Poloniex vs Coinbase: Will the Household Name Win in the End?

Welcome! It’s time we shared our exchange comparison between Poloniex, 16th in our cryptocurrency exchange rankings, and Coinbase, sitting impressively in third. Could this battle be a complete mismatch? Right now, it’s hard to say, but what we should point out is that Poloniex is an exchange without a brokerage, and Coinbase is a brokerage with a non-typical exchange. This could be very interesting…


Is Poloniex Expensive For Traders?

We have to applaud Poloniex on behalf of the cryptocurrency community for creating an awesome platform with ultra-low fees. Despite not having huge trading volumes, they still manage to offer rock-bottom commissions, at just 0.125% for both the maker fee and the taker fee. Users can trade greater volumes to receive discounts or pay their trading fees in TRON (TRX) to get 25% off. 

poloniex fee schedule

Cryptocurrency deposits are free, but withdrawals incur a small network charge. 

Are Coinbase Costs High?

Yes, they are. Coinbase is expensive because it’s the easiest, most convenient, and all-around friendliest on-ramp into crypto since the dawn of blockchain. So, how much does it cost? Well, if you use Coinbase’s crypto-to-crypto exchange, which basically means trading crypto directly with them at the price they tell you, you’ll pay 2% per trade on top of the spread. The spread is the difference between ‘the price they tell you’ and the real market price, which on Coinbase is usually around 0.5%, which is quite fair.

Let’s go back a step. Before you get to trades and trade fees, you need to buy some cryptocurrency. For purchases, you will pay the greater sum of condition 1 or condition 2:

  • Condition 1: a flat fee for transactions under $200 (USD):
    • $0-10 – fee: $0.99 | €0,99 | £0,99 | C$.99
    • $10-25 – fee: $1.49 | €1,49 | £1,49 | C$1.49
    • $25-50 – fee: $1.99 | €1,99 | £1,99 | C$1.99
    • $50-200 – fee: $2.99 | €2,99 | £2,99 | C$2.99
  • Condition 2: 1.49% of the total purchase via bank transfer or 3.99% for debit and credit card purchases

Since 1.49% of $200 is $2.98, this explains why condition one applies to all purchases under $200. Note that paying by credit card will always be the most expensive purchase method on Coinbase and will always fall under condition 2.

Coinbase charges 1% for crypto withdrawals, on top of the network fee. 

Check out Coinbase Pro, their trading product, if you’re looking to trade properly.

Winner Poloniex wins this time.

Sign Up & KYC Experience

Getting Set Up On Poloniex

poloniex sign up experience
poloniex dashboard
See point 6 below
  1. Visit the Poloniex website and click ‘Sign Up.’ Our referral code is: SJCVZUJS
  2. Provide your email address and password.
  3. Accept the T&Cs, then head to your email client.
  4. Click the ‘verify my email’ button in the verification email from Poloniex.
  5. Log in with your email and password and press ‘click to verify.’
  6. Find the option to ‘get started’ on increasing limits and features (see image above).
  7. Provide your country or region, name, date of birth, residential address, and phone number.
  8. Next, submit a photo or scan of your ID (passport is ideal) and the country of issue.
  9. Take a clear photo of your face: holding some paper with the word Poloniex and today’s date can speed up the process.
  10. Wait for verification. It can take minutes or days depending on their application backlog or complications with your submission.

Opening A Coinbase Account

create an account Coinbase screenshot
  1. Head to Coinbase.com and click ‘Get Started.’
  2. Provide your name, an email address, and password, and which country you reside in.
  3. Accept the T&Cs and go to your email client.
  4. Click the link in the email to start your verification.
  5. Enter your password again.
  6. Now, provide a phone number.
  7. Wait for an SMS and then copy the 7-digit code into your browser where indicated.
  8. The KYC checks will ask for your name, date of birth, home address, reasons for joining Coinbase, source of funds, occupation, employer’s name, and if you’re American, the last digits of your SSN.
  9. Go to your emails again and click the link to start your ID verification.
  10. Provide a photo of your passport, ID, or driver’s license via webcam or mobile phone.
  11. Wait for verification; it can be a few minutes or as much as 5 business days.

Winner: It’s a tie. 

Ease Of Use & Feel Of Website/App

Poloniex: Neat & Clean

Poloniex is one of the few exchanges that permits users to trade without a KYC check and withdraw up to $10,000 per day! You will be able to deposit and trade as much crypto as you like, which is great news, especially as Poloniex offers their own DEX, margin trading, and more — all with very low transaction fees. The only thing you can’t do without providing ID is to buy crypto from them. 

poloniex trading interface

Not only are the features and opportunities great, but they’re also straightforward to figure out, as Poloniex has one of the cleanest and most intuitive designs in this competitive space, appealing to beginners and pros alike. If there’s one downside, it’s the poorly-rated customer support available via ticket system, social media, or ‘trollbox’ (a massive chatroom for all users to help or ‘troll’ each other).

Coinbase: Cool & Convenient

There’s one thing that Coinbase does better than anybody else: convenience. They deserve a lot of credit for what they’ve steadily built, a community of crypto-beginners who enter this industry through their brokerage and often stay (or move to Coinbase Pro) because of how easy and well-designed it is as a newbie platform. Coinbase is closer to being described as a household name than any other brokerage, which would signal that they have dominated the first-time-buyer crypto market share. 

We’d be surprised if you experienced any trouble signing up and purchasing crypto on Coinbase; it’s about as easy as doing online shopping, buy Bitcoins instead of bananas. 

Winner: This is literally the one category where nobody beats Coinbase … yet.

Deposit Methods

No Fiat Deposits On Poloniex

So, most crypto exchanges and platforms want you to deposit your real-world money (known as fiat currency) and spend it on their brokerage service. Coinbase and Poloniex differ because Poloniex has no interest in your fiat currency, giving zero options for deposits. This means that for Poloniex, cryptocurrency is the only thing they want you to deposit, and there are 16 different options to do that, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. We’ll show you in the next section. 

Depositing Funds On Coinbase

At Coinbase, they don’t mind if you deposit your fiat currencies first and then spend them or buy crypto directly with your card. They know that at the end of the day, you’re going to buy your crypto there via one of these methods, which may depend on your region:

  • United States – Wire transfer, Manual Bank Transfers on the ACH network (see image below)
  • Europe – SEPA, iDEAL, Sofort
  • United Kingdom – Bank transfers, SWIFT
  • Global – Cryptocurrency or digital asset transfer

There are no deposit fees for SEPA or ACH. Withdrawal fees and more are explained in this Coinbase guide.

Winner: Coinbase eases this round.

Instant Buy Options (Buying with Credit or Debit Card)

Purchasing From Poloniex

There are 16 different coins available for purchase on Poloniex:

Poloniex’s partnership with payment provider Simplex allows users to purchase crypto with their debit or credit cards for 3.5% or $10 USD, whichever is greater (the threshold changes at around $290). Whilst some platforms only offer these services in a handful of fiat currencies, Poloniex has opened their service to holders of around 35 different international currencies, permitting purchases of up to $50,000 per month! 

poloniex instant buy
Making an instant purchase on Poloniex

Note that Simplex decides the pricing and not Poloniex. Customers will receive the cryptocurrencies in around 30 minutes.

Coinbase’s Crypto Checkout

Members with a debit card (1.49%) or credit card (3.99%) will be pleased to know that Coinbase accepts these payment methods, with a spread of only 0.5%, as mentioned before. Coinbase offers more than 25 different cryptocurrencies, but their availability varies. Different countries have different regulations about purchases from cryptocurrency exchanges, so you should check what rules apply to you here.

Scroll back up to the fees section to review the cost breakdown of purchasing from their broker service. 

Winner: Coinbase is cheaper via debit card and has a better selection of coins.

Trading Experience

Poloniex, A Proper Exchange (Margin Trading enabled)

We have to say, Poloniex has made something wonderful, with great colors, a smooth user experience, logical design, and something that’s different in a good way. It’s friendly on the eyes, which is important for traders who observe the charts all day, and it’s a dream for API developers to work with too. With margin trading enabled for those who love risk and a beginner-friendly mobile app for those who love convenient trading on the go, Poloniex is an exchange that can offer something to everyone.

poloniex mobile app
Poloniex mobile app

Coinbase, Easy Costly Trading

Coinbase offers you one of the easiest, if not the absolute easiest, method of converting cryptocurrencies. Imagine you hold Ethereum, but the Cardano price is rising, and you want to swap to capitalize; Coinbase has a converter. On other exchanges, like Poloniex, you’d have to go into the trading interface and buy/sell in that market pair and wait for the transaction to execute.

Coinbase competitor app
Coinbase mobile app

This conversion service is available for 50 different cryptocurrencies, but it comes at a 2% cost (0.125% on Poloniex). It’s faster and smoother, but is it worth paying 16x higher fees? A popular alternative for Coinbase users, once they have their crypto, is to connect to another cryptocurrency exchange, such as Coinbase Pro (0.15/0.25% maker-taker fees), but that’s a story for another day. 

Winner: Poloniex offers a true trading experience for 1/16 the price.

Reputation & Security

Poloniex’s Christmas Cracker

Poloniex has not been hacked themselves, which is great news, but their reputation took a big hit on Christmas Day and Boxing day 2020 when hackers siphoned $4m through their platform. Taking the opportunity whilst people enjoyed Christmas with their families, they hacked Russian cryptocurrency exchange EXMO for $10.5m of Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum and more, and managed to escape with the lot. By the time Poloniex was able to react, it was too late. 

poloniex security methods
Poloniex security methods

Coinbase, Perfect Performance

Coinbase has never been hacked or compromised, it’s the easiest platform with the simplest user interfaces, and they even have a learning section that pays you to learn about crypto. You can’t go wrong here. Their customer support is even highly rated.

coinbase stats screenshot

Winner: Coinbase.

Coinbase vs Poloniex: Who Is Our Winner?

We said at the start that this might be a mismatch, but Poloniex has proved us wrong. If you’re looking for a more similar Coinbase alternative, read Best Coinbase Alternative.

Despite choosing Coinbase as the winner due to its superior suitability for beginners, we do think Poloniex is a well-designed and economical exchange to use once you’ve purchased your cryptocurrencies. 

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