With stability, an intuitive user experience, and the ability to earn crypto just for learning, Coinbase remains the best platform for beginners. Intermediate investors, however, will appreciate Crypto.com’s lower fees, wider coin selection, and expanded ways to earn and spend their holdings.

Most crypto landing pages feature a simple signup page or a banner for their new crypto credit card. Crypto.com features full-screen Matt Damon explaining how “Fortune Favors the Brave.”

How you like them apples?

Matt Damon in a Crypto.com advertisement

Needless to say, Crypto.com has been both unconventional and unrelenting in its mission to topple Coinbase, America’s most popular crypto platform. They’ve lowered fees, added features, and even bought a stadium to show that they’re serious.

But are those efforts enough? How does the new challenger stack up against the reigning heavyweight champ?

About Crypto.com

Best Crypto Credit Cards: Which Cards Earn You Crypto While You Shop? - crypto.com

  • Trade fees: 0.4% maker, 0.4% taker (<$25k 30-day trading volume).
  • Coin selection: 250+.
  • Trade options: Buy, sell, send, receive, withdraw, and swap.
  • Security: 2FA, FDIC-insured balances for up to $250k, cold storage, a bug bounty program, and more.
  • Access: 100+ countries, all states but New York.
  • Learning resources: Limited.
  • Native coin: Cronos (CRO).
  • Standout features: Stake for up to 14.5% interest.
  • App availability: iOS and Android only.

Originally founded as “Monaco” in 2016, Singapore-based Crypto.com was able to secure the best domain name ever in 2018 for an estimated $5 to $10 million. And while other crypto sites are content to serve a niche under Coinbase’s towering market dominance, Crypto.com is gunning for the throne: CEO Kris Marszalek says he wants a billion users.

They’re off to a good start, having attracted 10 million global users so far with their low fees, wide feature set, and Matt Damon.

Pros

  • Lower fees. Crypto.com’s fees are lower — and more transparent — than Coinbase’s.
  • More ways to earn crypto. Crypto.com enables you to stake crypto for up to 14.5% interest, generate 8% cash back from its Visa, and even earn 10% cash back from simple P2P payments.
  • Slick native coin. Cronos (CRO) is up to $0.50 from its ICO price of $0.10, and HODLing it unlocks additional perks and rewards tiers on Crypto.com
  • Versatile payment options. You can use your Crypto.com wallet to pay dozens of merchants in crypto with no fee, cash in for gift cards, or send crypto to a friend free of charge.
  • Expansive coin selection. Crypto.com offers 250+ coins compared to Coinbase’s 170, and also adds more to the menu at a faster rate.

Cons

  • No desktop/browser option. Crypto.com is a mobile-only experience, and its apps receive lower ratings than Coinbase’s on both the Play Store and App Store.
  • Top rewards locked behind CRO staking. Most of Crypto.com’s top rewards — like 8% cash back on Crypto.com Visa purchases — require you to stake up to $400,000 USD worth of CRO.
  • Questionable longevity. Crypto.com spent eye-watering amounts on marketing just before the 2022 crypto crash, leading some to question its ability to remain afloat.

About Coinbase

  • Trade fees: Between 0.5% and 4.5% plus a flat fee of $0.99 to $2.99.
  • Coin selection: 170.
  • Trade options: Buy, sell, send, receive, withdraw, and swap.
  • Security: 2FA, FDIC-insured balances for up to $250k, cold storage, a bug bounty program, and more.
  • Access: 100+ countries, all states but New York.
  • Learning resources: Expansive.
  • Native coin: USD Coin (USDC).
  • Standout features: Earn free crypto just for learning about crypto.
  • App availability: iOS, Android, and browser.

Coinbase is America’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, and in 2021 became the first crypto marketplace ever to be “knighted” with an IPO. The platform rose to prominence in part due to its founders’ passion; as early as 2014 they were on the phone with execs at Dell, Time, and PayPal, converting them to crypto.

Today, Coinbase maintains its reputation as the most beginner-friendly crypto exchange. It’s tremendously easy to use, boasts an expansive learning library that will pay you to learn about crypto, and features top-of-the-line security to protect user assets.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly. Coinbase eases you in with a superbly intuitive UI, clean graphs, and an incredible array of learning materials.
  • Expansive learning library. Coinbase Learn offers a vast, free learning library covering topics like altcoins, tax implications, etc.
  • Get paid to learn about crypto. Watch a few slick elearning videos and take some brief quizzes and Coinbase will reward you with free crypto.
  • Well-received desktop and mobile apps. Coinbase offers both a desktop and mobile experience that users generally approve of.
  • Larger and more established. Now over 10 years old, Coinbase has passed the SEC’s most rigorous scrutiny to become a publicly traded company.

Cons

  • Fees, fees, fees. Coinbase’s fees are high, numerous, and confusing — a nuisance for casual traders, a complete turnoff for advanced/frequent traders.
  • Meh staking rewards. Coinbase also allows you to stake a few cryptos, but the rewards cap out at 5% (below the rate of inflation).
  • “Limited” coin selection. Depending on your investing goals, Coinbase’s slow, curated approach to adding coins to the menu may feel comforting or restricting.

Fees

Right out the gate, Crypto.com definitely beats Coinbase on fees.

And it’s no surprise, either. Coinbase has been lambasted for years for having fees that are both vexingly high and difficult to understand. Their attitude has basically been “it’s too hard to explain, you’ll just see the final fee when you’re about to complete the trade.”

Folks tend to tolerate Coinbase’s high/confusing fees if they trade small amounts or at a low frequency, and don’t mind hemorrhaging a few percentages for convenience.

Everyone else will prefer Crypto.com’s fee structure, which is both lower and easier to understand. There’s a classic maker/taker structure, free conversions, free transfers, and even a lower credit card purchase fee (not that you’d want to buy crypto with a credit card, but still).

FeeCrypto.comCoinbase
Trade fees0.4% maker, 0.4% taker (<$25k 30-day trading volume)Between 0.5% and 4.5% plus a flat fee of $0.99 to $2.99
Wallet conversion feeFree0.50%
ACH transferFreeFree
Wire transfers (USD)Free both ways ($1k min. required on withdrawal)$10 deposit, $25 withdrawal
Debit/credit card transactions2.99%3.99%
Conversion pairsFreeUp to 2% spread

Features and Functionality 

Both Crypto.com and Coinbase offer iOS and Android apps, a digital wallet, and a native coin (CRO and USDC, respectively). Both exchanges also enable you to buy, sell, send, receive, withdraw, and swap crypto pairs.

Only Coinbase offers a web-based experience. Crypto.com is mobile only (more on that in a bit).

Beyond the essentials, the platforms start to diverge in their focus. Coinbase offers education for newbies, while Crypto.com offers a breadth of features and ways to earn.

Starting with Coinbase, the platform offers a truly staggering array of learning resources:

  • Coinbase Learn lets you soak in everything you could possibly want to know about crypto, from tax implications to how DeFi works to what makes Cardano special.
  • Coinbase Earn will actually pay you in free crypto just for watching short videos and taking quizzes about crypto. If you wanted to build a little ~$25 portfolio of altcoins just to watch it grow, Coinbase Earn is probably the single best way to do it.

By contrast, Crypto.com offers little in the way of educational resources, giving you the sense that it’s catering to a more experienced crowd. That, or they just realize the internet is already full of literature on how to invest in cryptocurrency, so they might as well focus their efforts elsewhere.

So instead of a vast learning library, Crypto.com offers more varied ways to earn and spend crypto:

  • The Crypto.com Visa lineup offers between 1% and 8% cash back in CRO based on how much you stake, plus free subs to Netflix, Spotify, and other perks
  • Crypto.com Pay lets you send crypto to friends for free ala Venmo, pay any merchant in crypto for a small fee, and even top up your mobile minutes — all while earning up to 10% cash back in CRO as you go
  • Crypto Earn enables you to stake your crypto for one month, three months, or the flexible period of your choosing in exchange for interest rates ranging from around 6% to 14.5% p.a. (per year).

It’s worth mentioning that Coinbase also offers staking rewards and a credit card — but staking rewards are lower than Crypto.com and the Coinbase Card is not yet available to U.S. customers.

Neither platform offers crypto lending, since lending is a regulatory mess at the moment.

Overall, neither platform is objectively better in terms of overall features. They’re simply suited to different purposes; Coinbase eases newbies into the fold, while Crypto.com offers long-term HODLers more ways to spend and generate interest.

Coin Selection

At the time of this writing, Coinbase offers 170 tradable assets while Crypto.com offers over 250. That may seem like a big discrepancy, but it’s like saying one car has a top speed of 170mph while another goes 250mph. Most folks will only ever go 80, so top speed doesn’t really matter.

What does matter, however, is the rate of acceleration.

In its decade of existence, Coinbase has added “only” 170 cryptos. That’s because Coinbase slowly and carefully vets its cryptos, offering only a curated list free of scams and trash (SQUID, for example, never made the cut).

By contrast, Crypto.com has added 250 coins in half the time. That might imply that their vetting process is faster — or just looser. Either way, the takeaway is this:

And how about those native coins?

  • Coinbase’s USD Coin (USDC) is a stablecoin tethered to the value of $1 USD. It’s essentially a dollar that lives on the Ethereum blockchain, allowing you to send USD back and forth more easily without a bank account.
  • Crypto.com’s Cronos (CRO) is not a stablecoin, and has experienced some impressive growth throughout its lifetime. Plus, holding certain tiers of CRO (4,000, 40,000, etc.) unlocks perks like higher interest rates, lower fees, etc.

Funnily enough, you can actually buy USDC on Crypto.com and CRO on Coinbase — although it does make more sense to buy CRO with a Crypto.com account so you can unlock its myriad benefits.

Usability and User Interface

Although Crypto.com took an early lead in fees, Coinbase makes up serious ground in terms of usability.

Simply put, Coinbase offers a desktop experience and Crypto.com doesn’t. The latter is mobile-only, and here’s their justification: “We prefer to build mobile first — there is no reason for you to use a desktop if we deliver a design that works brilliantly on your phone.”

There’s nothing wrong with trying to make a great mobile experience, but that latter statement?

Source: Tenor.com

 

By contrast, Coinbase does have a desktop experience and it’s glorious: crisp, clean, even calming. It’s probably the most intuitive and relaxing place on the internet to buy crypto.

To make matters even more complicated for Crypto.com, their app maintains a respectable 4.3 stars on the App Store but a less-than-stellar 3.9 stars on the Play Store. Multiple users have reported that the app simply won’t launch on the latest Samsung Galaxy devices, while others report general crashing and erratic behavior.

The Coinbase app, meanwhile, maintains a higher 4.7 stars and 4.1 stars on the App Store and Play Store, respectively.

Support

Coinbase offers email, live chat, and even live phone support, which is simply unheard of in the crypto world. Crypto.com meanwhile offers just email and live chat, which is more standard among exchanges.

In my experience, Coinbase responded to live chat almost instantaneously while Crypto.com took 30ish minutes. Both are impressive.

Security and Stability

In terms of security, both platforms boast 2FA, FDIC-insured balances for up to $250k, cold storage, a bug bounty program, and more.

Despite that, both Crypto.com and Coinbase experienced targeted hacks in the last 12 months. 6,000 Coinbase accounts were exposed with an undisclosed amount stolen, while 483 Crypto.com users lost $30 million.

The good news is that both companies immediately patched the leak and reimbursed the victims, so I’m confident your funds will be safe with either.

As for long-term stability, i.e., “will this exchange exist in five years,” Coinbase definitely takes the cake. Not only has Coinbase been around almost twice as long, it’s also publicly traded, meaning it’s accountable to both the SEC and its shareholders.

On the flip side, Crypto.com’s lavish marketing expenditures make me a little nervous. They clearly tried to capitalize on the 2021 crypto boom, but now that the market is in a bust, they may not be raking in enough profits to pay the piper.

Stability matters because the more stable crypto platform is more likely to survive, first and foremost, as well as provide a more consistent day-to-day experience. I don’t think Crypto.com will collapse tomorrow, but I do think it’s worth mentioning how and why Coinbase edges it out.

Access and Restrictions

Both Crypto.com and Coinbase offer services in over 100 countries.

Inside the USA:

  • Folks in New York can use Coinbase but not Crypto.com.
  • Folks in Hawaii can use Crypto.com but not Coinbase.

So there ya have it — if you live in Brooklyn or Honolulu, the choice is easy!

You Should Choose Crypto.com If: 

You’re Looking to Minimize Fees

If you’re looking to minimize your maker, taker, and various other fees on your crypto journey, Crypto.com may be the exchange for you. The platform charges low trade fees, limited withdrawal fees, and overall seems dedicated to letting users keep more of their money.

You’d Like More Ways to Earn and Spend Crypto

I’ve heard folks call Crypto.com “The Crypto Bank,” and I think that’s an apt nickname. You can safely store crypto there, spend it to earn cash back, and even stake it to generate double digits of interest.

You Should Choose Coinbase If:

You’re New to Crypto

Coinbase is unquestionably the best landing pad for newbies. Not only will Coinbase ease you into the process with an intuitive UI and robust security, but it’ll pay you to learn more about crypto.

You’d Like the Option to Trade Crypto on Desktop

Put simply, Coinbase offers the ability to trade crypto on a laptop and Crypto.com doesn’t. The latter doesn’t seem interested in adding the feature, either, so if you think you’ll ever want to swap XLM on your XPS, stick with Coinbase.

Summary

For direct rivals, Crypto.com and Coinbase are surprisingly divergent in their approaches. Ten years later, Coinbase still caters to beginners and passive investors, while rising star Crypto.com will appeal most to intermediate investors who want more ways to spend and earn their holdings (plus more altcoins to choose from).

And for more on whether you should invest in crypt in the first place, check out my Crypto Crash Course!

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About the author

Total Articles: 195
Chris helps people under 30 prosper - both financially and emotionally. In addition to publishing personal finance advice, Chris speaks on the topics of positive psychology and leadership. For speaking inquiries, check out his CAMPUSPEAK page, connect with him on Instagram, or watch his TEDx talk.