Cryptocurrency Exchange Trading Platform User’s Guide


Californian Coinbase Pro has been a classic “sweet spot” project that was well received from the start. Co-founded by the current CEO, Brian Armstrong, the digital bitcoin exchange was previously known as GDAX or simply Coinbase. The emergence of Coinbase Pro is a rebranding exercise that does come with some technical advances too.

Always having been a legacy exchange facsimile, the digital platform has emulated many features and familiarities of a typical fiat trading exchange. This has no doubt contributed to its rapid normalization and adoption within the cryptosphere, as well as by entering traditional traders.

Coinbase recently bought Paradex, the Ethereum startup, for an undisclosed sum. Based on this acquisition, the exchange is rebranding and rolling out a menu of new services. These now include allowing users to trade between wallets without the exchange playing middleman, more detailed intel available to traders, as well as the potential for expanding the offered coin range. The incorporation of the new tech will give Coinbase’s approximately 20 million users unbeatable transactability, so far unrivaled by other virtual exchanges.

Coinbase Pro In A Nutshell

Coinbase Pro is now an established digital currency exchange where users can employ fiat or crypto to buy into and trade a range of cryptocurrencies. It remains primarily a Bitcoin-oriented exchange, but with sufficient diversity for its traders. It has trading charts, current and relevant intel on any chosen trading pair and a raft of useful figures onsite.

Although some exchanges are minimal, Coinbase Pro has taken the next step in cementing itself as one of the premium virtual exchanges. There also exists an institutional offer – Coinbase Prime – that has purposely been separated not for snobbery, but to entice institutional investors. Entice and accommodate, in fact, and the exchange’s recent partnering with a custody company is further testament to their obvious desire to be the most attractive exchange for all comers.

Although detailed, the exchange is simple enough to navigate, even for newcomers, and trading on Coinbase Pro is uncomplicated. The exchange has avoided any really nasty press, although users have succumbed individually to robberies. The exchange’s own vaults have never been breached, and in an era of repeated large-scale sacking of some commercial crypto coffers, the exchange stores around 98 percent of its users’ holdings offsite in a cold vault facility.

Where Does Coinbase Pro Fit In?

After the $500 million Mt. Gox incident ruined that exchange, and the Hong Kong Bitfinex theft where some $72 million was stolen in a matter of minutes through a security breach, Coinbase has, to its credit, taken no chances. Being as yet unpenetrated is a distinction in the industry and a prime reason for the exchange’s reputation, alongside its professional build and great UX. That reputation is often given by new members who have sought an entry point, and chosen Coinbase Pro.

For many new entrants and existing users, Coinbase Pro remains the safest place for them to make purchases and trade. This fact has facilitated over 20 million customers who have billions of USD in holdings with the exchange. It also has a valid claim to being the blockchain industry’s first unicorn, and commentators note that they have made a deal out of emulating banking protocols.

The exchange is focused on security and trust, something legacy banks have traded on for centuries. Fred Wilson, a VC who backed Coinbase Pro from the outset, said in March 2018, “They’re like JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs, for blockchain.” Coinbase Pro is the largest digital exchange in the world by trading volume.

How To Use Coinbase Pro

The company’s partnering with Paradex – a move that has transformed the old institutional offer GDAX and the retail-oriented Coinbase into Coinbase Pro – is in line with what Armstrong calls “Coinbase’s commitment to investing in decentralized infrastructure.” A user will need to verify themselves when opening an account on the exchange. Before depositing or transacting, users will need to upload documents and conform to mandatory AML and KYC legislation.

While some exchanges skirt this, mostly by acting as a P2P portal, Coinbase Pro’s offering means it has to comply with current regulations. Once verified, users can deposit (and withdraw) fiat from the “Assets” option that leads to further “Deposit” or “Withdrawal” options. Fiats accepted are a growing list, with 32 currencies currently valid as a means of deposit.

Depositing digital currencies is as simple as transferring from a user wallet, provided the cryptos are bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin or ethereum. Withdrawals are as simple, where a user simply goes to “Withdrawal” as above and enters a currency type and wallet address. Trading currency pairs is simple as well, with the intuitive layout and copious intel onsite.

There is a dropdown menu at top left that shows available currency pairs. Traders choose from this list and either peruse the right hand side where price and depth charts abound, or having done their own homework simply get into trading.

It’s always good advice for traders to store their own funds after a bout of trading, assuming their wallet matches or exceeds Coinbase Pro’s vault. That said, as it currently stands, many traders don’t withdraw funds to minimize churn and fees, and to date the exchange in all fairness hasn’t given them reason to. Traders can constantly view their open orders and the order book and other more advanced trading tools are now established with the exchange’s rebranding.

Coinbase Pro fees are derived of what is known as the “maker-taker model.” At its heart, this means people prepared to lodge a standing order that cannot be immediately matched pay no fees. These are makers. Takers, on the other hand, have orders filled immediately, at market prices. Users trying to figure costs should remember that an order can be divided into many taker/maker orders. Here the same protocol stands, where maker movements attract no fees while taker movements do.

Coinbase Pro Taker fees are typically 0.30 percent to $10 million, 0.20 percent from $10 million to $100 million, and 0.10 percent on values beyond. The Paradex non-custodial inclusion also serves ERC20 tokens from here on, and further Paradex development may well enable a far greater inclusion of tokens.

Making The Most Of Coinbase Pro

Coinbase Pro has professional touches that loyal users swear by. There is underwritten digital asset insurance that gives users a large measure of reassurance. Users with USD in their accounts also fall under FDIC insurance, although there is a cap of $250,000 per user.

Even though it is an exchange designed for more advanced traders, Coinbase Pro has somehow managed to avoid alienating complete newcomers as well. Unlike other exchanges, the Paradex inclusion also allows users to deal wallet-to-wallet, something the CEO predicts will be a growing trend. There is also now Coinbase Custody for institutional investors, a sector many exchanges are looking to grow.

Support can be less than optimum – an almost defining attribute of digital exchanges for some reason – although unlike typical horror stories in chat rooms, the company has a better record in this arena than most.

An all-round polished exchange, users are advised to get in small, even with Coinbase Pro. Depositing and transferring out initially should both be with test amounts, before moving large amounts. This is more to familiarize users and generate a sense of security than any issue with the platform, however. Indeed, many current users cannot imagine trading elsewhere, and the company continues its dominance in the arena.

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