Coinbase is one of the most well-known cryptocurrency exchanges in the entire world! Furthermore, Coinbase is an excellent platform for beginners but did you know about their exchange platform for advanced traders? It's called Coinbase Pro.

Now, both platforms might share the name Coinbase but that is where the similarities end. They are both separate custodial wallets, meaning that a third party controls your private keys. Also, you'll need to set up individual accounts on both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro but you can trade between the two once you do so. They each offer different functionalities and trading options for Canadians. So, which one is the better?

Something to point out to start is that both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro do have limited trading options for Canadians when compared with Canadian cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Although there are still ways you can buy and sell cryptocurrency on both, you will have to jump through a few hoops to do so.

So, let's compare cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Coinbase Pro to help determine which one is better for for Canadians.   


What is Coinbase?

Coinbase Screen

Coinbase is a simple-to-use cryptocurrency trading platform and virtual wallet with around 100 digital assets currently available to Canadian traders. They are a publicly-traded company that is registered and licensed in the United States but with trading options available to Canadians. They list all the most popular digital tokens, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Stellar, and Cardano. The interface is simple for beginners yet allows them to start dabbling in the world of cryptocurrency without being overwhelmed by too many features and complicated charts. Coinbase operates more on an online brokerage model, where you purchase your digital assets directly from them and then sell them back to them.

What is Coinbase Pro?

Coinbase Pro Graph

Coinbase Pro is a step up from the Coinbase standard version and it has fundamental differences. The platform interface looks a lot like the interface of Binance, with more advanced analysis charts and features. The main difference between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro is that you cannot purchase cryptocurrency using fiat currency, Canadian Dollars or otherwise, on the Pro version.

The only way that Canadians can utilize Coinbase Pro is via crypto-to-crypto trading. It's essentially an exchange where users can buy and sell cryptocurrency from each other, meaning you'll already need to have cryptocurrency to start with. On Coinbase Pro, you can see real-time pricing for a considerable amount of digital tokens, and much more than on Coinbase standard. So, more experienced Canadian traders might be interested in exploring the advanced interface and more niche token options.

Trading options for Canadians

As we've already touched on, the trading options for Canadians on both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro have limited trading options for Canadians compared with some of the other best cryptocurrency platforms in Canada. Let's look at the trading options for both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro for those wanting to trade in Canadian Dollars.


Coinbase allows Canadians to purchase digital currency using CAD, but only via debit card. You cannot fund your account with CAD from your bank account, pay via Interac E-transfer, or buy crypto with a credit card. You are also limited in the amount of cryptocurrency that you can purchase, only about $400 CA per week.  

Another limitation comes when you want to sell your assets. You cannot sell your cryptocurrency on Coinbase and withdraw your funds to a bank account. There is no way to sell them and use the funds to purchase other forms of crypto. You can only sell directly to your PayPal account, transfer your assets to an external wallet or send them to your Coinbase Pro account.

Coinbase Pro

Coinbase Pro is even more limited for Canadian traders, especially if you don't already hold cryptocurrency anywhere else. You cannot directly purchase cryptocurrency on Coinbase Pro. Instead, you will need to transfer your digital assets from an external wallet or from your Coinbase standard account, where you can then trade them for other coins.

Unlike the Coinbase standard version, there's no limit on how many orders you can make. But there is also no way to sell your cryptocurrency on Coinbase Pro. Where Coinbase standard at least allows you to withdraw to PayPal, your only option on Pro is to send your cryptocurrency to an external platform or wallet.

Remember that the original Coinbase only supports limited tokens, so you can't just send any tokens back to your standard account. You can, however, sell coins on the marketplace, which allows you to sell your coins directly to other users. Again, this has limitations. Only a few tokens are supposed in the marketplace, which means you'll first have to convert any altcoins into supported coins before you can make the sale.


Coinbase is notorious in the cryptocurrency exchange world for its high fees. The fee structure of both platforms is confusing in general, fluctuating based on various factors. As Canadians, we are only subject to a flat fee of 3.99%. That is because the only way you can purchase cryptocurrency on Coinbase using Canadian Dollars is via a debit card. You cannot fund your account with CAD, nor can you use a credit card to pay for your cryptocurrency.

This doesn't give you much flexibility, but it's currently the only option for Canadians. The 3.99% fee is among the highest fees you'll find with any cryptocurrency exchange, and it adds up fast if you plan to be making a lot of transactions. Another thing to note is that Coinbase always charges for the spread, which is typical across most exchanges that operate as brokerages. The spread usually starts around 0.5%, but it can vary based on the amount of your transaction and market prices.

Coinbase Pro doesn't even let you purchase cryptocurrency with Canadian Dollars. The only way you can buy digital tokens is with digital tokens you already possess. That means you would have to deposit cryptocurrency into your Coinbase Pro account from an external wallet or exchange and then use it to trade for your preferred token. You will not have to pay any fees to Coinbase Pro to deposit funds from an external cryptocurrency wallet, and you can also transfer back and forth between your Coinbase and Coinbase Pro accounts for free.


Both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro have different features to offer Canadian users. The best one for you will depend on what types of features you need access to and what level you plan to trade. Let's break it down.

Coinbase features

Coinbase Feature

The standard Coinbase has a basic interface with standard trading features. You simply click on Trade, enter your card details and how much you want to buy, and you're done. There are no advanced analysis charts and limited trading options to keep everything very straightforward.

Coinbase also offers the Coinbase Wallet. It is a hot wallet app, available for both mobile and desktop. The wallet gives you complete control over your digital assets instead of in their custodial wallets.

Another great feature of Coinbase is the Learn to Earn platform, which is available on both desktop and mobile app. It's an education platform where users can watch videos and tutorials to learn about different cryptocurrency programs. There will be a short quiz at the end of the videos, and by passing the examination, you earn free crypto! This is a super unique feature that is only available on Coinbase and is super valuable for its target market of beginner traders.

One other helpful feature is the ability to set up price alerts. You do not have to check your crypto multiple times a day. Price alerts notify you if there are ever significant changes in prices.

Coinbase Pro features

Coinbase Pro has features that more experienced Canadian expect. To start with, it offers very in-depth charting and even allows users to create their own chart views depending on what they want to see. There is the classic candlestick chart, which is updated in real-time, plus you can see open and close prices during your selected time period. 

Coinbase Pro also gives users access to substantially more digital assets. Although you can buy the most popular coins on the standard Coinbase, Coinbase Pro has over 250 available tokens. Just remember that they are only accessible through crypto-to-crypto trading, not via fiat. 

How easy is it to use the platforms?

When choosing a cryptocurrency platform, one of the primary factors you should consider is its user friendliness. Whether you want something with advanced features or not, you want to be able to use them easily and without having to watch tutorials just to figure out how to make a trade. So, how do Coinbase and Coinbase Pro compare in this category?

Coinbase user friendliness

Coinbase Market Trend

Coinbase is extremely easy for beginner traders to use. It makes a great starter platform for those who want to dabble in the more popular coins, as there are more than enough options to get someone started. The signup process is also very straightforward, and you will just require a Canadian phone number to set up SMS verification. You also need to provide some additional info to set up your account, but once you do, the account is usually ready  within minutes.

In regards to navigating the platform, the streamlined design makes it easy to find what you're looking for. However, it has limited functionalities. On top of that, since there is only one option available for Canadians to purchase cryptocurrency on Coinbase, it's nearly impossible to mess it up.

Coinbase Pro is for experienced traders

Coinbase Pro is another story. At first glance, Coinbase Pro is a screen full of charts, graphs, and constantly changing numbers. There are cryptocurrency codes, price charts, depth charts, order history and trade history, which are updated in real-time. Beginner Canadians traders will probably want to get out of there as fast as possible, but for more experienced traders, it could be precisely what they are looking for.

Coinbase Deposit DA

That said, it's still complicated to use for Canadians because CAD is not an accepted currency. So, you have to deposit cryptocurrency from an external exchange or wallet. It's not an overly complex process if you're familiar with this process and used to other crypto exchanges. But for Canadians who are using Coinbase as their first exchange, there isn't even a way to use Coinbase Pro at all. Other countries have access to more features and can use fiat currencies, but Canada isn't on that list yet.


Both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro have the same security features, so one isn't better than the other. They both encrypt their data, storing private keys and wallets using encryption and running web traffic over SSL. They also are transparent about the fact that 98% of assets are stored offline in cold storage, and the rest of the funds are protected by insurance. When it comes to security, it's a tie.

Pros and cons of Coinbase for Canadians

Mobile appHigh fees
Simple trading interfaceCannot fund your account with CAD
Can purchase cryptocurrency with a debit cardCannot purchase via credit card or Interac E-transfer
Can withdraw your money to PayPal 

Pros and cons of Coinbase Pro for Canadians

Advanced trading optionsNo mobile app
Over 250 digital tokens are availableCan't purchase cryptocurrency with Canadian Dollars
 Only crypto-to-crypto trading

Coinbase vs Coinbase Pro: Which one is better for Canadians?

It's hard to pick a clear winner for Canadians trying to choose between Coinbase or Coinbase Pro. If you're a new trader and this is the first platform you're using, it will have to be Coinbase. Even though the fees are high, it's easy to use, and you can purchase cryptocurrency with your Canadian debit card. Coinbase Pro is best suited for Canadians who already have crypto assets on another platform and are looking for a more advanced trading interface.

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