There are hundreds of different cryptocurrency exchanges on the internet nowadays, but most of them fall into either one of two kinds of exchanges: the instant, non-custodial exchange or the traditional, custodial exchange. Changelly is an example of the former, while Coinbase belongs to the latter. In this article, we’ll do a Changelly vs Coinbase comparison so you can decide which one is more convenient for you.
What is Changelly?
Changelly has been around since 2015 and is one of the more popular non-custodial crypto exchanges, along with Shapeshift and CoinSwitch. This kind of exchange doesn’t hold user’s crypto tokens. Users must use provide de wallets they will use for their transactions. Because they hold no cryptocurrency, non-custodial exchanges are a less appealing target for potential hackers. They also offer simpler Uis and lack the advanced trading options more experienced traders are usually looking for. Some non-custodial exchanges don’t require the user to create an account, making anonymous trading possible.
Is Changelly safe?
Crypto exchanges have been hacked in the past, and millions of dollars worth of user’s cryptocurrency have been stolen. But the stolen tokens were stored in exchange-provided wallets. Because Changelly doesn’t store any tokens, hackers are far less tempted to break into it. So Changelly itself is safe and, in the end, wallet security is completely up to each user.
What about fees?
Changelly fees are very straightforward and easy to understand. They use a flat 0.25% fee for all trades.
Changelly’s main advantages are its simple UI, easy-to-understand fee system, speed and that they require little personal information from users. In fact, users need only provide an email address. This is a plus for people who prefer anonymity. For a more detailed Changelly review, along with other non-custodial exchanges, you can check out my article on Shapeshift alternatives.
What is Coinbase?
Coinbase was founded in 2012 and is a cryptocurrency exchange service, based in San Francisco. It is one of the most well-known custodial cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. As with all custodial exchanges, Coinbase provides crypto wallets for all its users and all tokens bought or traded are stored in those wallets until the user transfers them to their own personal wallets. This type of exchange can easily hold millions of dollars worth of user tokens, which is why they are targeted by hackers. A few months ago, Coinbase reported that they had been targeted by hackers this past June, but the security team blocked the attempt without any crypto being stolen.
Many custodial exchanges, like Bittrex or Poloniex, have fairly complex user interfaces with advanced trading options that advanced users enjoy. This isn’t the case for Coinbase, as their UI is simpler (though not quite as simple as on non-custodial) and doesn’t offer advanced tools.
Coinbase is generally considered a beginner-friendly cryptocurrency exchange.
Is Coinbase safe?
Even though Coinbase is a tempting target for hackers, they have yet to suffer any significant hacks. They have implemented several important security measures. First of all, most funds are stored in offline encrypted wallets, and those wallets are distributed among several different places. For added security, two-factor authentication (2FA) is mandatory for all users. Almost any Coinbase review you find will speak highly of their security.
All cryptocurrency purchases and sales require you to pay a fee. This is normal for every exchange. However, figuring out your transaction fee on Coinbase can be a little confusing for beginners. Unlike Changelly, which uses a fixed percentage, Coinbase fees vary according to the amount of crypto you are buying and the payment method.
For example, if you are buying 100 USD worth of Bitcoin and paying with a US bank account, the fee would be 2.99 USD. But if you are paying with a credit card, then the fee would be 3.99 USD. This takes some getting used to.
Now that we’ve met our two contenders in this comparison, let’s see them go head-to-head in different areas and check where they are similar and where they differ.
Changelly VS Coinbase: Head-to-Head
Type of exchange
Coinbase is custodial. Changelly is non-custodial. Non-custodial exchanges have the advantage of wallet ownership, as you use your personal wallets for trading. Custodial exchanges provide wallet addresses for users, but the users don’t get their wallet’s private keys, which means they don’t have full ownership.
Non-custodial exchanges also have the slight security advantage of being less appealing to hackers because they don’t hold tokens.
If there is one advantage for custodial exchanges, that would be convenience. With these exchanges, all your crypto wallets are in one place. If you are investing in many different tokens, creating personal wallets for each of them might be daunting.
Deciding a winner in this round isn’t easy. Some users might prefer convenience, while wallet ownership is more important for others.
Coinbase may be more appealing for hackers, but they have managed to keep things safe. With offline storage, encryption and mandatory 2FA, among other security measures and protocols, they have yet to suffer hacks or major thefts.
Both exchanges are safe, even if this safety is accomplished by different means. This round is a draw for both.
Until recently, Changelly didn’t allow buying crypto with fiat currency. However, they have recently started allowing the purchase of Bitcoin with credit cards.
Coinbase has supported fiat currency from the get-go. You can both buy cryptocurrency with fiat, and withdraw crypto to fiat. Payments can be made with US bank accounts, credit cards, SEPA deposits, SWIFT, PayPal, and others.
Coinbase has a definite advantage in this round.
Ease of use and speed
Coinbase features a UI that is far easier than other custodial exchanges like Bittrex or Binace and is considered a good option for novice crypto traders. But easy as Coinbase’s interface may be, Changelly is on a whole other level of ease.
Both exchanges offer fast trading, with transactions taking only minutes to complete.
This round ends with a slight advantage for Changelly because of its simple, minimalist UI.
Neither of these exchanges offers completely anonymous transactions. Both of them require users to create an account. However, Coinbase will require ID verification while Changelly only asks for a valid email address, which doesn’t have to be the user’s main email.
This round goes to Changelly. Hands down.
Coinbase offers crypto trading for users from 32 different countries around the world. For other countries, Coinbase functions as a crypto wallet only. Since Changelly requires no personal information, the exchange can be used by people from any country.
This round goes to Changelly, especially if you don’t live in one of the 32 countries Coinbase supports completely.
The whole purpose of crypto trading is to exchange one type of cryptocurrency for another, The more tokens an exchange lists, the more trading options users have. Coinbase supports 18 different cryptocurrencies. Changelly lists over 150 and easily takes this round.
Both exchanges take very different strategies for establishing trading fees. On Coinbase, fees are established using a set of rules in which trading fees vary according to the amount being traded, payment method and user’s country of residence. Users don’t always know in advance what fee they’ll have to pay, but this information is displayed before doing the actual purchase.
Changelly uses a simpler method. The trading fee is a standard 0.25% of the transaction price. If you are trading 100 USD worth of Ether, the amount you will get will be the equivalent of 99.75 USD. This system is easier to understand, especially for novice traders. Also, fees will generally be lower than those on Coinbase. However, when trading one token for another, Changelly might not find the best exchange rate and you may not get all your money’s worth.
Changelly’s fee system is easier to understand but might not get you the best deal. Let’s call a draw on this one.
Many people engage in crypto trading using their tablets or smartphones, so exchanges offering mobile apps have an advantage over those who don’t.
Both Coinbase and Changelly offer mobile apps for both iOS and Android, and both apps are well designed and easy to use. This round is a draw.
Changelly VS Coinbase Conclusion…
Let’s look at the final tally of our head-to-head:
|1: Type of exchange||X|
|3: Payment methods||X|
|4: Ease and speed||X|
|9: Mobile apps||X|
Coinbase takes one round, Changelly takes four and four rounds to end in a draw or undecided. This might give the impression that Changelly is far superior to Coinbase. But sometimes choosing an exchange can depend on one single factor that is most important to you. For example, if you need to use PayPal to buy your cryptocurrencies, then Coinbase is the exchange for you, no matter how many rounds it may have lost. If you need anonymity, Changelly or another non-custodial exchange can provide it.
In the end, both platforms are fine exchanges, offering fast, secure and reliable cryptocurrency trading. This Changelly vs Coinbase guide has provided you with information on both services so you can make an informed decision on which one to use. Having said that, go ahead and happy trading!
Read More: Bitstamp VS Coinbase
Jesus Cedeño is a certified doctor turned cryptocurrency expert, writer, and investor who lives in New York City. Jesús specializes in cryptocurrency product reviews, tutorials & technical analysis. Follow him on LinkedIn to stay up to date on his latest work on blockchain, decentralization and crypto investments.