Uphold vs. Coinbase: Which Exchange Better Suits Your Investment Needs?

Here are all the main differences between Uphold and Coinbase that you need to know about before deciding which to go with!

Confused young woman presenting two iridescentl 3D shapes, one with a Coinbase logo and one with an Uphold logo.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin

Choosing an ideal exchange can be challenging, especially when they all offer unique functionalities and tools that can appeal to specific types of investors. This especially applies to Coinbase and Uphold, which serve the same purpose but allow users to interact with digital assets in vastly different ways and even on different markets.

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Today, I’ll break down all the key aspects of Coinbase and Uphold so that you know exactly what they offer and which is better suited to your investment needs. 

Coinbase vs. Uphold: All-Things-Crypto or One-Stop Shop

Before matching these two popular platforms up side-by-side, it’s worth quickly covering where they came from and how they’ve amassed such large audiences since their inception. 

Coinbase Overview

Coinbase advertisement.
Source: Coinbase.com

Coinbase is an early cryptocurrency exchange pioneer that debuted in 2012 as simply a way to buy and sell Bitcoin across a blockchain. Nowadays, it’s become one of the biggest trading platforms on the planet not only because it is easy to use but also because it supports many cryptocurrencies and provides a plethora of additional beginner-friendly learning resources. 

Sign Up For Coinbase

Uphold Overview

Uphold logo on a background with air balloons.
Source: Comparably

In the leadup to Uphold’s launch in 2015, it was advertised as a combination of a crypto exchange and an online brokerage. This caught the eyes of crypto and non-crypto investors alike, and as a result, it now boasts over 10 million customers and is available in 184 countries. 

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Uphold’s multi-asset approach to trading, paired with staking variety and manageable fees, have all contributed to the platform’s rise in popularity since its debut. 

Sign Up For Uphold

Key Differences: Which Is Better for an Investor Like You?

Now that we know where the two exchanges came from let’s take a deeper look at the systems, features, and functionalities that make them unique. 

Supported Assets

Asset type word cloud.
Source: Uphold.com 

By far, the biggest difference between the two is the digital assets that they support. Coinbase is a crypto exchange through and through, supporting over 250 cryptocurrencies, altcoins, and stablecoins, including BTC, ETH, and XRP. 

Uphold supports only a few fewer cryptocurrencies than Coinbase, but it could more accurately be considered a multi-asset exchange that also allows users to invest in commodities and U.S. equities. Popular examples of such commodities include precious metals like palladium, silver, and gold or carbon credit tokens like Bitcoin Zero and Universal Carbon. 

Though Coinbase is, therefore, ideal for solely crypto investors, Uphold offers more market flexibility for those building a multi-asset portfolio.

Fees

First, Coinbase Advanced’s maker-and-taker fee structure is cheaper than the two exchanges’ own. However, not everyone wants to splash some extra cash on an upgrade, so let’s compare the two standard models to see how they compare. 

FeeCoinbaseUphold
Bank Account Deposit 1.49%Free
Debit Card Deposit3.99%3.99% Credit Card / 2.49% Debit Card
Crypto Conversion Up to 2%Free
Withdrawal Free (Can Vary Depending On Crypto)Free or up to 1.75%
TradingVaries between $0.99 and $2.99 based on location, payment method, and size of transfer. Plus, up to 0.60% spread.Anywhere between 0.8% and 3% depending on asset being traded.
Wire Transfer$10 deposit, $25 withdrawal $20 for deposits less than $500, free transfers over the limit, and free withdrawal 
ACH TransferFreeFree

As seen above, Coinbase can often be unpredictable with trading fees since they are calculated in real-time during the purchase based on the user’s payment method and transaction size. Withdrawing crypto to a wallet is at least free of charge most of the time, though. 

Uphold requires no fee for using a bank account or crypto conversions, but users will still face up to a 3.99% fee for any card purchases. A quick disclaimer though: the total spread for low-liquidity cryptocurrencies, such as Ripple and Dogecoin, alongside commodities like precious metals, will almost always be more expensive.

Because the prices are so dependent on the specific transaction being made, though, I would argue that it’s hard to say that one exchange is objectively better than the other this time around. 

Security

Both Coinbase and Uphold meet strict KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations, and feature two-factor authentication alongside full robust private key encryption protection. They also share a bug bounty program that encourages users to notify the team about any faults in the system in exchange for monetary rewards. 

Though both are therefore very secure and reliable, Coinbase goes a bit further with its security measures, such as carrying crime insurance, which provides an extra layer of security for digital assets across all storage systems. It will also require authentic ID documentation, payment verification, and bulk of personal details to expand the account limits, and Coinbase can even freeze an account altogether if it becomes compromised. 

Both offer non-custodial wallets that grant the user full financial authority over their funds. These are Coinbase Wallet and Uphold Vault. The latter only supports BTC and XRP but also comes with a secure key replacement service, just in case a backup is required. 

Coinbase contains just a few more security tools than Uphold for those who intend to store assets for lengthy periods, but I would still say both are considered secure exchanges in their own right. 

Ease of Use

Coinbase dashboard.
Source: Coinbase.com

Considering that crypto beginners are popping up every day, Coinbase and Uphold have both ensured that their interfaces are as user-friendly and straightforward as possible. 

When it comes to the actual trading, though, Coinbase gradually eases its users into the experience. The platform offers plenty of educational crypto resources, including quizzes, and will only require a minimum amount of $2 to start trading. Anyone deciding to take things more seriously can use the Coinbase Advanced trade features, such as the TradeView market charts, to contribute to their investment plan. 

Uphold has a minimum of $10 to begin trading, and the multi-asset markets can be overwhelming for newcomers to understand. It also lacks the additional learning tools that make Coinbase so beginner-friendly. 

Coinbase also offers 24/7 email assistance, and the support team is always active on X and Reddit, while Uphold only has a ticket support system.

Staking

Vector art of a finger touching a pile of coins.
Source: Coinbase

Users can lock away their crypto funds by staking to earn special rewards on both exchange platforms, but Uphold offers more options for doing so. Coinbase supports a reasonable seven tokens for staking, but Uphold features nine, including Cardano, Ethereum, and Solana. While the total APY on Coinbase never normally exceeds 5.75%, this can run as high as 25% for Uphold. 

Staking can still be done on Coinbase to complement trades, but I would recommend Uphold more for anyone who wants to prioritize staking crypto to earn a passive income over time. 

Extra Features

Coinbase and Uphold users can download iOS and Android mobile apps for their respective platforms to purchase and trade crypto on the go. User reviews on the app stores indicate that Coinbase’s app is less bug-ridden and faulty, though both still serve the same purpose and can be helpful companion apps. 

One of Uphold’s most popular extra features is AutoPilot, which automates trades based on a specific order. Uphold also allows users to deposit digital assets into a single account, making it very convenient for investors. 

A handy Coinbase feature is the ability to earn crypto by working through the platform’s educational resources and assistance tools, which provides an easy gateway for beginners.

Coinbase also offers a crypto visa card that can be used to buy tokens in stores and online. This is slightly different from Uphold’s UK-exclusive MasterCard, which accepts payments in crypto, fiat currencies (GBP), and gold. 

Both provide some handy extra resources; Coinbase tends to offer more tools for crypto newcomers, while Uphold’s systems make long-term investments more convenient and easier to manage. 

Coinbase vs. Uphold: Pros and Cons

Now that we know what Coinbase and Uphold each bring to the table, it’s time to see how this affects their overall reliability and quality as crypto exchanges. Consider these key pros and cons when choosing which platform is the most suitable for your needs. 

Coinbase Pros

  • Learning Resources: Coinbase provides several learning resources that reward users with free crypto for completing them. 
  • Ease of Use: Coinbase eases its users into crypto trading, and the minimum required is only $2. It also features a user-friendly interface and is easy to sign up for. 
  • Customer Service: Coinbase offers 24/7 email support, and the customer support team is always active on X and Reddit to answer user questions. 
  • Coinbase Advanced Fees: Overall, Coinbase Advanced offers lower fees for buying, selling, and trading crypto compared to its original counterpart, and Uphold.  
  • Advanced Trading: Offers advanced tools for serious investors to help aid in their investment decisions. 
  • Security Features: Two-factor authentication, private key encryption, and crime insurance all keep Coinbase users protected. It also takes strict precautions when someone tries to exceed the trading limit.

Coinbase Cons

  • Regular Fees: Without Coinbase Advanced, fees can become pretty expensive, especially transaction fees, which will vary depending on the payment method and transaction size.
  • Staking Options: There are only seven tokens that can earn rewards for staking on Coinbase, and these normally only reach a maximum APY of roughly 5.75%.

Uphold Pros

  • Multi-Asset Trading Platform: Allows for non-crypto asset trading such as precious metals and carbon credit coins, making it very versatile.
  • Staking Variety: Uphold users can stake nine different assets, paying up to 19.5% APY. This encourages people to support the Uphold infrastructure while earning rewards. 
  • AutoPilot: Allows users to set up a recurring buy or sell order for long-term investment ventures. 
  • Security: Although it may not be FDIC-insured, Uphold still meets all of the necessary KYC regulations and includes two-factor authentication to keep users’ funds safe and sound. 

Uphold Cons

  • Expensive Spread: The spread fee is the one part of Uphold that can end up being expensive, especially when trying to acquire metals. 
  • Lack of Additional Resources: Uphold has barely any documents or tools to help educate newcomers on crypto trading. 
  • Limited Customer Support: Uphold only offers a ticket support system.

How to Choose the Right Exchange

Coinbase is ideal for those only concerned with trading crypto and who want to learn the tricks of the trade while earning crypto along their journey with beginner-friendly additional resources. 

Uphold is a little more complicated to use, but the multi-asset functionality grants more flexibility to those who enjoy exploring outside the crypto markets and into actual stocks. 

Both have still proven to be reliable and secure though, so there isn’t really one that is objectively better than the other, it just depends on what the user wants to do with their funds. 

On the Flipside

  • Coinbases’ pricy fees are by far its biggest letdown, but there are other exchanges that are negating these issues with better success, including Kraken, which is also worth checking out. With regard to Uphold, though it allows for trading with non-crypto assets, it doesn’t contain as many options as actual online stock brokers, which is worth keeping in mind. 

Why This Matters

It’s no use collecting digital assets in a crypto wallet only to sit on them for weeks on end. Instead, finding a reliable exchange platform that can help with buying, selling, and trading crypto in saturated markets can prove to be more worthwhile in the long run, which is why it’s essential to research them beforehand.

FAQs

What Are Fractional Shares?

Uphold supports fractional shares, which allow users to invest in partial shares of non-crypto stocks. People often use this to invest small amounts into larger, prolific companies like Amazon or Apple. 

What Is Coinbase Custody? 

This refers to a form of cold storage for institutions and high net-worth individuals to store large quantities of cryptocurrency in a safe offline vault. 

Which Cryptocurrency Exchange Is the Biggest?

In terms of sheer trading volume, Binance is currently the biggest and most prolific exchange, followed by Coinbase and Kraken. 

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

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Author
Ewan Lewis

Ewan is a British crypto writer with a focus on long form content. His underlying love for tech eventually ushered him into the world of crypto, and now, he’s determined to provide crypto enthusiasts with all the information they need to stay up to date with the ever-growing infrastructure that continues to evolve on a daily basis.