First and foremost, Coinbase (also known as Coinbase Consumer) is a cryptocurrency exchange.
In this role, it's a global entity aimed at people investing in cryptocurrencies. You can use your Coinbase account to let the company act as a storage custodian of your digital currency portfolio.
This is not the cryptocurrency wallet service I'm reviewing here.
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I'm looking at Coinbase Wallet, which is a standalone product, a cryptocurrency wallet that anyone can download whether the individual has a Coinbase brokerage account or not.
Overall, I loved Coinbase Wallet (whose software is free).
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I especially loved its security features and ease of use, and gave it an Editors' Choice. While it's certainly not as pretty as our other Editors' Choice winner Exodus, it's still not a challenge to use.
While its lack of support for Bitcoin limits its usage scenarios, this will be cleared up soon.
This makes Coinbase Wallet an excellent solution for beginners who want to explore cryptocurrencies in a safer, more regulated environment. And even without Bitcoin support, Coinbase is a very flexible platform that supports not only digital currencies but also digital tokens, digital collectibles, and the ability to use Coinbase Wallet to access airdrops and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
Price and Versions
Just like most of the other cryptocurrency wallets I reviewed, such as BRD (Learn More at BRD), downloading and using Coinbase Wallet is free.
However, once you purchase or sell your digital currency, things change a bit. Competitors such as BRD and Copay Bitcoin Wallet simply connect you to the Bitcoin network, either directly or through a third party, and then the network charges you whatever transaction fees normally apply to your transaction.
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Coinbase is its own exchange; that's the company's primary business after all. So you're not going to connect directly to the cryptocurrency network for transactions; rather, you're going to connect to the Coinbase exchange, in which Coinbase Wallet has a varied fee structure for different types of transactions.
From that perspective, however, Coinbase Wallet remains highly competitive. It charges an average of 3.75 percent per transaction whereas some competitors charge up to 5 percent or more.
But I'm still not done, as that's only the most likely scenario, not the only one.
What Is a Cryptocurrency Wallet?
Most Coinbase Wallet users have accounts with the Coinbase Consumer exchange. This only makes sense, especially if you're just getting started with digital currencies.
However, Coinbase Wallet is, technically, a standalone entity, so you can use Coinbase Wallet to connect directly to the cryptocurrency network in question. Again, transaction fees will then be assessed by the network; however, using the Coinbase Wallet software will remain free.