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Uphold vs. Coinbase

Coinbase is the easier crypto exchange for beginners

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If you’re looking to buy, sell, or exchange digital currencies like Bitcoin, you’ll need an account at a cryptocurrency exchange. Coinbase and Uphold are large crypto exchanges that support users in the United States and enable you to buy, sell, and trade a long list of assets.

Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange ideal for beginners. However, the more powerful Coinbase Pro platform is also available to any eligible trader and is ideal for intermedia to expert crypto investors. Uphold supports more than just crypto, with options to buy precious metals and even supported stocks on the platform.

Uphold and Coinbase each target a different type of trader or investor, so it’s a good idea to review the details when picking between the two. To help you decide, we reviewed features, pricing, supported assets, and other key features of Uphold vs. Coinbase.

Unlike traditional brokerage firms, cryptocurrency exchanges are not members of the Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC). Therefore, unless user terms specify otherwise, investors with cryptocurrency assets commingled on a custodial cryptocurrency exchange could potentially lose their funds as unsecured creditors.

Investing in cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and other Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is highly risky and speculative, and the markets can be extremely volatile. Consult with a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. This article is not a recommendation by The Balance or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies nor can the accuracy or timeliness of the information be guaranteed.




  • Trade crypto, metals, and stocks

  • Convert between any support asset type

  • Integrates with Brave browser rewards

  • Fewer cryptocurrency options that some competitors

  • Spreads can exceed 1% on Bitcoin and 3% for metals




  • Easy to buy Bitcoin and other currencies

  • Lower pricing available with Coinbase Pro

  • Advanced trading platform available

  • Opportunities to earn free crypto

  • High per-transaction fees up to $2.99 per trade

  • 0.50% spread built into most asset prices

At a Glance

  Uphold Coinbase 
Fees  Spread pricing (around 1% to 3% for some popular assets) $0.99 to $2.99 + 0.50% spread
Currencies  52  62 
Security  Bank-level encryption, two-factor sign-in available  Bank-level encryption, two-factor sign-in available 
Wallet  Integrated software wallet  Integrated software wallet 
Transactions Supported  Market, Limit  Market (Limit and Stop on Coinbase Pro) 
Max. Trading Amount  No limit  No limit 
Mobile App  iOS/Android  iOS/Android 

Uphold vs. Coinbase: Ease of Use

For ease of use, Coinbase is the winner. Coinbase is a top choice for U.S.-based cryptocurrency newbies looking to buy, sell, or trade crypto. It makes signing up simple and offers a straightforward website and mobile app where you can purchase crypto in just a few clicks.

Uphold is a little trickier to get started but offers a similarly easy-to-navigate system once you’re logged in. While access to more assets than just cryptocurrency makes the accounts a bit more complex, anyone comfortable with computers and the basics of cryptocurrency should do just fine with Uphold.

Uphold vs. Coinbase: Security

Uphold uses strong encryption to keep your connection secure. You can also activate two-factor authentication, a good idea for any financial account you have with this option. When you turn this feature on, you must enter a unique six-digit code generated by an authenticator app on your phone.

Coinbase offers similar strong security and two-factor options. With any cryptocurrency platform, keeping your account information secure is paramount. Anyone with access can send your cryptocurrencies to their digital wallet, and you likely have little if any recourse to recoup your losses. Use a unique password on every website, particularly financial and cryptocurrency accounts, to keep your assets as safe as possible.

Uphold vs. Coinbase: Features


  • Trade between any supported assets: Trade directly between any supported asset class with no restrictions on certain currency pairs.
  • Trade non-crypto assets: Trade precious metals, foreign currencies, and even fractional shares of some stocks.
  • Works with Brave browser rewards: If you use the Brave browser, you can earn free BAT cryptocurrency and withdraw to an Uphold account.
  • Automated transactions. With the AutoPilot feature, you can schedule up to $100 in Bitcoin every month for trades of cryptocurrencies, precious metals, equities, and more. One-time scheduled transactions are also available.
  • Limit orders. According to Uphold, with its limit orders, you can "have up to 50 orders in place simultaneously using the same pool of capital and you can also establish buy and sell orders against a target price that is ‘outside’ the order."
  • Third-party integrations. Using the Uphold API, users can take advantage of features such as Tap Rewards and Taxbit.


  • Easy crypto purchases: Buy from your account balance or directly from a bank account, debit card, or PayPal if you’re willing to pay a little extra.
  • Lower pricing and more features with Coinbase Pro: Pay a maximum 0.50% spread and get access to more advanced trading tools with Coinbase Pro.
  • Free crypto with Coinbase Earn: Once you sign up, you can earn free cryptocurrency as a reward for watching short videos about how they work.

Uphold vs. Coinbase: Currencies

There are more than 10,000 cryptocurrencies, but most people only care about the top dozen or so most popular currencies. Both Coinbase and Uphold give you access to dozens of the most popular coins with fairly similar access to different currencies.

The big standout here is that Uphold goes beyond cryptocurrencies. You can also buy foreign currencies, precious metals, and even shares of stock. Two cryptocurrencies on the platform focus on carbon credit trading. There are a few unique trading opportunities at Uphold you won’t find at most other cryptocurrency exchanges.

Uphold vs. Coinbase: Fees

Fees are the downside of any investment, so you should work to avoid them. Coinbase charges fairly straightforward fees while Uphold somewhat hides them in asset price spreads.

At Coinbase, fees range from $0.99 to $2.99 depending on the trade size, plus a spread of about 0.50%. That isn’t the cheapest around, but it is more affordable than the typical spread at Uphold. Uphold charges between 0.8% and 1.2% on moth BTC and ETH transactions and 1.8% on most other major cryptocurrencies, though spreads can be much higher in some cases.

Other spreads at Uphold include 3% for precious metals, 0.2% for major national currency pairs, and 1% for U.S. equities. But there are no added per-trade charges to worry about.

  Coinbase Uphold 
ACH Transfer Free Free 
Purchase - Bank Account  1.49% Free
Purchase - Debit Card  3.99%  Free 
Purchase - PayPal  3.99%  N/A 

Uphold vs. Coinbase: Mobile App

Coinbase and Uphold offer mobile apps that give you virtually all of the features from the web experience. Some users may even find the mobile app versions easier to use and navigate than the web. Plus, you can use them on the go.

Coinbase features apps for the main Coinbase platform and dedicated apps for Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Wallet. There’s a single mobile app available at Uphold to manage your account anywhere with an internet connection. Both are available for Android and iOS devices.

Uphold vs. Coinbase: Access

If you sign up for Coinbase or Uphold, you may come across some details of the site that are not relevant for accounts in the United States. For example, Coinbase restricts purchases of the coin Ripple (XRP) for U.S. users due to ongoing litigation.

With an account set up from the United States at Uphold, in all U.S. states except New York, users can trade XRP and international users should have no trouble accessing those assets.

Final Verdict

Overall, Coinbase is the better choice for most users in the United States. Lower spreads could easily make up for fees on larger trades, and active traders can save even more by switching to Coinbase Pro. However, while Uphold does make it fun to trade between many supported assets, it lags behind the experience you’ll find at Coinbase if you’re located in the U.S.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Uphold and Coinbase?

Uphold and Coinbase are cryptocurrency exchanges that let users can buy, sell, trade, and hold a long list of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and others. At Coinbase, trades are limited to cryptocurrency, while Uphold supports additional assets as well.

How Do Uphold and Coinbase Work?

Both Uphold and Coinbase offer similar features to buy and sell cryptocurrency. To start, you’ll need to create an account and verify your information. Once verified, you can fund an account with U.S. dollars or from any other supported source. Using those funds, you can buy, sell, and trade as allowed by the platform.

Do Uphold and Coinbase Report to the IRS?

Regardless of whether or not your cryptocurrency exchange or provider offers tax forms, you are responsible for tracking, reporting, and paying taxes on cryptocurrency profits.

Coinbase issues forms 1099-MISC to the IRS for eligible customers while Uphold reports earnings to the IRS via form 1099-B. Even if you don’t qualify for reporting, it’s still required by law to report and pay taxes on capital gains. 

Who Should Use Uphold vs. Coinbase?

Most traders in the United States will find the best experience with Coinbase, notably Coinbase Pro for active and expert traders or the standard Coinbase platform for newer traders. Uphold is a good choice for those who want to accept BAT coins from the Brave browser or trade other currencies not supported by Coinbase.


To pick the best platform between Uphold and Coinbase, we focused on pricing, features, supported assets, and general ease of use. While either of these platforms works fine for most users in the U.S., pricing and features at Coinbase make it a stronger option. However, before signing up for any crypto platform, consider the risks and costs involved.

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