Coinbase vs CoinSpot for Australia 2022
Making Cryptocurrency Simple
When somebody asks how to get started with crypto, Coinbase is very often mentioned as the best departure point. The exchange originated in the USA and was established back in 2012, only a few years after the inception of Bitcoin.
Meanwhile, hundreds of other crypto exchanges popped up on the growing market, but none got even close to Coinbase in the number of registered users. That’s because the Coinbase founder, Brian Armstrong, managed to create a blockchain-based marketplace where you can buy crypto in the same manner as if you were ordering on Amazon — quickly, conveniently, and most importantly, securely.
The only critical drawback of Coinbase is the fees, which are considerably higher than the industry standard. However, when you lack trading experience, the ease of use is perhaps worth the money.
The Coinbase exchange is available in Australia as well. However, Aussie crypto enthusiasts have already had CoinSpot since 2013 — a much better version of a user-friendly crypto brokerage, which operates under local regulatory rules and enables local payment practices.
CoinSpot can offer you the same ease of use as Coinbase but with lower fees, a larger choice of payment methods, and reliable live-chat support.
The aim of this comparison is to show you why a local brand is always a better idea than an international brand in an attempt to make your first crypto transaction.
|Amount of Cryptocurrencies||160+ coins||360+ coins|
|Deposit Fees||3.99%||Wire Transfer: free, BPAY: 0.9%, Cash: 2.5%,|
|Payment Methods||Debit card||POLi, BPay, Pay ID|
|Fiat Currency||USD, AUD, GBP, EUR, and more||AUD|
|Regulatory Framework||New York State Department of Financial Services||AUSTRAC|
|Customer Support||Email, ticket system, live-chat|
- Beginner-friendly interface;
- Free crypto wallet with private key access or in-exchange custodial wallet;
- FDIC insurance coverage of users’ funds.
- High trading fees;
- Debit-card payments only for Australian traders;
- Limited choice of supported altcoins.
- Very simple and intuitive design;
- Over 350 crypto assets;
- Quick deposit and withdrawal time;
- Assets kept securely in cold storage, following strict storage protocols.
- Credit-card payments aren’t supported;
- AUD deposits and withdrawals only.
Amount of Cryptocurrencies
Given the number of nearly 10,000 active crypto coins, Coinbase has always been very stern when it comes to expanding its coin selection. Until recently, you could find no more than 30 market-dominant cryptos on its instant buy/sell market.
Nowadays, there is a decent selection of over 150 digital assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), ZCash (ZEC), and Cardano (ADA), but the list got larger mainly because Coinbase started accepting a variety of DeFi tokens, such as UniSwap (UNI), 1Inch (1INCH), and Aave (AAVE). For example, Coinbase doesn’t support the Binance native token (BNB) or other BEP-20 tokens.
For seasoned traders, Coinbase offers an advanced version — Coinbase Pro — that delivers a sophisticated trading platform where users can place orders on over 400 markets. Despite the large number of trading pairs, you won’t find any with the Australian Dollar as a quote currency.
Compared to Coinbase, CoinSpot has a double-in-size list of cryptocurrencies available for instant purchases against AUD. They have also launched a pro-version for spot-market trading (under the same platform), but unlike Coinbase, CoinSpot features a very modest order-based market.
There are no more than 15 trading pairs, including BTC/AUD, LTC/AUD, ETH/AUD, DOGE/AUD, NEO/AUD, XRP/AUD, EOS/AUD, POWR/AUD, GAS/AUD, TRX/AUD, and XLM/AUD.
Amount of Cryptocurrencies Winner: Coinspot
While CoinSpot is an obvious winner in this category, you should be aware that this criterion means nothing to you in the early stages of your crypto career. Your first purchase should go no further than well-established cryptocurrencies with sufficient liquidity.
This doesn’t mean that you must stick to Bitcoin only, but try to keep away from newly-discovered projects with uncertain future – at least until you’re confident in your trading skills.
Let’s clarify a few things before we start comparing numbers. For starters, don’t get confused when you see that the trading fee on a single platform varies from 0.1% to 1%.
The bottom fee refers to the spot market (in our case, the respective pro-versions discussed in the previous section) where you can trade in the real sense of the word, i.e. by placing a market or limit order and waiting for the exchange to pair you with a matching buyer or seller.
Some exchanges operate exclusively as pro-trading platforms, but most mainstream crypto solutions like Coinbase and CoinSpot give you an option to choose between spot trading or instant purchases and sales.
What we consider a beginner-friendly approach are crypto brokerages where you insert the amount of AUD (or other fiat or cryptocurrency) you’d like to invest while the exchange automatically calculates how many of the selected crypto units you’ll receive in return.
For this service, crypto brokers charge considerably higher fees compared to regular crypto trading platforms, as shown by the fee schedules of both Coinbase and CoinSpot.
Also, consider that trading fees aren’t the only expense to settle when executing a transaction on a crypto exchange. Some cryptocurrency exchanges charge for deposits and withdrawals as well (some more than others), plus there is an additional mining or transaction fee, which isn’t calculated on the “exchange cashier” but on the respective blockchain.
Back to our target exchanges, let’s see how much a single transaction costs on both Coinbase and CoinSpot.
Apart from being notoriously costly, the Coinbase pricing system is also a bit puzzling. Thus, trading fees for transactions under $200 vary between $0.99 and $2.99, and everything above this amount incurs a variable fee set as a percentage from 1.49% to 3.99%, depending on the fiat deposit method.
Needless to say, debit card purchases are the most expensive and, unfortunately, the only supported method for Australian users. Not to forget cash withdrawal fees — you’ll have to pay a fee of 1% to convert your crypto to cash apart from the regular network fees.
On the other hand, the Coinbase Pro platform charges just slightly above what is considered an industry standard on the spot market. The Coinbase pro-platform operates on a pricing tier with a clear distinction between takers and makers. The trading fee here starts from 0.60% and 0.40% for takers and makers, respectively, and can reach down to 0% as the users’ trading volume grows.
Now that we have a clear understanding of how fees work in the crypto ecosystem, let’s just go through CoinSpot’s fees and see the difference:
- 1% trading fee for instant purchases and sales;
- 0.1% trading fee on the spot market, but an additional 1% if you want to use advanced trading tools such as Recurring Buy or advanced order types;
Deposit fees depend on the payment method, so you can expect zero fees with POLi and PayID just like bank transfers. Be careful with BPAY deposits on CoinSpot — they cost 0.9% per transaction. There is also a handy but pricey option of 2.5% for a cash payment, but more on that in our Deposit Methods section.
Fees Winner: Coinspot
Crypto brokerages services are expensive, but in this case, CoinSpot is a less painful solution than Coinbase.
Your “living expenses” on the blockchain don’t end with the Fee section. The buy price comes with another fee, called a spread, which is the difference between the buy and the sell price of a particular cryptocurrency.
The spread on Coinbase is 0.5%, but it can fluctuate based on the current market conditions. CoinSpot spreads are much higher and vary between 1-2%.
Spread Winner: Coinbase
Coinbase wins this round — not just because they incur lower spread but because the CoinSpot spread isn’t transparently shown in the transaction process, according to users.
The quality of the support team can re-shape your overall experience because, as a newcomer, you can get stuck at many points before you successfully complete a transaction: from signup and verification to deposit lags and account maintenance.
When it comes to Coinbase, the exchange prefers email tickets as the primary means of communication with concerned clients. It also offers a designated help centre, in case you’re dealing with some common problem or need general guidance.
You’ll see a phone line on the Coinbase official page, but it’s not used for personal assistance from a tech team member. You can directly contact the support team to alert for any irregularity you’ve noticed on your way or disable your account under suspicion for unauthorised access.
CoinSpot mainly uses an aid widget powered by ZenDesk where you send a feedback form, but you can also send an email or contact their live chat. Despite the lack of a phone line, the CoinSpot support team is considered supper-responsive.
Support Winner: Coinspot
Quick response is one of the greatest virtues in the blockchain society, so this one goes on CoinSpot.
Coinbase has two separate mobile apps — Coinbase and Coinbase Pro, available for free download on Android and iOS. The regular Coinbase app offers nearly identical functionality to the original web-based platform and allows you to buy and sell cryptocurrency and monitor your balance with a clear view.
On top of this, the Coinbase app comes with a unique feature called Smart Tool, which enables real-time price alerts and setting automated tools.
Apart from the Coinbase and Coinbase Pro apps, you’ll also notice a wallet app on Google Store and AppStore under the name of Coinbase.
The mobile wallet app runs as an independent crypto wallet that gives you full control over your private keys and doesn’t have to be used exclusively with the Coinbase exchanges. This means that you don’t have to be a registered Coinbase user to activate the Coinbase wallet app.
CoinSpot also provides a state-of-the-art mobile app that has inherited the simplicity and cleanness of the CoinSpot web platform. Apart from the flawless design, the CoinSpot mobile app offers almost everything you can use on their browser version.
Mobile App Winner: Coinbase
We can’t point out any disadvantage on the CoinSpot mobile app, but Coinbase is simply an unrivalled winner in terms of intuitive UI design.
Coinbase restricts available payment methods based on users’ geographical availability. While US traders can make a fiat-to-crypto purchase using various deposit options, Aussie traders are limited to expensive debit-card payments.
The good thing with Coinbase is that you don’t have to fund your account prior to the purchase but buy the crypto on your wish list directly.
CoinSpot, on the other hand, offers a bunch of AUD payment options. This includes POLi, BPAY, PayID/Osko, or a bank transfer. Most noticeably, CoinSpot is one of the few Australian exchanges that support Blueshyft Cash Deposit.
This system enables Australians to fund their CoinSpot account using cold cash through Blueshyft terminals, a wide network of over 1,200 terminals DownUnder, located in popular outlets.
The Blueshyft funding process is pretty simple – first, you have to generate a QR code on CoinSpot, then head to the nearest supported branch, process the generated code at one of the Blueshyft terminals, and pay with AUD at the counter.
Deposit Winner: Coinspot
Home-based crypto exchanges are always in a superior position when it comes to fiat payment possibilities, no matter how well-adjusted the foreign brand is to the local money-transmitting practices.
In a time when crypto platforms are massively moving offshore to make use of loose regulations, Coinbase is perhaps the best-regulated exchange you can find. This speaks a lot about the legitimacy of the exchange, which is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services and runs in full compliance with all applicable AML/CFT regulations.
In terms of account and platform security, all new users on Coinbase must undergo a KYC verification before using the exchange services. Moreover, Coinbase stores 98% of users’ funds offline, use data encryption, biometric logins, and what’s more, the exchange provides FDIC Insurance for up to $250,000.
CoinSpot is another example of a highly regulated exchange that utilises the latest security measures for a hassle-free crypto experience. The exchange is an AUSTRAC registered company and a member of the Australian Digital Commerce Association member.
Also, CoinSpot has achieved an ISO 27001 certification and blockchain Australia Code of Conduct certificate for ensuring impeccable trading practices and customer service. Similar to Coinbase, CoinSpot keeps incoming funds in cold distributed wallets and supports 2FA (two-factor authentication) for added account safety.
Since CoinSpot offers its services under local government surveillance, this exchange is the best-secured solution throughout Australia. However, Coinbase has set an example for a trustworthy marketplace so let’s say it’s a tie game.
The Final Verdict
Even though we’ve openly favoured CoinSpot against Coinbase, we don’t mean that Coinbase is an ineffective service provider for diversifying your investment portfolio. On the contrary, millions of users worldwide have begun their crypto endeavour through Coinbase and never regretted it.
The point is that when you already have a similar exchange set up in your country of residence, you don’t need to pay ridiculously high fees for the brand name itself. In addition, you should never underestimate the degree of convenience that comes with the diverse payment availability, adjusted to your personal purchasing style.
All in all, it’s fascinating how both Coinbase and CoinSpot have passed the test of time intact. They survived the dark era of Bitcoin between 2014 and 2016 when numerous exchanges of this calibre crumbled amid a series of “lethal” hacks.
Finally, now that the crypto landscape has drastically grown over the last few years, there are far more crypto exchanges to consider for your crypto debut. You can start with our list of the best crypto exchanges available in Australia.