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Cryptocurrency exchanges like Uphold and Coinbase make it easy for people to buy or sell Bitcoin and altcoins. Both trading networks let investors purchase coins with a bank account or credit card and offer a crypto debit card. Coinbase was founded in 2012 and went public via a direct listing in 2021. Uphold was founded in 2013 and launched its platform in 2015.
For people wanting to buy precious metals or make crypto-to-crypto trades, Uphold is a great option. But it can feel overwhelming at first to those new to investing in cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, Coinbase hands out crypto for learning about crypto trading, making it a good choice for beginners.
We reviewed Uphold and Coinbase based on each platform’s ease of use, unique features, the overall cost, and the number of currencies. Additionally, we checked out the mobile apps, security, and how experiences could differ for U.S. versus international users.
Investing in cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and other Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is highly risky and speculative, and the markets can be extremely volatile. Consult with a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. This article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies nor can the accuracy or timeliness of the information be guaranteed.
- Fees: Variable spread up to 1.20%
- Currencies: 250+
- Security: 2FA, bug bounty program, platform insurance against theft, and cold storage
- Wallet: Private key encryption and 2FA
- Transactions Supported: Buy, sell, trade, hold, and limit
- Max. Trading Amount: Vary based on transaction
- Mobile App: iOS and Android
Offers metals, and cryptocurrency trading
No convenience fee to buy stock using a bank account
Free to send money to a friend or family member
No-fee transactions between assets where the amount transacted is over $100 in value
0% trading commissions
Fewer educational resources than Coinbase
Relatively high spread fees
- Fees: 0.60% spread plus a flat or variable fee depending on the transaction amount and payment method
- Currencies: 200+
- Security: 2FA, bug bounty program, FDIC-insured USD balances up to $250,000, platform insurance against theft, and cold storage
- Wallet: Private key encryption and 2FA
- Transactions Supported: Buy, sell, trade, and hold
- Max. Trading Amount: Vary based on account age, location, payment method, transaction history, and verification steps completed
- Mobile App: iOS and Android
Offers crypto rewards for learning about crypto
Has a lower spread than Uphold
An advanced platform is available
High convenience fees for transactions
Charges 1.49% to buy using a bank account
At a Glance
|Fees||Variable spread up to 1.20%||0.60% spread plus a flat or variable fee depending on the transaction amount and payment method|
|Security||2FA, bug bounty program, platform insurance against theft, and cold storage||2FA, bug bounty program, FDIC-insured USD balances up to $250,000, platform insurance against theft, and cold storage|
|Wallet||Private key encryption and 2FA||Private key encryption and 2FA|
|Transactions Supported||Buy, sell, trade, hold, and limit||Buy, sell, trade, and hold|
|Max. Trading Amount||Vary based on account activity||Vary based on account age, location, payment method, transaction history, and verification steps completed|
|Mobile App||iOS and Android||iOS and Android|
Uphold vs. Coinbase: Features
Both cryptocurrency exchanges offer unique features for platform users. Coinbase is geared toward beginners with rewards for learning. Meanwhile, Uphold rewards Brave browser users and has an open application programming interface (API) for custom integrations.
With Uphold, users can take advantage of:
- Trade non-crypto assets: Uphold users can trade about 50 U.S. stocks, four precious metals, and 27 national currencies.
- AutoPilot: Automate your trades by creating a recurring buy or sell order on Uphold.
- Multi-asset debit card: Unlike the Coinbase Visa debit card, Uphold’s Mastercard debit card - available in the U.K. only - supports payments via crypto, gold, or national currencies.
While Coinbase doesn’t have an open API or support trades of precious metals, the exchange appeals to users because of the following features:
- Coinbase Earn: Coinbase users can watch videos or read tutorials about various cryptocurrencies and earn rewards.
- Crypto debit card: A Visa debit card that lets you spend your crypto online and in stores globally.
- Interest-bearing accounts: Put your USD Coin (USDC) into a Coinbase savings account to earn up to 0.15% annual percentage yield (APY).
- Advanced Trade : Advanced Trade is Coinbase's advanced trading platform, replacing Coinbase Pro in late 2022. Advanced Trade offers enhanced tools like interactive charts powered by TradingView, advanced order types, and access to other key features like staking, Borrow, Card, and dApp Wallet.
Uphold vs. Coinbase: Currencies
Uphold and Coinbase offer a nice selection of cryptocurrencies. They support fewer coins than popular sites like Binance but more than exchanges such as Bitstamp. Coinbase features 200+ cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, whereas Uphold has 250+. Both exchanges support 28 of the same coins, including Bitcoin (BTC), Bithereum (BTH), Aave (AAVE), Polygon (MATIC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Cardano (ADA), and Dash (DASH).
Users wanting to trade multi-assets appreciate Uphold’s unique offerings. Uphold supports four precious metals (gold, silver, platinum, and palladium) and two carbon credit tokens, Universal Carbon (UPCO2) and Bitcoin Zero (BTC0).
Both cryptocurrency exchanges accept fiat funds, and users can purchase coin fractions.
Uphold vs. Coinbase: Security
Coinbase and Uphold meet or exceed strict U.S. and international laws regarding know your client (KYC) and account verification. In addition, both companies fully disclose information about their security measures on their websites. USD funds on Coinbase are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and they hold 98% of crypto funds in cold storage. Additionally, they offer a bug bounty program and maintain an insurance policy against theft or fraud for funds Coinbase holds.
In comparison, Uphold notes specific security features for European users, including holding roughly 90% of funds in cold storage and an insurance policy against security breaches for currencies held on the exchange. It offers a “Transparency” page with live statuses of their reserves.
Uphold vs. Coinbase: Fees
The two cryptocurrency exchanges take a different approach to fees, yet trades may cost about the same. Coinbase charges a spread of about 0.50% per transaction plus a fixed or variable fee depending on the transaction amount and payment method. The convenience fees range from $0.99 to $2.99 for $50 when funding your trade via automated clearing house (ACH).
Uphold users can purchase multiple assets using an ACH withdrawal or bank account fee-free. According to Uphold's website, the company charges 0% deposit fees, 0% withdrawal fees, and 0% trading commissions; however, users will pay a spread on each trade. Uphold users pay 3.99% to use a credit card. However, the spread is much higher on Uphold and varies widely. According to Uphold:
- BTC and ETH: For U.S., U.K., and European users, the spread runs 0.9 to 1.2%, while it’s about 1.8% in other places.
- Altcoins: Uphold says, “Spreads can be significantly higher for low-liquidity cryptos and tokens including Ripple (XRP), Zilliqa (ZIL), Orchid (OXT), Universal Protocol Token (UPT), and DOGE.”
- Metals: Uphold charges 2.0% "on top of the bid-ask prices at our supplier.”
- Fiat: Users usually pay “0.2% between major national currencies such as EUR, USD, and GBP.”
|Withdraw Crypto to a Wallet||Free||Free|
|Debit/Credit Cards Deposits||2.49% debit/3.99% credit||3.99%|
|Crypto Conversion||Free||Up to 2% spread|
|Trades||Variable spread that may be as high as 1.25% in some cases||Up to 0.60% spread, plus a variable or fixed fee of $0.99 to $2.99 based on the amount or a variable fee based on payment method|
Uphold vs. Coinbase: Ease of Use
Coinbase continues to stand out from the competition for its ease of use. The signup process is straightforward, and it’s easy to find details about the platform, cryptocurrencies, and even learn how to get started trading.
Likewise, Uphold’s process is user-friendly, and the website is easy to navigate. The advanced transaction types require some investing experience and the addition of stocks and metals adds to the complexity. However, Uphold offers a “one-step trading capability,” where users can trade any crypto asset for another.
Both exchanges offer customer service through email or Twitter. Although the Coinbase knowledge base and help articles are expansive, Uphold provides plenty of information about the platform and some helpful articles for beginner traders.
Uphold vs. Coinbase: Mobile App
Coinbase and Uphold both offer a mobile app for Android and iOS phones. The apps offer nearly full functionality compared to the websites. That said, you won’t find advanced charting options on either of them. However, the Coinbase app appears to be a bit more mature with fewer bugs and navigation issues, earning it higher user ratings. Coinbase provides two other applications, including a standalone hot wallet called the Coinbase Wallet and the Coinbase Pro app with advanced features and transactions.
Uphold vs. Coinbase: Access
Uphold and Coinbase are available to U.S.-based and international users. However, residents of Hawaii are excluded from both platforms. But, if you’re in the United States and want to buy Ripple (XRP), Uphold supports it while Coinbase doesn’t. U.S.-based investors also can’t buy Amp (AMP), Gitcoin (GTC), Golem (GNT), Loom Network (LOOM), Enzyme Finance (MLN), or Shiba Inu (SHIB) on Coinbase.
Uphold and Coinbase are secure exchanges offering a good selection of cryptocurrencies and features useful to traders, such as Uphold’s AutoPilot and the Coinbase Earn program. But, people wanting a multi-asset trading platform should head to Uphold to buy precious metals, national currencies, and environmental tokens. Meanwhile, those wanting potentially lower fees and more chances to earn free crypto will appreciate the Coinbase or Coinbase Pro platforms.
What Are Uphold and Coinbase?
Uphold is a multi-asset exchange, meaning users can buy and sell cryptocurrencies, national currencies, and precious metals. In contrast, Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange that supports various cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. Investors can buy, sell, deposit, or withdraw using Uphold or Coinbase. Also, both platforms offer a debit card. The Uphold card - available in the U.K. only - is a multi-asset Mastercard, whereas the Coinbase card is a crypto Visa.
How Do Uphold and Coinbase Work?
Uphold and Coinbase users may access the cryptocurrency exchange from a web browser or through the associated mobile apps. Once the verification process is completed, which may take extra time, investors can add funds to buy assets depending on their location. Both support ACH, bank transfers, credit and debit cards. Coinbase also allows users to purchase or withdraw using PayPal. Coinbase also gives crypto rewards when users watch videos or read guides about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, Uphold offers AutoPilot for recurring trades.
Do Uphold and Coinbase Report to the IRS?
Yes, Uphold and Coinbase file an annual report with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in accordance with tax laws and regulations. In addition, Coinbase issues IRS Form 1099-MISC to Coinbase users who are U.S. persons and earned $600 or more in rewards or fees from Coinbase Earn, USDC Rewards, and/or staking.
Who Should Use Uphold vs. Coinbase?
While Coinbase and Uphold are reasonably easy to use, Coinbase offers more resources for beginners than Uphold does. Since Coinbase only supports cryptocurrencies, new investors may feel more comfortable starting with Coinbase. However, Uphold is a multi-asset exchange, so users wanting to buy and sell precious metals or cryptocurrencies should begin there. Moreover, Uphold offers unique environmental currencies called carbon credit tokens, which aren’t provided on Coinbase.
We reviewed Uphold and Coinbase by considering the features that made each platform stand out, such as the ability to earn crypto on Coinbase or trade precious metals on Uphold. We also looked at the overall cost of investing, including the spread and various fees. Then we compared both platforms on supported currencies, ease of use, and accessibility for living in the U.S. and internationally. Lastly, we considered the usability of the mobile apps and thought about several use cases to determine what type of investors would feel most comfortable on each platform.
CNBC.com. "Coinbase Closes at $328.28 per Share in Nasdaq Debut, Valuing Crypto Exchange at $85.8 Billion."
Coinbase. "How to Earn Crypto Rewards - Coinbase."
Uphold. "Uphold Pricing Policy."
Coinbase.com. "2020 Tax Guide: Crypto and Bitcoin in the U.S."