GDAX vs Poloniex | In-Depth Exchange Comparison

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GDAX and Poloniex are both among the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, but the two platforms cater to two very different audiences and have equally different industry reputations. In this exchange comparison, we’ll go over all of the important details for you to decide which platform is a better fit for your cryptocurrency needs.

This in-depth exchange comparison will cover the following topics:

ExchangeGDAX Logo
GDAX

Poloniex Logo Dark
Poloniex

Beginner Friendly?

Okay
Semi

No
No

Deposit MethodsBank Transfer, Bank Wire, Cryptocurrency, Coinbase TransferCryptocurrency Only
Withdrawal MethodsBank Transfer, Bank Wire, Cryptocurrency, Coinbase TransferCryptocurrency Only
Purchase Fees~0.3% or less0.25% or less
Supported CryptocurrenciesBitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash65+
LocationSan Francisco, California, USAWilmington, Delaware
Trust GradeA+C-
Customer SupportGoodVery Bad
Review & User GuideGDAX ReviewPoloniex Review
SiteVisit GDAXVisit Poloniex

GDAX is a San Francisco based cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to easily trade fiat currencies (USD, EUR, GBP) for some of the most popular cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. GDAX is owned by Coinbase and carries with it the same stellar reputation as its parent company. At time of writing, GDAX is the 8th most popular exchange by daily trade volume.

Poloniex is a cryptocurrency-only exchange launched in 2014, operating out of Wilmington, Delaware. While GDAX is aimed at letting users convert between fiat and a select few cryptocurrencies, Poloniex is used for trading among a wide range of alternative coins.

Flashback one year ago, and you’d be hard-pressed to find Poloniex not in the top 5 cryptocurrency exchanges by daily trade volume. Today, however, Poloniex has fallen significantly from its previous status. Crippled by security and customer service concerns, Poloniex is ranked 22nd at time of writing. Instead, users now favor Binance and Bittrex for trading a large variety of altcoins. You can see a comparison of these 3 exchanges in our Poloniex vs Binance vs Bittrex guide.

As mentioned above, both GDAX and its parent company Coinbase have strong industry reputations which are based in part on their impressive security practices. Some of these practices include:

  • GDAX separates customer funds from company funds.
  • Customer funds are never used for operational purposes.
  • 98% of customers’ cryptocurrency funds are stored in secure offline cold storage.
  • The remaining online crypto funds are fully insured.
  • United States residents’ USD balances are FDIC insured up to a maximum of $250,000.
  • GDAX also fully complies with U.S. regulations like The Bank Secrecy Act and The USA Patriot Act

GDAX also gives users several methods to protect their personal accounts including 2-Factor Authentication (2FA), required verification for new devices, and the ability to store funds in the ‘Coinbase Vault’, which provides several additional security measures like time-delayed withdrawals and multiple signer options.

Poloniex, on the other hand, is significantly less reputable when it comes to security. In fact, security concerns and poor customer support are a big part of why Poloniex has fallen so far behind many of its competitors. Poloniex users have reported numerous bad experiences working with the site, including missing funds, frozen accounts, and even withdrawals that were listed as ‘pending’ for weeks or months. These matters were amplified by the company’s dismal customer support. Many users felt like they were not being heard and were totally at the mercy of the exchange. Poloniex has since garnered a reputation as an exchange where you might risk losing access to your funds, just by using the platform.

GDAX was designed to complement the ultra user-friendly Coinbase by providing users with a more robust experience geared toward serious traders. The interface is simple and clean, making it very easy to deposit or withdraw funds, view order histories, and make trades.

GDAX Buy Litecoin LTC with USD

Poloniex’s user interface is functional, if uninspired. Navigating the site and making trades are intuitive, but the screen feels cluttered, and the washed-out color scheme leaves something to be desired.

GDAX, like most cryptocurrency exchanges that support fiat currencies, offers just a handful of the most popular coins: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Poloniex definitely has the edge in this regard. As of writing, the platform supports 65+ unique cryptocurrencies. With that said, they recently have not been adding coins at a consistent rate, unlike competitor Binance.

GDAX supports payments through bank transfers and bank wires. Users who sign up for an account on GDAX are also automatically given an account on Coinbase, where users have the added option to make payments with debit cards.

As a cryptocurrency-only exchange, Poloniex exclusively supports deposits and withdrawals in cryptocurrencies. Users must first convert their fiat currency to cryptocurrency on another exchange with fiat support before being able to trade on Poloniex.

GDAX uses a maker-taker fee schedule based on users’ 30-day trade volume. The maximum fee is 0.3% and the minimum is 0.1%.

GDAX Fees

Poloniex also follows a maker-taker fee schedule, offering a slightly lower maximum fee at 0.25% and a slightly lower minimum at 0.05%.

GDAX and Poloniex are different platforms both in purpose and in quality. GDAX is an excellent choice for those looking to convert their fiat into four of the most popular cryptocurrencies, particularly for those looking to pay through bank transfer or bank wire. Poloniex, on the other hand, eschews fiat support in favor of a wide range of alternative coins. Unlike GDAX, however, we cannot recommend it as a good option, even for this purpose. Given Poloniex’s security and customer service issues, users would be better off utilizing one of the exchange’s competitors in Binance or Bittrex.

Matthew Godshall is the editor in chief at Unhashed.com. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Matthew hopes to turn Unhashed into the Internet’s premiere site for cryptocurrency resources.

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