Coinbase Cryptocurrency Wallet Review

A non-custodial, multi-platform wallet offering full control of coins and NFTs

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Coinbase

Coinbase

Investopedia’s Rating
3.7

Our Take

Coinbase Wallet, our top choice for low costs, is a fully non-custodial wallet that gives users total control of a wide range of crypto assets. Coinbase also allows account holders an easy way of connecting their existing exchange accounts directly to the wallet. Not only is this convenient, but the non-custodial wallet provides a crucial layer of protection in cases where funds are mismanaged, like the November 2022 FTX bankruptcy.

While all leading cryptocurrency wallets provide a high level of security for safekeeping your crypto assets, improper security practices on behalf of the user can lead to a complete loss of funds. Crypto enthusiasts should take care to store the bulk of their assets meant for trading on exchanges using cold storage methods, and never share your wallet’s login details, recovery phrase, or private keys with anyone.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Easy download and setup

  • Simplified app layout

  • Supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies

  • Easy to transfer assets

Cons
  • Slow response time by customer service

  • High transaction fees

  • Limited support for NFTs

Company Overview

In June 2012, Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam decided to set up Coinbase Global Inc. with a vision of helping anyone move Bitcoin around easily and safely. Today, the company has gone beyond Bitcoin and supports a wide range of digital assets.

Occasionally, Coinbase stops supporting some cryptocurrencies. These cryptos stop being accessible on the wallet too. But before they are removed, there is usually an announcement in advance. For example, in November 2022, Coinbase announced it would no longer support Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, Stellar, and Ripple by January 2023.

To align with its updated vision of "increasing economic freedom in the world,” Coinbase launched its non-custodial wallet in 2018. The wallet lets users be solely responsible for their assets. This self-custody feature prevents Coinbase from commingling customer funds as FTX did. Coinbase released a statement in November 2022, reassuring users of its resolve to keep their funds safe.

Coinbase

Coinbase

overall rating
3.7
Type of Wallet Software (mobile and desktop)
Price  Free 
Fees Network fee only to send assets. No fee to receive assets. Trading and swapping fees apply.
Number of Cryptocurrencies Supported  100,000+
Bitcoin and Ethereum support Yes 
Earn (Staking/Rewards)  Yes, customers can earn interest on their crypto holdings, as well as stake assets.
Customer Service  Coinbase Wallet offers 24/7 customer support, along with a help page and email support.
In-App Features  Buy, sell, swap, and convert assets within the Coinbase Wallet
Hardware Compatible  No
SPV or Full Node  Simplified Payment Verification (SVP).
Mobile App  Yes (Android and iOS)

Pros & Cons Explained

Pros Explained

  • Easy download and setup: Downloading and setting up a Coinbase wallet is quite straightforward. After signing up with basic information and safekeeping your seed phrase, you choose a username.
  • Simplified app layout: Navigating the wallet is easy, as all relevant tabs are displayed at the bottom of the screen. All other additional features can be found in the settings panel.
  • Supports a huge number of cryptocurrencies: Coinbase supports 100,000+ cryptocurrencies, including popular ones like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Polygon.
  • Easy to transfer assets: The usernames feature allows users to utilize usernames as a substitute for addresses to receive and send cryptos and NFTs.

Cons Explained

  • Poor customer support: With users having to wait for a long time on chats and the phone line, Coinbase's customer support is below average.
  • High transaction fees: The only fees users pay with this wallet are the network fees associated with sending crypto, which are set by the crypto network itself and not Coinbase.
  • Limited support for NFTs: You can only send, receive and display Ethereum and Polygon NFTs.

Features

Coinbase Wallet is a non-custodial crypto wallet that enables users to securely store more than 100,000+ digital assets, explore decentralized applications, and manage their Ethereum and Polygon-based NFTs.

Currently, Coinbase Wallet supports the Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Polygon, Stellar, and Ripple networks, as well as numerous Ethereum Layer-2 solutions, such as Arbitrum and Optimism. 

Users can swap Ethereum-and Polygon-based assets directly within the app’s decentralized exchange feature. Non-Ethereum and Polygon assets can be purchased using the in-app crypto buying option. Additionally, Coinbase Wallet allows users to earn interest on their crypto assets via staking. 

Users can seamlessly display NFTs on the Ethereum and Polygon blockchains with their wallet at no extra cost. Although the Coinbase Wallet is free to use, it has high transaction fees for trading and swapping assets.

Security

Coinbase has a solid security system that protects your assets. The fact that it is non-custodial means nobody has access to your crypto except you, so Coinbase cannot use your crypto to run its business as FTX did. Also, in the event of a hack on Coinbase’s servers, your funds are safe.

The Coinbase wallet clearly emphasizes security by asking you to add your biometrics or passcode when setting up your mobile wallet. In the browser extension, you must create a password to protect your assets from unauthorized access.

Privacy and Anonymity

The Coinbase Wallet is fully self-custodial, giving the user sole responsibility of keeping their assets safe. The wallet also has a high level of privacy as no personal information, such as email or phone number, is needed to use the Coinbase Wallet. As for usernames, you can decide if you want your username and profile to be searchable or not.

Setup 

Users who access decentralized applications (dApps) frequently will find the Coinbase Wallet extension much easier to use than the mobile app. Additionally, the desktop wallet has a Community tab where you can add other users, like on social media. This feature is not available on the mobile app.

From the Coinbase website, select the Wallet Extension option and add the wallet to your browser as an extension. Once you have downloaded it and made it visible in your extension section, you are ready to set it up.

If you already have a wallet or want to use the wallet on your phone, select the “I already have a wallet” option. You will be asked to input the 12-word seed phrase you were given. If you would like to create a new wallet insead, select that option and go ahead to save your recovery phrase. 

Finally, you’ll be prompted to create a password which will give you one-time access to your wallet anytime you use your computer. However, it does not replace your recovery phrase. Once you are done, you can access the wallet from your computer anytime.

Mobile App

The Coinbase Wallet App is available for both Android and iOS users. It is beginner-friendly, as it guides you through a series of prompts until you finish setting it up. You can use your Coinbase Wallet to manage your crypto, NFTs, and decentralized finance (DeFi), as you will see on the welcome screen.

To start setting up your wallet, you’ll need to download and install the app. After that, you will be asked to choose if you already have a wallet or if you are setting up a new one. Users with existing wallets will require a recovery phrase, while those creating a wallet for the first time simply need to click on “Create new wallet.”

On the next screen, type in the username that you will use to receive and send digital assets to your wallet. Once you have a username, it's time to back up your recovery phrase.

You can either copy your recovery phrase and paste it somewhere safe or save it on your Google Drive or Cloud directly from the wallet. Confirm you have saved your recovery phrase, then choose if you want to enable fingerprints or use a passcode for extra security. Your wallet is now ready for use.

Usability

Desktop

The desktop version of the Coinbase wallet provides basic functionalities. Users can trade or swap their crypto or NFTs and explore decentralized finance with ease. However, the wallet doesn't open in full screen, so it is a bit difficult to navigate between items.

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Mobile App

Coinbase Wallet is quite easy to navigate on mobile phones. The asset section doubles as the home screen, where you can buy, sell or swap your assets. To connect to dApps, tap the browser at the bottom of your screen. The app is fast and allows you to glide through sections easily. 

Any feature you can't easily find at a glance, such as the Hide Balances feature, is located in the settings section. Overall, the Coinbase Wallet app is perfect for beginners as it uses simple, clear English to outline all its features.

Customer Service

Coinbase has a rich help page, which provides solutions to many of the common problems crypto users face with their accounts and wallets. It also has a live chat feature, a dedicated support email, and a phone number where users can reach out for help. The live chat feature is only for Coinbase and Coinbase Pro users.

However, Coinbase has built a reputation for poor customer service over time, especially after a major wallet hack or glitch. Although the customer representatives are courteous, they are generally slow in responding to inquiries and complaints.

Cost & Fees 

To download and store your digital assets on the Coinbase Wallet is free of charge. However, transactions such as depositing or withdrawing from the wallet to an external wallet are not free. Buying, selling, or swapping coins comes at an additional cost. You also pay a spread for every buy/sell crypto order.

Compared to other wallets, Coinbase fees are relatively high. However, users can choose to customize how much they pay for the network (miner) fee, depending on how long they are willing to wait for their transaction to be processed.

Final Verdict

Coinbase Wallet is a popular non-custodial hot wallet that allows users to store their digital assets securely. Users do not have to leave their assets in the hands of exchanges to prevent losses similar to what occurred during the November 2022 FTX bankruptcy. 

Coinbase's seed phrase system ensures utmost security; however, this seed phrase must be kept safe. Coinbase allows you to automatically back up your seed phrase to Google Drive, which is handy for users who might forget it. 

This pocket-friendly wallet is ideal for anyone who prioritizes security and loves to explore Web3. Traders who love to switch between simple and professional modes will find Coinbase helpful too. 

Methodology

One of the most important things to consider before you transact in and store cryptocurrencies is that you have a suitable crypto wallet in place. To help determine the wallet that works best for you, we conducted a comprehensive review process of the top cryptocurrency software wallets. 

Our review process is built around a quantitative ratings model that weighs key factors like security, costs, privacy, usability, customer support, and features according to their importance. Our team of researchers gathered over 40 data points and conducted extensive research for each of the 19 companies we reviewed. Our team of writers, who are experts in this field, then test drove each wallet to lend their qualitative point of view.

Our model gave preference to companies with the strongest security measures and reputations. Companies with rich features, such as supporting a large number of crypto assets, giving users the ability to sync with hardware wallets, and allowing for fee customization, also ranked highly.

Read our full methodology.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
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  2. Coinbase. "About Us."

  3. Coinbase. "Supported Assets and Networks."

  4. CNBC. "Coinbase Slammed for What Users Say Is Terrible Customer Service After Hackers Drain Their Accounts."

  5. Coinbase. "Answering Key Questions About FTX’s Collapse."

  6. CoinMarketCap. "Coinbase Exchange."

  7. Coinbase. "Coinbase Decentralized ID (cb.id)."

  8. Coinbase. "Supported Assets and Networks."

  9. Coinbase. "How to Earn Crypto Rewards."

  10. Coinbase. "The Most Trusted Crypto Exchange."

  11. Coinbase. "Self-Custody Wallet."

  12. Coinbase. "Manage Your Wallet."

  13. Coinbase. "Coinbase Pricing and Fees Disclosures."

  14. Coinbase. "Adjusting Network Fees."