compromised by hackers.

Regulation

Bitstamp is regulated in Luxembourg and holds a licence under EU law to act as a payment institution. This gives it the right to do business in all 27 EU member states. Because of Brexit, and the UK leaving the EU, Bitstamp has been temporarily registered in the UK as a cryptoasset business until 9 July 2021, while it waits for its application to the UK Financial Conduct Authority to be approved.

Coinbase is headquartered in San Francisco in the US and is registered as a money services business with the United States regulator FinCEN. This means that it has to follow a set of guidelines and laws around protecting consumers, and keep a record of customer IDs. Coinbase is also authorised to issue e-money in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Verdict: Should you use Bistamp or Coinbase?

Bitstamp

Bitstamp’s user interface may be confusing for first-timers, but it has a lot of functionality under the hood for more experienced traders.

Its fees are demonstrably lower than on Coinbase. Some might be put off by its uncertain regulatory status, and it is more suited to sophisticated or high-value traders than the average cryptocurrency buyer.

Coinbase

Coinbase offers more features than Bitstamp, is easier to use for beginners, offers a wider variety of coins to trade, and also offers a free hosted wallet to everyone who signs up. So it has lots of things going for it. That said, the fees that Coinbase charges are much higher than Bitstamp and can quickly add up if users are doing a lot of trading.

Coinbase is also now a public company, having listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange on 14 April 2021, so it has to be transparent with its finances, its regulatory status and its ownership.

All in all, Coinbase is a solid choice for beginners and casual users dipping their toe into the crypto pool for the first time.

What to consider before using Bitstamp or Coinbase

Bitstamp

Pros
  • Well regarded in the industry
  • Used by lots of professional traders
  • Good customer service
  • Relatively low fees
Cons
  • Limited number of coins to trade
  • Interface can be off-putting and difficult for beginners
  • Regulatory status uncertain
  • No wallet provided with your account

Coinbase

Pros
  • User-friendly set-up for first-timers and novices
  • Free wallet provided with all accounts
  • Trusted brand that’s registered with regulators
  • Large number of coins to buy and sell
Cons
  • Relatively high fees
  • Extensive ID requirements and verification can cause delays
  • Can be slow at times of high demand

Keen to consider alternatives? Check out our comparison of over 50+ cryptocurrency exchanges.

Disclaimer: 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.

Whether products shown are available to you is subject to individual provider sole approval and discretion in accordance with the eligibility criteria and T&Cs on the provider website.

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Bybit Cryptocurrency Exchange

Bybit Cryptocurrency Exchange logo
  • Offers leverage and derivative trading
  • Supports EUR, GBP and CHF
  • Licensed to operate in all European countries
Go to site
Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.

KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange

KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange logo
  • Buy, sell and trade over 700 crypto assets
  • Supports 10 Asian fiat currencies
  • Offers crypto futures trading
Go to site

Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange

Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange logo
  • Buy, sell and trade over 200 crypto assets
  • Licensed to operate in 17 jurisdictions in Oceania
  • Supports AUD
Go to site

Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange (Not available to US users)

Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange (Not available to US users) logo
  • Supports over 300 crypto assets
  • Binance Pay enables users spend their crypto
  • Binance P2P supports multiple African fiat currencies
Go to site

Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange (Not available to US users)

Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange (Not available to US users) logo
  • Supports over 300 crypto assets
  • Binance Pay works with Credencial Payments to support crypto payments
  • Binance P2P supports five Latin American fiat currencies
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Bybit Cryptocurrency Exchange

Bybit Cryptocurrency Exchange logo
  • Supports leverage and derivative trading
  • Supports 300 spot trading pairs
  • Low-to-non-existent trading fees
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Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.

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