In this comparison, we’ll take a look at two of the most popular and longest operating cryptocurrency exchanges – Coinbase and Bitfinex. While both platforms offer ways to acquire and trade crypto, they actually differ a great deal. By the end of this Bitfinex vs Coinbase guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of their differences and be able to choose the exchange that’s right for you.
Bitfinex vs Coinbase Comparison Table
|Fees||0.2% or less||~1.49% Bank Transfer
~3.99% Credit Card
|Accepts U.S. Based Users||No||
|Minimum Account Equity Required?||$10,000||No|
|Deposit/Withdrawal Methods||Cryptocurrency, USD & EUR Bank Wires||Bank Transfer, Bank Wire, & Credit Card|
|Has Exchange Been Hacked?||Yes||No|
|Supported Cryptocurrencies||35+||Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash|
|Company Location||Hong Kong & Taiwan||San Francisco, California|
|Community Trust Grade||B-||A+|
|Site||Visit Bitfinex||Visit Coinbase|
Overview of the Exchanges
Coinbase was created to be an incredibly simple way for casual investors to buy and sell the most popular cryptocurrencies – currently listing Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. With that philosophy in mind, its user interface is very straightforward, only requiring users to enter the amount of a chosen crypto they want to buy. To make purchasing crypto more accessible to the masses, the site also is one of the few options that accepts credit card purchases, albeit at a higher fee (~3.99%) than bank transfer purchases (~1.499%).
Currently the site supports users in 32 different countries including the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom.
(You can learn more about the platform in our Coinbase Review).
Bitfinex on the other hand caters to serious retail and institutional investors. The exchange requires a minimum account equity of at least $10,000 to be able to use the platform.
While Bitfinex does support fiat currency deposits through bank wires, users must first verify their account which is currently estimated to take 6-8 weeks. With that said, you do not need to verify your account if you only want to deposit, withdrawal, and trade cryptocurrency. Do keep in mind, you’ll still need to meet their minimum equity requirement.
As a tool for serious investors, the user interface is notably more complex. The platform also does NOT accept U.S. based users, though it does accept most other countries.
The positive of Bitfinex is its lower fees (0.2% or less) and its large variety of supported cryptocurrencies (35+). U.S. based users wanting to trade a variety of altcoins would be best served by Binance.
(You can learn more about the platform in our Bitfinex Review).
Are These Exchanges Safe?
Trusted by over 10 million users and based out of San Francisco, California, Coinbase has received over $200 million in venture capital funding. The company has set the standard for exchange security, as is shown in the following list of security features:
- All customer funds are segregated from company operational funds.
- 98% of cryptocurrency funds are held in secure offline cold storage.
- The remaining 2% of crypto funds are held in hot wallets and fully insured.
- U.S. based customers’ USD funds are FDIC insured.
- Offers 2-Factor Authentication and the “Coinbase Vault” to help users secure their accounts.
Today Bitfinex is used by a huge number of cryptocurrency traders, however the exchange has had a rough past.
In August 2016, the exchange was hacked resulting in roughly 120,000 Bitcoins being stolen (valued at $72 million at the time). Users were eventually paid back, however it took nearly a year and users were paid back the USD equivalent of what they had lost, missing out on Bitcoin price gains. Since then Bitfinex has overhauled their security practices and has not suffered any security breaches. You can learn more about the hack and Bitfinex’s history in our review here.
Payment Methods and Fees
Coinbase accepts bank transfer, bank wire, and credit card purchases. While the exchange does provide the easiest way to purchase cryptocurrencies, they do charge slightly higher fees than some competitors.
Typically this means purchases through bank transfer will cost 1.49% and credit card purchases will cost 3.99%, though users making small purchases may be subject to higher fees. Fees are always displayed prior to purchase.
Bitfinex has a volume based fee schedule, with a maximum fee of 0.2%. Here, you can see Bitfinex’s trading fees and deposit fees.
Bitfinex does come out way on top in available cryptocurrencies.
Coinbase only offers the ability to purchase, sell, and store Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.
Bitfinex supports all the above coins, as well as 30+ more. This exchange has also been far more active in regularly adding new coins.
Coinbase vs Bitfinex Summary
Of the exchange in our Coinbase vs Bitfinex summary, we typically only recommend one of these options – Coinbase.
Coinbase is a great way for cryptocurrency newcomers to begin investing in cryptocurrency. The platform is widely trusted and incredibly beginner friendly.
While Bitfinex is one of the more popular options for trading a large variety of cryptocurrencies, we favor Binance for those in need of this. Note that Binance does not accept fiat currency deposits, so you’ll first need to purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum from a site like Coinbase.
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