With the price of Bitcoin reaching record highs in the past months, an increasing number of investors are getting into cryptocurrency. As it is increasingly being adopted as an alternative form of currency and payment for services, it has become attractive for long-term investors.

Cryptocurrency’s relative infancy makes it incredibly volatile, which means investing in it is risky, especially for those who don’t know the basics. Luckily, some of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges cater to beginners. Operating as platforms that facilitate buying, trading and selling numerous cryptocurrencies, these exchanges offer the easiest way to get into crypto.

However, with more and more exchanges popping up, which ones should you use? We go check out the two of the biggest crypto exchanges -- CoinSmart and Coinbase -- to find out which one is best for you.

cardmapr-nl-rDzI7m7sjPE-unsplash With the rise of crypto, more and more investors are turning to crypto exchanges to join the rising trend. Photo: Unsplash (CC0)

Coinbase vs. CoinSmart

Founded in San Francisco in 2012, Coinbase is one of the first fully regulated exchanges that is registered in the country. It has set itself apart as the standard in providing beginners with an on-ramp platform for buying and selling digital assets.

CoinSmart, on the other hand, is still in its infancy, only established in 2018. The trading platform delivers impressive services with advanced technology and features. Known as Canada’s answer to the growing crypto industry, the exchange has become the go-to for many Canadians looking to invest.


While both are trading exchanges that largely cater to beginner traders, Coinbase and CoinSmart approach this in different ways.

Supported in all U.S. states, except Hawaii, Coinbase is known for offering one of the widest selections of tokens among cryptocurrency exchanges. For the experienced trader, this means more flexibility, especially since buying and trading on the platform are as easy as a few clicks.

coinbase1 Coinbase is a U.S.-based trading platform that caters to beginners. Photo: coinbase.com

Coinbase is known for its easy-to-understand interface, which is perfect for beginners. Everything is laid out cleanly and navigation is seamless and smooth. The Coinbase mobile app is also intuitive and functional as the desktop version and is available on both Android and iOS. While Coinbase is catered towards beginners, more experienced and active traders can easily upgrade to Coinbase Pro, which offers a deeper and more technical trading experience.

Coinbase offers the ability to earn free crypto for learning about new digital assets. In addition to this, the platform has an impressive library of educational resources as well as a Coinbase debit card, which can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

As for CoinSmart, it is geared towards Canadian citizens who want a piece of the digital currency pie.

While Coinbase is mainly for beginners, CoinSmart prides itself in serving both entry and pro users. CoinSmart achieves this by providing its users with an intuitive and user-friendly interface that can provide deeper trading insights for experienced traders without making it too complicated for beginners. CoinSmart’s fast verification is also a big plus for those who want to start as soon as possible, while the comprehensive FAQ section ensures there is no confusion.

coinsmart1 CoinSmart is a quickly rising crypto exchange platform geared towards Canadians. Photo: coinsmart.com

For its crypto choices, CoinSmart is more about quality over quantity, as its small but strong selection of coins all found moderate to large success. The only downside is that CoinSmart is only available in Canada at the moment. The app only has iOS support for now while an Android version is coming soon.

This can be a downside, given that Coinbase is available worldwide and supports both Android and iOS. Still, CoinSmart is a strong competitor in its own space and is perfect for Canadians looking to invest in crypto.

Pricing and fees

As for pricing and fees, Coinbase and CoinSmart vary differently.

While signing up and using it is free, Coinbase generally has a confusing fee structure that depends on two factors. Coinbase charges a spread of 0.5% for crypto sales and purchases and second, the platform also charges a fee based on either a flat fee or a variable one depending on the amount that’s purchased.

For the basic service, Coinbase also has a transaction minimum of $2, up to a total of $25,000 per day. Generally, Coinbase fees are a bit steep than its competitors. Nevertheless, Coinbase still provides some of the best prices when it comes to digital assets. 

coinbase2 Trading on Coinbase is straightforward and seamless, thanks to its intuitive interface and wide variety of available altcoins. Photo: coinbase.com

Compared to Coinbase, CoinSmart has more reasonable fees for any transactions made on the platform, as well as a more straightforward pricing model. Canadian dollar withdrawals have a 1% fee with a $15 minimum, while crypto withdrawals have a flat fee based on the asset. Trading fees on CoinSmart are 0.2% when trading between Canadian dollars and a crypto asset, while making a trade that doesn’t involve Bitcoin nets you a 0.4% fee.

Additionally, CoinSmart also offers SmartGuarantee for all its users. Through this, you can either receive fund withdrawals on the same day or immediately get verified. What makes this compelling, however, is that if this guarantee isn’t met, they will refund you the transaction fees.


Coinbase is a fully-registered MSB in the U.S., while CoinSmart has a FINTRAC-issued MSB license. This means that both platforms are completely legal and safe to use. Additionally, CoinSmart is backed by a registered Canadian bank, so its users' funds stay within Canadian regulation.

coinsmart2 CoinSmart is famous for its SmartGuarantee options, as well as its fast and convenient verification system. Photo: coinsmart.com

For additional security, both platforms use two-factor authentication and store more than 90% of their crypto funds in cold storage (offline) to significantly reduce chances of fraud and hacking. Both platforms also run a comprehensive identity verification process. Additionally, Coinbase provides insurance of up to $250,000 per individual by the FDIC in case of a cybersecurity breach or employee theft. Both platforms also offer fantastic customer support, with CoinSmart having an edge thanks to its 24/7 chat availability. 

Both Coinbase and CoinSmart guarantee a safe and insured trading experience for all its users.


Coinbase and CoinSmart offer different experiences and features to their users.

Coinbase is an established platform with millions of users and stands tall among its peers, while CoinSmart is a young but compelling service that has managed to build a good following. Both services make it easier to buy crypto via a few clicks. 

How you choose between these services depends on your preferences and needs. Coinbase is perfect for beginners, while CoinSmart can handle both newbies and pro users living in Canada. CoinSmart has a far more thorough and reasonable fee structure than Coinbase, but the latter’s worldwide availability and integration give it a bigger edge.

Both trading platforms will serve you well in your crypto journey and provides enough features and resources to make sure your experience is smooth.

If you wish to learn more about these platforms, click here for Coinbase and click here for CoinSmart.