In the early days of cryptocurrency, most exchanges were poorly regulated and often quite risky. Coinbase was the first exchange to take compliance seriously and set up shop in the United States.
Brian Armstrong left Airbnb to start Coinbase in 2012. Coinbase quickly received seed money from Y Combinator and began offering Bitcoin for bank transfers. In 2016, Coinbase added Ethereum and has continued to add more cryptocurrencies since then. Today, Coinbase has business in institutional investing, payment services and venture capital.
There are now over 50 cryptocurrencies available to Coinbase customers, and this guide will help you find the best.
Bitcoin vs. Altcoins
Bitcoin (BTC) was the first blockchain-based digital currency in the world. Since 2009, Bitcoin has inspired the creation of hundreds of thousands of additional cryptocurrencies powered by blockchain technology. While most of these altcoins are entirely worthless, there are many that have improved upon the ideas behind Bitcoin and unlocked new use cases of the blockchain.
Best Cryptocurrencies on Coinbase
Blockchain startups across the world are continuously innovating, and choosing to raise money via token sale rather than the red-taped stock offering process.
This list will focus on the most promising blockchain projects that can be invested in via cryptocurrencies offered on Coinbase.
- Ethereum (ETH): The Ethereum blockchain was created in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin. Vitalik saw the potential of blockchain-based decentralized applications, such as Bitcoin, and realized there needed to be a platform on which thousands more applications could be created. Enter the Ethereum blockchain — a general purpose blockchain on which programmable smart contracts could be executed. The Ethereum blockchain quickly became the platform on which the vast majority of new cryptocurrencies and blockchain apps would be developed. Developers choose Ethereum for its turing-completeness and massive decentralized network of miners.
- Uniswap (UNI): Uniswap is a cryptocurrency exchange protocol built on Ethereum. The exchange is entirely decentralized and is currently the most popular app built on Ethereum. Users of Uniswap can tap into liquidity pools to swap between assets for a small fee, paid in the native UNI token. This fee will be given to the liquidity providers as incentive for providing liquidity. As a decentralized protocol, there are no regulations for users to comply with, making it a favorite of the crypto community.
- Chainlink (LINK): Chainlink is in the business of providing real-world data into smart contracts. This will enable smart contracts to provide a wide variety of new services. From fiat exchange rates to automated insurance payouts, Chainlink is primed to change the way the world of money works forever. The Chainlink network is powered by a native token, LINK. As demand for Chainlink services increases, so will demand for LINK.
- Aave (AAVE): Aave is another decentralized application running on Ethereum. Aave offers a platform for users to lend and loan money. Aave’s interest rates are set by the market, and the lender earns nearly the full amount that the borrower pays. Users can lend idle crypto assets and earn up to 17% interest. It’s no surprise that there is currently over $23 billion locked in the protocol. Aave’s native token, AAVE, can be used as a collateral token on the protocol.
- Stellar Lumens (XLM): While the decentralization and security of Ethereum make it ideal for many applications, there are also plenty of use cases where speed is more important. Such is the case with central banks, who stand to benefit greatly from the use of cryptocurrencies like Stellar Lumens. This crypto makes ACH obsolete, with 15 second global money transfers and ridiculously low network fees. Stellar was created by the co-founder of Ripple — which serves a similar purpose, but is under investigation by the SEC — making Stellar the safer bet for now.
- securely through Coinbase's websiteBest For:Coinbase Learn
Sum of median estimated savings and rewards earned, per user in 2021 across multiple Coinbase programs (excluding sweepstakes). This amount includes fee waivers from Coinbase One (excluding the subscription cost), rewards from Coinbase Card, and staking rewards. ³Crypto rewards is an optional Coinbase offer. Upon purchase of USDC, you will be automatically opted in to rewards. If you’d like to opt out or learn more about rewards, you can click here. The rewards rate is subject to change and can vary by region. Customers will be able to see the latest applicable rates directly within their accounts.
Cryptocurrencies You’re Missing Out On
While Coinbase offers a great variety of cryptocurrencies, there are a few notable ones missing. Here are 2 of the best coins that are NOT on Coinbase and where you can get them.
- Binance Coin (BNB): Binance Coin is the native asset of the Binance Smart Chain (BSC). The BSC is a smart contract capable blockchain that cannibalized a large amount of Ethereum’s volume in the 1st half of 2021. While many Ethereum users were priced out as gas fees skyrocketed, they turned to the more-centralized BSC for lower fees and all the newest shitcoins. BNB is the required form of payment for interacting with the Binance Smart Chain, and you can also use it to get 25% off exchange fees on Binance.US, which also happens to be the best place to pick some up.
- Axie Infinity (AXS): The world of blockchain gaming was taken by storm by Axie Infinity in 2021. Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn game similar to Pokemon. Instead of Pokemon, however, this game has “Axies,” which are based on non fungible tokens (NFTs). These NFTs currently have a hot resale market, making it profitable to play the game. All in-game purchases are powered by the AXS token, which saw insane appreciation in 2021. You can purchase AXS on KuCoin today.
Store your Crypto Safely
Long-term cryptocurrency investments should be stored securely in a cryptocurrency wallet that you control. While it may be simple to keep all your coins in your Coinbase Exchange wallet, a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano X will take your security to the next level.
Want to use your crypto on the go? Add a free hot wallet like ZenGo to your collection and use it to store funds meant for spending. Remember, large amounts of money are always best kept in a cold storage hardware wallet.
Cryptocurrency Price Movements
The cryptocurrency market never closes, and price volatility can come out of nowhere. If you want to stay on top of the markets, then a portfolio manager with an alert system like Crypto Pro can be incredibly helpful. Crypto Pro is free to use and can help you keep track of investments across multiple wallets and blockchains.
Other Cryptocurrency Exchanges Available in the US
If Coinbase is the only exchange you use, it’s probably worth creating a few others for access to more coin, features and signup bonuses. The ongoing battle for customers has led to some great sign up bonuses, like $250 from eToro when you invest $5,000 (U.S. accounts only). Here’s a list of all the great exchanges you can use as a U.S. resident.
- securely through eToro's websiteBest For:Demo Accounts
Don’t invest unless you’re prepare to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment and you should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong. Take 2 mins and learn more. Cryptocurrency is offered by eToro USA LLC (“the MSB”) (NMLS: 1769299) and is not FDIC or SIPC insured. Investing involves risk.
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